Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Completely Committed

Word on the street is that a tropical depression hit the past two days or so. We wouldn't know, of course, cause we don't have access to the weather, but it was cloudy for literally 2 straight days, which is so out of the norm here. Saw the sun and was like, where has that been the past couple days?? And then wake up to more wet weather. I am loving it! The medicine I am on, as I said, prevents me from going out in the sun. Well there was a service project on Saturday, and because of the cloud cover, I was able to do it! It was a fiasco. We were cutting up an oak tree for a family in the ward. It was organized by one of the deacons, and we were asked to come help. It was a project! The tree was huge, water logged, and very, very heavy. I spent a good amount of my time cutting the wood for firewood. It was a blast! The bishop had to go to the hospital due to a finger injury. That was a scary moment, but he immediately received a blessing, and his finger was alright for the most part. Still broke it and had to get stitches, but did not lose it, thankfully! I also smashed my finger! Boy did it hurt. Still hurts! But I'm fine. It's just purple now. The service project was a blast though. It felt very good to change up things and serve physically for awhile. I have been feeling pretty good for the most part recently. In the past four days or so I have only had a headache about twice. It seems as though the antibiotic is working. I just finished it, so I'm praying that the headaches will cease now. So nothing to worry about in that department!! Our Ward Mission Leader got back from a three week vacation this week. Thank goodness!! We could noticeably feel a difference in the work when he was gone. He is doing a fantastic job. Really giving his calling his all, and is undoubtedly magnifying his calling. It's awesome to be able to work with someone so closely who strives to do what the Lord Himself would do. The LDSSA forms are now officially completed and submitted. We are now waiting on the university to approve the papers and we will be able to proselyte on campus! Elder Dattilo is particularly excited for this prospect. Ever since leaving the 3rd largest city in the world, he has dearly missed contacting people on the streets. Haha! I have personally been working on improving my studies and desires recently. I want to have a stronger desire to follow in Christ's footsteps. I want to study for the people that I am working with. I want to receive revelation on behalf of those I serve, and want to do everything within my realm of authority to help them accept the restored gospel. I have been hitting PMG (Preach My Gospel)very hard. Trying to understand even more fully what exactly God expects of me as a missionary. Trying to increase my knowledge of the doctrines. I have been reading 30 minutes every single day out of the Book of Mormon. I have also been studying every day for 15 minutes out of Preach My Gospel. And it has helped immensely. It is helping me focus upon others more than anything else. I at times feel like I have no idea how to help people come back to church. I feel as though I have no idea how to help people actually get baptized and confirmed. So that is my focus right now. I have become in the past transfer a better person than I have ever been before. The trials that I've passed through since coming to Mobile have really helped me become more Christlike. I spent a transfer really focusing on that. And now I am trying to get myself to be the best missionary I have ever been. Because if I can couple being the most Christlike I can be with my best understanding of how to fulfill my calling to find, teach, and baptize, amazing things are going to happen here. I want each one of you to know that I am completely committed to my calling to preach this gospel. I am here because of Jesus Christ. I believe that He is the Savior of the world, and has forgiven me of all that God has seen amiss within me. And for that reason alone, I am here. When you feel the Holy Ghost tell you that you are a child of God, and have a specific purpose for living here, and that you have been forgiven by the only Being who has authority to forgive sins, in my opinion, that is life changing. It is something that cannot be denied. It should be something that changes us forever. For me, the decision to do missionary work boils down to this: Do I really care about being forgiven of my sins? Do I really appreciate the gift God has given me? Do I really understand the fact that Christ's suffering was specifically for me? Have I really felt His love surround me and comfort me? If I have, then there really is no other choice than to serve God for the rest of my life. There really is no choice between going on a mission and not going on a mission. There is really no reason to skip church, to shrink form my callings, to be unkind to someone. Because if I really truly believe that I have been forgiven, then I had better be willing to share it. To hold the gift of eternal life, forgiveness, peace of mind, and every other fruit of the gospel and not share it would just show God that I actually could care less about the gift He gave me. It would show Him that I don't really cherish the fact that He sent Christ on my behalf. To not share the gospel is basically telling God that you want the blessings but are not willing to put in the effort for them. One of the problems people face that do not have enough money to live is the simple fact that they do not want to work for it. They want to be supported by someone or something else. It's exactly the same for us. We want to be saved, but we don't want to follow every single commandment in order to receive such a blessing. To quote Jeffrey R Holland "Salvation is not cheap." If I expect to be saved in the Kingdom of God, to have all of my sins forgiven me, then I should live worthy of such a blessing. Every fiber of my being should desire salvation for others. I read today in PMG a quote from Joseph Smith: "After all is said and done, the greatest responsibility we have is to preach the gospel." That hits me hard every time I read it. The very man who set up this church again on the earth said that I have no greater responsibility in my life time than to help other people into the gospel. So, to finish off my thoughts, I say all this because this is what I have been feeling. I know I am not committed enough to my calling. I at times don't desire above all else to share the gospel. But I know I need to. I know that God has entrusted me and each of you with a very sacred calling. "For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation." (D&C 82:3) So, if I really feel like God has given me spectacular and marvelous experiences, then He expects me as well to do something about that. And that is what I have set out to do this transfer. I hope all of you will reflect on just exactly what God has given you, and ask yourselves "am I living worthy of such blessings?" I love Jesus Christ. I love His Church. I am so grateful to have the knowledge and light I already have, and am absolutely thrilling in the opportunities to receive more. I love you all so much!

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