Monday, March 17, 2014

Week of Many Miracles

Bom dia.
My heart is full of so much gratitude for the miracles I have seen and heard of this week. The first and greatest of all, being the most amazing story I ever heard from Conner. That is one I will keep tucked away in my journal forever. Conner, I hope you know that I could NOT IN ANY WAY OR EVER be more proud of you. Who you are, are becoming, and who you have always been. You are a rockstar- and I have learned a lot from you. Keep it up, kid, and the Lord will bless you forever.
This week Joseane was baptized (the sister of the man that was baptized 2 weeks ago). It was really sweet. All week we have been studying and praying for ``desire``.  Joseane wouldn't stop hugging us, and with tears in her eyes, she said several times, ``I feel free.`` That moment changed me- and little by little I am seeing just how much the world NEEDS this. They don’t even know what they are missing…but once we show them- their lives fill with the sweetest joy, and in turn, our lives too.
Tuesday my district leader asked Sister Augusta and I to give the training/lesson. He asked that we teach the Plan of Salvation. It was incredible- and only one or two stubborn elders with dry eyes in the room. The Plan of Salvation encompasses the fulness of the gospel-it’s what we have and what we know that the world has lost, ``because they know not where to find it`` as the scripture says. Please don’t take the knowledge you have for granted. I am really grateful for the opportunity I had to learn more about God´s plan for us- and our role here on earth in the execution of that plan. We have a lot to do-so lets get to work.
Friday we had another training-the assistants. They talked about desire (YES!) and it was really cool! They way we become more motivated is through obedience, prayer, fasting, and diligence. These 4 things are KEY.
Well, we starting tracting this week-first time in my mission since Oregon.. Let me tell you, I didn't miss it. It is a request directly from President Nogueira-to tract out the areas closest to the chapel to do a “clean sweep”, if you will, of our area and make sure everyone is hearing our message. We have found a few really great investigators already, and as this is a question of obedience and diligence, we know many blessings will be granted.
My message today comes from Sister Linda Reeves, “Claim the Blessings of Your Covenants”. She used a really profound analogy similar to the idea of clay in the hands of the potter. She said, “Almost 3 years ago a devastating fire gutted the interior of the beloved, historic tabernacle in Provo, Utah. Its loss was deemed a great tragedy by both the community and Church members. Many wondered, “Why did the Lord let this happen? Surely He could have prevented or stopped its destruction.”
Ten months later, during the Oct 2011 general conference, there was an audible gasp when Pres. Monson announced that the nearly destroyed tabernacle was to become a holy temple- a house of the Lord! Suddenly we could see what the Lord had always known! He didn't cause the fire, but He allowed to fire to strip away the interior. He saw the tabernacle as a magnificent temple- a permanent home for making sacred, eternal  covenants.
My dear brothers and sisters, the Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our maximum capacity. We have seen the lives of loved ones- and maybe our own-figuratively burned to the ground and have wondered why a loving and caring Heavenly Father would allow such things to happen. But He does not leave us in the ashes, He stands with open arms, eagerly inviting us to come to Him. He is building our lives into magnificent temples where His spirit can dwell eternally.
In Doctrine and Covenants 58:3-4, the Lord tells us: `Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come here after, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Where fore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory.´
I testify that the Lord has a plan for each of our lives. Nothing that happens is a shock or a surprise to Him. He is all-knowing and all-loving. He is eager to help us, to comfort us, and to ease our pain as we rely on the power of the Atonement and honor our covenants. The trials and tribulation that we experience may be the very things that guide us to come unto Him and cling to our covenants so that we might return to His presence and receive all that the Father hath.``
I testify to all that she said, recognizing that it can be easier ``said than done``.  That is where prayer, patience, and faith come in. I really don’t believe God changes our circumstances-Ive said that before.  But, I know that prayer is enabling. The atonement is enabling. When we pray for strength to change our own circumstances, that is when we find power. That is when we find strength. Instead of asking God to fix things for us, lets pray to Him, asking humbly that we might find the strength through the grace of His son to LEARN to fix things with His hand and help.

I love you all and pray for you daily. I pray for your health. For your safety and for your success. Above all, I pray for your happiness-but happiness only comes through living the gospel the way it is meant to be lived. Your life is as simply as you make it- nothing is out of God´s control. This week, my challenge for each of us is to take a step back and look at things with a new perspective. Let’s try to simplify the challenges and circumstances in our lives-bit by bit and day by day and I promise you things will become easier-your burdens will be lifted. Eternal perspective is key. Aside from the building of God´s kingdom, NOTHING is THAT important. And God cares MOST for the things which pertain to His kingdom, He is always in control, so even in that aspect-we should not feel overwhelmed. By living simple lives, people will be drawn to our examples, and we can then help others to live their lives in a way that is a little more simple, too.

I hope you have a wonderful week. I love you all. Please be safe and take care of one another.

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