I am really tired, and it is super hot in this little internet cafe, and it is about to rain so it is super humid, BUT I AM GOING TO WRITE YOU GUYS A LETTER DANG IT!! GET PUMPED!!! GENERAL CONFERENCE!!! WOOOOOO!!!!!
This week we had the AWESOME opportunity to listen to the living prophets and apostles that guide our church through ongoing revelation! FOR 10 HOURS!!!! Don't worry it wasn't all at once, it was spread out through 2 days and 5 different 2-hour sessions. And it went way too fast. I filled out 13 pages of notes and DIDN'T FALL ASLEEP ONCE DURING IT. And I am so glad too because in every single talk given I learned something that I needed to learn to become a better missionary and a better person.
We worked so hard to get our investigators to understand the awesomeness of having a living prophet with the exact same power and right to receive revelation that Moses and Noah and the ancient prophets had, and we were rewarded by having 11 investigators showing up to the Sunday morning session with us in the stake center. That was such a blessing for my companion and I because we worked our bu... super hard to get people to come and Saturday night we were both pretty despondent, wondering what more we could have done to get people to come. To see the Lord´s hand in these people´s lives the next morning and then to watch conference and hear the inspired words of the men and women I KNOW have been called of God to lead his church made every sweat bead during the week worth it.
One of my favorite talks was by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, the second counselor to the President of the Church, Thomas S. Monson. In his talk he talked about how someone seeing the insane number of things that we Mormons do for our church--going to church for 3 hours every Sunday, reading the scriptures every day, serving 2 year missions in crazy places, fulfilling callings as leaders of the church (yeah we have a lay clergy), cleaning the church, weekly activities, early morning seminary, the list goes on and on--in addition to the commitment we have to keeping commandments that the world has long since abandoned. One would have to wonder, why would anyone want to join your church?! The answer is that this church was restored in our day by Jesus Christ himself. The church doesn't require anything of us, its members, but Christ asks that we give Him everything.
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Too often people think that belief or faith is just that, belief, but
Our belief is NOT passive. Our daily walk with our Savior, Jesus Christ, brings incredible peace and lasting, pure happiness but we need to WALK with him. Sometimes it is downhill, sometimes it is uphill, and sometimes we just want to sit down for a bit, but if we truly are converted and if we truly love the Lord we will keep walking, not to get ripped calves, but to obtain those blessings that the world just cannot give us. That being said, this church honors agency so much that its restoration began with a boy who questioned what he believed, who went looking for answers. Our belief is active in its practice as well as in its birth. We cannot expect to gain a testimony from just sitting down and staring at the Book of Mormon, or saying a mindless prayer, or telling ourselves we will go to church next week. Jesus at the pool of Bethesda asked the afflicted man, "Wilt thou be made whole?" Only we can decide if we want to receive the blessings that this church and this gospel has to offer us. And, yes sometimes it involves stepping off, or falling off, our comfy hammocks and walking to church when it is hot outside, or reading the scriptures even when you are tired. Do you really think Satan is going to make it easy for you to find answers to questions of the soul that will tear you from his grasp?
The message we carry as missionaries is meant to change lives. But we can't change anyone's life for them.
But we can invite, and so invite we shall, using the same words as the Savior in his ministry on earth, even "Come, and see."
And we will continue to invite, for, as the Prophet Joseph Smith has said,
"The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of Gad shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."
I love epic quotes.
I hope we can all try a bit harder to do the things we know are right, and if you don't know what is right,
(drum roll please)