Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"My Son": A Christmas Message

Dear Family and Friends,

17 months in the mission now. Time sure flies. I haven't been very good with sending emails lately so I would like to repent and send a good spiritual missionary email to you all.
A quick spiritual experience (entry from my missionary diary):
"Yesterday, I was sick with a fever and sick to the stomach, but we went to work anyways, because there is no time to be sick in the mission.  :) I felt pretty bad and, walking away from an okay lesson, it was raining and cold and grey and I was sick--and the thought came to my mind, "Oh God, where art thou?" 

It wasn't so much that I was sooo miserable as to think that God had abandoned me but the Spirit brought the thought and scripture to my mind. I remembered Section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants when the prophet Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail (how ironic the name, Liberty Jail) and fervently prayed with those very words. 

I remembered the divine response, "My son, peace be unto thy soul." And there, cold and wet in Honduras, that scripture hit me with an intensity and profundity that beforehand I never realized. The words "my son" ran through my head over and over. My son. My son. MY son. My SON. Walking a bit behind me companion, I repeated those two words over and over, thinking and feeling the spirit super strongly. What sermon more powerful! I imagined God standing as an all-powerful witness to the persecutions heaped on His chosen prophet and servant by wicked, apostate men. I imagined him withholding his mighty hand and weeping along with Joseph. And I imagined the tenderness with which he spoke those two words to the soul itself. My son. Earthly parents fail, disappear, pass away, but even when a mother forgets her child the Lord will not.
In 1 Nefi 21:14-16 we read:
14 But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not. 15 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the 
son  of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.
 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

In answer to Joeseph's distraught prayer, the first truth that our Heavenly Father reminded him to comfort him is that he was HIS son.

Joseph--and I--belong to God, no one else.

What is more, put the emphasis on SON. My SON. What relationship more powerful than that, between Father and son. It is unlike any other. It is bold and valient and manly (huh!) but beneath it all there is a tenderness so deep. What self worth, what confidence comes from a divine assurance that you are His SON. Think the antithesis of the Darth Vader "I am your father" moment. Here God's gentle reminder that He is the Father and Joseph and I are the sons is so poignant. I dont know how to describe it really but the spirit opened my heart and mind to understand at a deeper level. And the more I thought about it the more I understood and felt that same love that the lonely prophet felt in that cold jail.

Feeling warm and grateful, and with damp eyes, I walked and walked, and when we arrived at our next appointment I shared how I was feeling and my testimony of a loving heavenly father and wept really hard. It was a super powerful moment and one of the few sustaining moments that help a missionary get through all of the constant challenges and sustain the spirit through the next months of spiritual combat with the darkness of sin and apostasy. So grateful for the answers to the soul's unsaid prayers.

Passed Thanksgiving without me even really realizing that it was Thanksgiving. We worked until 8:45 pm and then ran home and I had some left over mashed potatoes and stuffing seasoning packets from my birthday package (haha) along with some new mashed potatoes packages that had just arrived from you Mom in my christmas package (don't worry I didn't open all of them I just knew that some of them were mashed potates from the feel of them and opened them to take advangtage of them for Thanksgiving!) and cooked them super fast in the house of a super member here in Tocoa (that helps in the missionary work a ton) since we don't even have a stove in our apartment. Cooked it, stuffed in down our throats, and then ran back to the house to be home on time and got back to our apartment 1 minute before the curfew time.

Driving home, that member said, " Look at that moon, Elder Moffitt. Your family in Arizona is watching that very some moon right now."  Awwwwww, it was pretty sweet. No, I didn't cry.

Also, yesterday we had a service Christmas activity with the Zone and with a group of really poor kids from here in Tocoa. We were originally planning to do it with orphans but the director of the orphanage in the states didn't give us permission to do it, so we went to the poorest part of Tocoa where families live in houses of cardboard and aluminum and wood and organized an activity with them. We worked really hard to plan it and thanks to miracle after miracle everything happened well.

About an hour before the activity started, the bus we had gotten to take the kids to the church building was nowhere to be found. Dark clouds loomed and then covered the sky in minutes and started to rain hard. There was no way that the kids were going to walk the 30 minutes to the church in that weather, nor that we could bring them in the back of the one truck low on gas that we had. I knelt, desperate, to pray and ask for a miracle so that the activity would pass, which we had planned so diligently and spent so much time and effort and money to bring to pass. And a few minutes later, Wilmer, the best member in Honduras, called and said he had found another bus that was in route to go with us to bring the kids. It was a miracle.

With played outside games with them, we played Christmas trivia with them and decorated christmas cookies and taught them the christmas story and then watched the 5 minute version of the christmas movie, "Joy to the World" made by the church, and then made our own video acting out the nativity scene with the missionaries and the children. It was super fun and was full of cookies and candy and dinner and dessert and pinatas and everything. I never had a birthday party or christmas party as intense as what these kids enjoyed (haha) but we really felt the sincere joy of these children that are so poor that one of the little girls asked if she could save a bag of water we gave her to drink to bring it home with her, probably because they have no clean water to drink at her home.



So many more miracles have passed and I know that one day I will have time to tell them all. But know that God is a God of miracles and hears and answers prayers.

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Moffitt

No comments:

Post a Comment