Monday, November 21, 2016

Week #71--November 21, 2016

Okay! Hold up. Life is so good. Barstow is the best
Also, fun fact. I bought some shoes here this week. 
So I guess you could say
I got my kicks
on route 66

Nah, but for reals this week has been one of the best. Ever. 

I'll just start with the coolest story. So Paul? (For those of you who have been following, he's the Super cool Samoan investigator that got on date.) We had a lesson with him on Friday. To kind of give some background to the story, he set the date mid January but we were all skeptical as to wether or not he'd be able to make it. He kept refusing to pray and come to church, so there was this un-seeable wall that was preventing him from progressing any further. 

So for the lesson we just dropped the question. "What is keeping you from coming to church?"
He skirted around the actual concern for a little bit, but after some discussion he came out with the actual concern, which was that he didn't want to fail. He didn't want to fall short of what was expected and break these commandments and when he went to church he wanted it to be the first day of the rest of his life.  He didn't want to come short. 

We've tried addressing this concern before, and have talked about how Church is a hospital for those who are struggling, not a museum for people to show off their good works before men. We've talked about how we go into the waters of baptism dirty, and come out clean, we don't go in clean. We've tried talking about all of that before, but it's never hit home. But this time, we sat in silence for a while, and then the spirit kicked in on overdrive. I can honestly say it was one the most spiritual moments on the mission. I think in part because both Elder Prestwich and I needed to hear it just as much as Paul did. 

We explained how, when it comes down to it, there's three reasons we make mistakes. Ignorance, Rebellion and Weakness. Obviously, for those who know of the gospel and the commandments, ignorance falls by the way side and becomes irrelevant. So that leaves rebellion and weakness. When God speaks of unrepented rebellion, it is not good. It just flat out is not good. But when he speaks of Mercy, it is always with mercy, and love and compassion. We shared the well known Ether 12:27 'And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.' and explained that while there are multiple differences between rebellion and weakness, one of the most important is our humility. If we are trapped by 'the sin which doth so easily beset us' and feel overwhelmed by the multiple mistakes we make, we must remember not to confuse our rebellion with weakness. If we remain humble and teachable then God not only CAN work with us, but God WILL work with us. 

Now President Uchtdorf reminds us that "Some suppose that humility is about beating ourselves up. Humility does not mean convincing ourselves that we are worthless, meaningless, or of little value. Nor does it mean denying or withholding the talents God has given us. We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman."

So, if you feel like Paul, that you will never live up to the standards the church has set, that is okay. To rebel is of the devil, but remember that weakness is of God. As Neal A. Maxwell put it: "Now may I speak . . . to those buffeted by false insecurity, who, though laboring devotedly in the Kingdom, have recurring feelings of falling forever short. . . .

. . . This feeling of inadequacy is . . . normal. There is no way the Church can honestly describe where we must yet go and what we must yet do without creating a sense of immense distance. . . .

. . . This is a gospel of grand expectations, but God’s grace is sufficient for each of us. "

The love and Grace of God is sufficient for you. Don't ever forget that you are enough! I don't mean that you WILL be enough when you grow up a bit more. I don't mean you COULD be enough if you were more obedient. I mean you ARE enough. You're exactly what God needs right now. Keep improving and working to become, but find encouragement in the knowledge that you're doing well.
Well, sorry this was so long. But I love you all!
Church is true!

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