Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Importance of Family........week 70

The Lord is focused on families. He loves us so much that He has created that organization to help each and every one of us return back into His presence. The problem is that Satan knows all too well what families can achieve and does anything to hinder their progression.

This week I really have been able to realize how important the family is in God’s plan for the eternal destiny for His children. When the family is fortified by the gospel of Jesus Christ, God’s spirit children have all of the opportunities to progress toward their divine potential. When the home teaches family prayer, scripture study, and has regular family home evening the child grow up and walk in His ways.

We have been working with a few families that are beginning to apply these principles in their lives. Francisco and Maritza have had several challenges in their lives and when they tried to get married a few months ago with a pair of other missionaries, they had a bad experience and couldn’t do it. It ended up being difficult for them to forget and they stopped investigating the church. However, Sunday Francisco came to church and he and his wife agreed to be married and baptized. The spirit had previously witnessed to them of the truthfulness of the gospel and now we are just reaping the harvest. It is an amazing feeling to see the repentance process in action. Seeing a couple pray together is so beautiful. People are forgiven and hearts are healed. But it wasn’t an easy day for sure. We had a few challenges finding lawyers and many other things that I won’t bother you with, I will just say that Satan sure put up a fight.

Along with Francisco and Maritza, we are teaching Cristobal. He is the husband of a member and he has come to church a few times now. Our first lesson helped us get to know him a little more and we could see that he had a lot of questions. One of his biggest questions is about his baptism in the Evangelical church. He feels that it was true but he understands the message of the restoration. He just didn’t want to pray because he felt he already knew his baptism was true. Then as we explained the purpose of the Book of Mormon and his search for the answer he began to respond saying that he would need more time to think about the message, etc. He needed to know more. It was in that moment that I bore testimony of the message that we were sharing. It wasn’t so important to know everything. He just needed to ask Heavenly Father about the message.

It was in that moment that I realized that my progression in God’s plan for me was completely made possible through my family. I told him a night so long ago when I was about 8 years old. Quite possibly mom and dad won’t remember the night or the significance it has had on my life but at the early age of eight I knelt down and asked God if the Book of Mormon was true. It was one night before doing a quick family scripture study. They had asked me to go and get my own pair of scriptures. The prayer was only about 10 seconds long if I remember. I felt good. I felt a reassurance. I got my answer. I related the experience to them quickly upon sitting at the table and we proceeded to read scriptures. This night was the first of many such experiences that have accumulated over time. I know that the book of Mormon is true and that it testifies of the restoration. God works through spiritual manifestations because they transcend time unlike any other memory. All these things are fostered and nurtured in a gospel home.

I am eternally grateful for the family that God has given me. The principles that were taught in my home are true. It was the teaching of such gospel principles with love that allowed each and every one of us kids to gain our own personal testimonies through acting upon their doctrines with faith. It was upon experiencing the promised blessings that we could firmly say that something was true. I feel like in our home we experienced a great peace and love, even that which is described in 4 Nephi 1:11-13

“11 And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them…[and] they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord. And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people, in all the land.”

If we had a society based upon the family and strengthening her we would have peace on Earth. But even if the world doesn’t change the family is always a refuge completely independent. We can have happiness in our families now.

Families can be together forever. What a wonderful message! In a world where we are bombarded with the “newest and greatest” advertisements, there is a constant priority. Whatever new trend or option the family is always first. Paul said that his greatest joy was to know that his children walked in the ways of the lord. May we do so…that is why we have families in the first place.

I love you so much. Thanks for everything.

Elder Grant Russell