Saturday, January 29, 2011

God Prepares the way........week 89

The mission is amazing. Missionary work gives me hope. I am filled with the love of God and I know that people can change their lives. It is kind of funny though how this hope makes us fearless…let me explain.

A few weeks ago we contacted a man in the street and he spoke to us in English. I guess I get used to that in the office because it is pretty common…but not in Nicaraguan cobblestone roads. We went over to talk to him. We had a good talk with him but because of the holidays we could never find him when we went back. Last night we went again and we met his wife and cute little daughter. She said that he would be there tonight so we went by the house.

So we were able to talk to him tonight. It turns out that he used to live in the states but had some problems there. He has a long list of sins we could say. Most likely he has (or has had) problems with most of the Baptismal Interview problems. He is tattooed. He has a colorful language. He has lived through gang violence, jail time, probation, drug abuse, street racing accidents, and the list goes on. But you know what the funny thing is…we feel a special spirit with him. I could have never imagined myself with such a man before the mission. Those types of people scared me to tell you the truth. But the spirit made everything comfortable. He is really a special son of our Heavenly Father and we feel like he is going to change for good. We shared a verse in Ether with him, “Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.” Ether 12:9

It is amazing to know that God forgives us. He doesn’t see us for who we were. He is only worried about where we are headed because He knows who we can become. I believe that God prepares us, each one of us, for changes in our lives. Maybe he gives us a few experiences that can be recalled later on. This man had a life threatening experience that changed his perspective the very same week that we passed by his house. He was being prepared. He had even prayed asking God to have wisdom and the ability to change his life for his family. Then we passed by. He remembered what he had prayed for so he was ready.

In fact, the mind is an amazing thing. One of its greatest capacities is to recall information from even years before. This ability is put into full effect both by our Heavenly Father and by Satan. When people want to change, Satan tricks them into thinking that their past sins are too big, too unforgivable for complete peace. He flashes over the mind’s eye a vivid image of what sin was committed and the sinner believes forgiveness is impossible because the sin is so memorable. But the Lord many times will help us in our times of need reminding of us past scriptures, lessons, experiences so we can have more strength. Taking the example a little further, the Lord teaches us the true way that revelation comes in Doctrine and Covenants 8. It talks of how Revelation is both a mind and spirit confirmation that something is right. It is more than just a remembering…

Take Alma for example. He was tormented by his sins for days after the angel called him to repentance. But when he remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ” he had a confirmation of his repentance both in his mind and in his heart.

And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my apains bno more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what ajoy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!”

How interesting it is that that Satan uses the same tool to remind us of our sins that God does to remind us that Christ can take away our sins. Satan puts the sins in our minds and we feel sorrow. Heavenly Father leaves us with only a dim residue of a past transgression. It is enough to help us remember we have done wrong but we aren’t harrowed up by the memory of it. He instead reminds us that Christ has taken upon himself that transgression and that we can move on in our life. I know that this is really a true principle. I believe in repentance.

Today I saw a few convert families from La Borgona that we baptized over a year ago. They were in the church building to witness another brother and sister in law be baptized. It was amazing. The family participated in the baptism. I can just see the hand of the Lord in all things. He sees families stretched out into the eternities. He sees how one family can bring another and then another into the true gospel. That is why he insisted that we keep teaching that family. We had already stopped teaching them thinking that they wouldn’t progress. He sent many people our way that made us change our mind. We also felt moved upon by the spirit to go teach them again. And now I see why. He always knows why.

Elder Russell