Saturday, January 22, 2011

Visit from an Apostle........week 88

It has been quite a week to tell you all the truth. I shook an Apostle’s hand this week. Yes, I met in person Elder Christofferson and it has been one of my life’s dreams to be able to listen to and meet an Apostle like I did. It was amazing. He brought with him a special spirit. I guess it has something to do with the special calling he has as a special witness of Jesus Christ.

It was a little nerve racking at first because I helped out on the piano both with the normal hymns and a special musical number. It turned out really well at the end. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been given in the mission to share my spiritual gifts with others. Accompanying Elder Christofferson was his wife, a Seventy and his wife and an Area Seventy. It was a spiritual feast. He spent an hour answering questions and if you can believe it, we only asked four questions as a group for the whole time period. He had such thoughtful and deep responses to every question that we used up all of the time.

One Elder asked how we could as missionaries become closer to our Heavenly Father and not feel alone in the difficulties. It was a question that hit me strong seeing as I have felt the same desire many times in my mission. I think back on the difficult areas and companions and I find that it was a trial. It was difficult. Elder Christofferson responded after a few seconds. “The Savior felt the same way many times in His life…It isn’t wrong to feel that way. We just have to push forward.’’ Unlike the totally humbling and solitary experiences of Jesus Christ, our difficulties need not be suffered alone. There is always help on the way he explained.

When he began talking about the ministry of Jesus Christ I began to think about how it would have been to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in that time. How would it have been to walk the stormy sea or hear his voice among the troubled streets? How would it have been like to see him perform miracles and or feel the marks in his hands when he was resurrected? Then the spirit told me a divine truth. I have had these experiences. I have been walking as a disciple of Jesus Christ now for some time. I have seen miracles and felt his presence. He has shown me his hands in all things. I have felt his love in people’s eyes and met people in the streets that needed to hear his words. I have walked among the storms of worldly sin and I have heard his come from both others and my own mouth at many times.

Elder Christofferson talked about this. He said that we as missionaries are literally the Lord’s representatives with his authority and seal. He said that we don’t profane his name rather that we promise blessings with all of his power and backing. He just counseled us to do so with much care. I feel so thankful to bear His name. I love being a representative of Jesus Christ to promise the salvation to all those who believe on his name and are obedient unto the end. We are members of His true church here on the earth. I know that he directs this church through his prophets.

In one part of the meeting an Elder asked what we should do to be “special witnesses” of Jesus Christ. Then he explained that the knowledge that we have is more sure when it comes through the spirit than by any other means. He said, “Being in front of the Savior himself and seeing him and touching him and hearing the voice of him that saved us all wouldn’t be as powerful of a witness as that which the holy spirit gives to our spirit. It is more profound and deep than any other witness that God can give.” He encouraged us to fortify our testimonies by diligence and obedience and staying in places where the spirit can be.

I can say that I have received that witness in my life. I know that Christ is my Savior and the Savior of all mankind. I know that he is mighty to save. He is all powerful and his atonement reaches all. If we reach toward him, his grace is sufficient. I love the promise that He will forgive us and not remember more what we have done if we truly repent and forsake. God saves us after all we can do. Let’s do the work which he asks of us.

Elder Grant Russell