Saturday, February 26, 2011

To Know the Mysteries of God........week 93

Good afternoon family,

I don't really know what to say…this week has been a blur. We had transfers this week for the mission so we ran around a lot trying to finish up last minute things. It is always a busy week but it is always rewarding too. I feel like it is always a time of reflection and meditation on the things we have learned in the last change. Now that I am in my last change as financier, my thoughts and desires are shifting towards the field. I am so excited to get back in the game and give it all I have, to leave it all on the court. My desire grows everyday to serve the Lord even if my energy is less and less. I don’t wake up as easily as I did at the beginning of the mission. My shirts are worn and my socks have holes in them too. Most ties have multiple stains and my shoes are almost ready for their third pair of soles. My scriptures are heavily marked with cross references and lessons learned and I have two journals full of experiences to show why. But of all of the noticeable changes that have come over me it is the spirit that I feel daily, the revelation and daily learning that has caused my own person to change. It is that spirit that keeps me going. In my own strength I am weak, but in the Lord´s strength I can do all things. The more I serve the Lord in his kingdom, the more I realize that I have so much more to give and that I will forever be indebted to him. I have pledged my life and heart to the lord and I am willing to do whatever He asks. He will support me along the way.

I am now training like I said. Elder Woods is the new financier. He is great! He is short, blond, and he fits the stereotype financier for our mission. Hopefully, he won’t go bald too like the rest of us ha ha…He is from New Jersey and he is going to do a great job as financier. He has a year and a half in the mission and will be finishing in the office. This week we had success in marrying a few people. No, lawyer responsibilities aren´t a part of the duties of the financial secretary but we are supporting the people we are teaching to be married. It was a nice wedding. I admire the faith of the Nicaraguan people and their simple testimonies of obedience. They are willing to keep the commandments without a moment´s notice. For example, these couples knew that the Lord expected them to get married because they have already started their family. Both have babies on the way and they knew that the Lord required this of them urgently. We arranged the marriage as if it were an every day event. There weren’t a lot of ribbons or bows, invitations or family preparations. It was just a simple ceremony with a nice cake to celebrate. It was great! They understood the reason behind the activity.

Why do we complicate things so much? I think from time to time the members of the church can get so involved in Homemaking night and scout camp outs that they forget about the reason behind everything we do. They forget the reason behind the activity. Surely they are important though. I have never understood this so much as I do now. The Lord wants us to keep our covenants and be obedient and endure to the end and if we do these simple things, then everything else is just a support, an appendage. Why do we do activity days, mutual, church basketball and other programs? The lord teaches that by small and simple things great things are brought to pass and that by simple things he brings about the salvation of many souls. How did seminary activities get some many of my high school friends baptized? I don’t know but in the end it worked. The Lord cares about everyone and tries to embark everyone´s interest with the goal in mind that their activity in other the aspects will enable their continued activity in church.

I am thankful that I grew up in an environment where these programs and activities were a part of my life. I am most grateful that I was taught the importance behind the activities and that my family´s focus was on covenants more than activities. I was impacted by a scripture this week in my personal study.

´´And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.

And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.´´

(Alma 12: 9-10)

We in our lives have the capacity to know the mysteries of God. However, we receive according to the portion which we are prepared for through our diligence and obedience to the Lord. I then asked myself this question:

How many times in my life have I received only the lesser portion of the word?

I would have us ponder upon what we do in our lives. Are we focused on the best things? Are we just busy or are we anxiously engaged in a righteous cause? Everything we do we should do it with the eye single to the glory of God. We should recognize that we are part of a great work and that our diligence will help us know the mysteries of God to a greater extent. As we do so, our callings become joys and blessings to us. The loving nursery leader knows the mysteries of God when she realizes that in her hands she holds the future leaders of the church. The Boy Scout master knows the mysteries of God when he resists to yell at the rambunctious boys late at night because he remembers that these same voices will proclaim the gospel of peace in all nations and tongues. A father and mother know the mysteries of God when they pray with their little child who will have no recollection of the prayer or the night they prayed to together.

These things have made the difference for me. Thank you Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters, scoutmasters and young men's leaders.Thank you for knowing the mysteries of God and being there for me in the times when it seemed it didn’t matter. I now know the mysteries of God a little bit more because of your diligence and faithfulness. My goal is to continue to learn and one day know them in full.

Let us magnify our callings not by making our jobs difficult or complicated but by seeing more clearly that our service has eternal consequences for ourselves and others.

Elder Russell