"El Evangelio de Jesucristo es Bonita" -The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Beautiful Hola Familia! Como Esta?
This week has been such a great week! I have learned so much about myself and this amazing gospel. On Sunday, our Branch President came in and called for a zone prayer before church. Before the prayer he told us how his second counselor, Brother Jeffs, wasn't going to be at church today because his three year old granddaughter drowned at Lake Tahoe Saturday afternoon. She was life flighted and was currently in the ICU, luckily breathing on her own. We decided to say a zone prayer on her behalf and it was the most beautiful prayer I have ever been a part of. The power when you get a group of missionaries together is undeniable. I literally felt as though angels were round about me, surrounding me, because of the faith from all the missionaries. His grand daughter was released from the ICU later that afternoon and is showing no after effects. Miracle.
So this next experience is a little embarrassing on my part, but I'm so excited with what I have learned:
On Tuesday, the Elders went to choir practice so it was just the Hermanas and the teachers. Hermana Smith and I got to have a one on one discussion with Hermano Chambers. He wanted us to practice giving the first lesson as simply as we could in 5 minutes. As we started, we began with how God loves us and sent his Son, Jesucristo to atone for our sins. Hermano Chambers then asked, " Why did God have to die?"
We continued to teach and explain to him about the Atonement the best we could and then out time was up. I was so frustrated at our teacher because he kept asking question after question and we could not answer it the way he wanted.
Hermano Chambers then went on to tell us how we just kept getting way to deep and couldn't explain his original question. "Why did Christ die?" I thought I knew, but when I was asked to explain...the answer "because God loves us" wasn't a good enough answer. I felt so embarrassed. How could I not explain the Atonement!? Hermana Smith and I left that clase feeling very humbled and also very frustrated. We asked him for some scripture references so that we could study the Atonement later that day. Hermano Chambers wanted us to focus on
1. Why he died
2. To whom did he pay
3. How and why it leads us to Baptism.
The next day, Hermana Smith and I were determined to be able to explain the principle of the Atonement. Personal Revelation is true. This is what I learned:
God is a just God and has laws. With laws come consequences. If there were no consequences there would be no enticement to do well. When Adam and Eve came to the earth, God gave them a law to not partake of the Forbidden fruit. Adam partook and as a consequence, we are cast out of God's presence. This was part of God's plan because now we have TIME to repent and "prepare to meet God".
Okay. Christ had to come to earth because we need to be saved by mercy. God is a just God so he could not have performed the Atonement because he can not be just and merciful at the same time. So Christ had to come because he and God are ONE in purpose. No one else could do it. Because Christ suffered the Atonement we are all subject to him and he now can requires things for us to do in order to return to God's presence (faith, repentance, baptism, endure to the end).
The biggest thing I learned is that repentance is a GIFT. Christ has already payed the price of our consequences. He has taken them all away so that we can live with God. God wants us to get back to his presence. We ALL CAN GET THERE. The problem is that we might not want to. If we don't use this time, this consequence of time, to practice, to prepare and to CHANGE through the Atonement, we will not be ready to live with God and will choose not to. Repentance and Baptism is how we use the Atonement in our lives in order to prepare ourselves to be back in God's presence. ITS SO BEAUTIFUL.
Okay sorry for my rant. I just llove the gospel. Please feel free to tell me your opinion. It's so sad it took me 19 years for this to truly hit me. Man.
We got to skype someone from Argentina! Her name was Yanilla and she was 15 and so adorable! The connection was SO BAD and there was someone in the background taking on the phone so it was really hard to hear and give a good lesson, but I already love the Argentine people. She definitely laughed at me A LOT, but I loved it. I love moments that make being a missionary THE BEST EVER.
Lastly, my Ode to Marco:
Yesterday was our last lesson :( It was such a beautiful lesson. The spirit was so strong and I could feel the spirit teaching. He bore his testimony on his conversion and started crying which made me start to cry. He is so so sweet . He asked Hermana Smith and I for our emails and said he writes all the missionaries every Monday. THE SWEETEST MAN. He even wanted picture with us. He is attending UVU this fall, which makes me happy. He is retired and just has such a happy heart. He even complimented our Spanish...which at first I thought he was just being really nice, but then he got all serious and said. "No Honestly. I'm completely serious." (In English) hahah I didn't like it when he spoke English...it felt off. haha
So today I'm supposed to be getting MY TRAVEL PLANS! QUE EN EL MUNDO!? So i still don't know any Spanish and apparently I hear its a 30 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires to Salta so start praying.
I love you family. I miss you all so much. Keep the letters coming.
Thank you Thank you. I love hearing from you all!
Hope all is going well at home. If I didn't write you today I will try and write you a hand written letter. Know that I LOVE EVERYONE. Missionary life is LA VIDA.
I still don't know spanish and I'm a tad freaked out to leave and speak, but God knows spanish and so I can do it.