Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Will of the Father

Dear Family,

I hope you feel of my love and prayers and know that I feel of yours. This is the best experience that could ever be given to a young man. Each day is the best day even when some of them are days that, as Elder Golden would say, "are good for the soul". I love my mission. I love this Gospel and I know that it is true. The Spirit continues to confirm to me each day that Christ lives and that He guides this church. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. What a marvelous blessing that is to know!

Yesterday a member was out with us and he kept on asking if we had another appointment for him to go to. We said we had our dinner appointment and he said he wanted to come. We were teaching an active member and so we shared the first vision and then talked with them about the blessings of the Restoration. We had each of them think about what blessings they have received because Joseph saw God. We then invited them to, every time they recognize one of those blessings, share with someone else the source of such blessings. It seems to me like it would be a very effective activity because you would be showing your gratitude to God through your actions and it would allow you to be a missionary too, which is just about the best thing that could happen to anyone.

The Padillas did not get baptized despite being so prepared. They still want to be baptized and they know that this church is true, they just want to feel more ready and know more. They came to watch the Christmas devotional last night with us at the Vega's home though and felt the Spirit really strongly. We are going to go teach them about covenants tonight with Hermano Perez so please pray that they understand and that the Spirit teaches them what they need to know.

The experience with the Padillas was really hard on me since it is very similar to what happened to Johnny a few months ago when he was completely ready to go, passed his interview, and then wasn't allowed to get baptized by his parents. As I reflected on these experiences and talked with Elder Johnson, I learned a little bit about the will of the Father. In my studies earlier this week I came across a really powerful thought that I remember dad teaching in one of his talks from his "You Can Quote Me on That" book. In Matthew 27:50 it says, "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost."

The JST changes this to say, "a loud voice, saying, Father, it is finished, thy will is done,yielded up the ghost."

So the very last words that the Savior uttered in mortality were, "Thy will is done". Not only did He spend His whole mortal existence doing the will of the Father, but we learn in Moses 4:2 that His whole desire even in the preexistence was to do the will of the Father:

Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.

And so it is. The Savior's first words we have recorded in scripture are, "Father, thy will be done" and from His last mortal breath we hear the triumphant victory, "Father...thy will is done". This thought really helped me to understand the depth of Abinadi's words in Mosiah 15 when he said,

 7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.

Even the Savior of the world had to submit. He had to forsake and abandon all that He desired in order to do the will of the Father. So we too have to submit, forsake and abandon. I have been trying to do that this week. It is not a fun process but it brings true joy and blessings. We have had to accept that the Lord has a plan that is often times different than our own but that His is always better.

I know that the Savior fulfilled the will of Father in all things. I am so grateful for that. I too want to fulfill the will of the Father and will strive and sacrifice for the rest of my life to do so, so that one day I too can say, along with my Savior, "I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning" (3 Nephi 11:11).

What a wonderful cause to be engaged in. Doing the will of the Father is the only thing that brings lasting joy and happiness because it involves helping Him to save His children. I felt of that joy as I sat with la familia Martinez in sacrament meeting on Sunday. They used to be extremely active (she has been a RS, Primary, and YW President and he has been an EQ, YM President and a stake missionary) but chose to be offended and haven't stepped foot in a church building for 20 years. We taught them about the Sacrament last Tuesday and it was wonderful. The lesson went really well and the Spirit was strong but they still wouldn't commit to come until at the very end we read two verses with them. As we studied for them and role played during the morning, these two verses just connected in a way they never have before. 

3 Nephi 18:10 (referring to the Sacrament)
 10 And when the disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you.

Moroni 8:25
 25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;

As we read those two verses with them, the Spirit taught them what they needed to do. They then understood that it wasn't just about going or not going to church because of the people there but rather we have to go in order to receive a remission of our sins. We had already discussed with them they were sinners and after reading the second verse they looked at us and asked what time church started. They were there 30 minutes early after pulling a prank on us. We called just to make sure they were still good to go and they told us that they had decided to stay at home because it was cold and there was a good show on TV. We were so sad and called them back to say we were coming over to bring them jackets. They then told us that they were already sitting int he chapel waiting for us. I nearly cried. I went and sat with them on the back row (as agreed) and just loved it. Even though they didn't partake of the Sacrament, my experience sitting there remembering the sacrifice of my Savior was a sacred one and one to be remembered.

Also, in Mission Leadership Council on Thursday, President told the group that each of us had someone in our list of former investigators that would get baptized this year. We have spent a lot of time contacting formers and on Saturday night had a great success! We talked to one man that we were teaching six months ago and set a return appointment and then he referred us to his neighbor. They were a referral from our former bishop but had never let us in to teach them. This time we knocked on the door and Rene Ortega answered and let us in! I have knocked on that door dozens of times and they would always say no. It was a miracle! We had a really powerful lesson and they all came to church on Sunday. They too were 30 minutes early. It was funny because for 30 minutes before Sacrament Meeting, it was these two families that haven't been to church in years and our companionship just hanging out in the chapel. In Priesthood, Rene stood up to introduce himself and he said he was baptized in the church 30 years ago but stopped going because he felt bad going without his wife but now that she had come with him he was going to be there every week! We were shocked because we were convinced that he wasn't a member. His two granddaughters that came live with him came too and they loved it. They both told us that Young Women's was their favorite and asked if they would be allowed to come back the next week. The mom, who used to open the door, point at the Virgin Mary on the door and say, "I'm Catholic", said she loved Relief Society and that she wanted to come back every week! It was a miracle! We have tried so hard to teach that family without success. But since President Ashton holds keys and we were acting according to the revelation he received through those keys, the Lord opened the way for us to have success. I love this Gospel!

It is all true. I love you all and am glad to hear you are doing well. Sorry to hear about Maddy.


Elder Case

No comments:

Post a Comment