Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Refiner's Fire

Dear Family, I love you and am grateful for your prayers. They are answered. Last Monday we talked with Giselle's daughter about Madison (Giselle's granddaughter) getting baptized. She said that she wanted to wait at least a month so that Madison could prove that she would be faithful to the covenant that she will be making. With that news, Giselle decided she wasn't waiting any longer so we made the arrangements and she was baptized on Saturday night. She has some back problems and can't bend her knees very well so we were going to do the baptism in a chair. I baptized her and it was one of the most interesting and touching experiences of my life. The chair didn't work at all so we pulled it out for attempt #2. We then tried to have her stand and just go forwards in stead of backwards and that didn't work either. After that she looked at me and said, "Elder just push me down! Dios me va a ayudar." It was amazing to see how full of faith she was and how badly she wanted to make a covenant with the Lord and be clean. For the third and final attempt, I said the prayer, she grabbed my hand and then I put my hand on her shoulder and pushed straight down. She went all the way under and I went under up to my neck. I don't understand how it worked without her getting hurt but it did and during the closing song she just sobbed as she was overcome with the Spirit. As a side note, I think I finally learned why Alma immersed himself in the water as he baptized Helam in Mosiah 18: 14 And after Alma had said these words, both Alma and Helam were aburied in the water; and they arose and came forth out of the water rejoicing, being filled with the Spirit. I decided that Helam just had back problems and that the Waters of Mormon were not very deep. Also, after the baptism we found out that the font didn't drain. I have some funny pictures in the font with a plunger. I will send them next week. Sunday Giselle was confirmed and it was wonderful. She is so happy and wants more than anything for her family to join the church and receive of the same joy that has entered into her life. Right before the baptism she mentioned that Saturday morning she had gotten mad at her grandson Lance and wasn't sure if she was worthy to get baptized. We talked about the baptismal interview and that she had had an authorized representative of Jesus Christ say she was worthy and that Satan just wanted her to feel that she was not. That experience along with many others this week, my studies, and hearing about the Robertsons and Aunt Janet have made me reflect on why we have trials. This morning I was studying in 2 Nephi 3:1 which reads: 1 And now I speak unto you, Joseph, my alast-born. Thou wast born in the wilderness of mine afflictions; yea, in the days of my greatest sorrow did thy mother bear thee. I thought about Lehi. He says that his days in the wilderness were the days of his greatest sorrow. That surprised me considering the fact that back in Jerusalem his people had tried to kill him, he had left his home, wealth, family and friends, and had assuredly passed through many other difficult trials. Yet the years in the wilderness were the most sorrowful. I realized that this was the case because he was about to receive his promised land and thus had to pass through the "trial of [his] faith" (Ether 12:6). I imagine that as he wandered through the "wilderness of [his] afflictions" for those many years, the only thought that kept him going was his "hope for a better world" (Ether 12:4). In 1 Nephi 20:10 we read: 10 For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of aaffliction. And so it is. We pass through hardships, trials, and afflictions so that we can be not only called but also chosen of the Lord. I testify of a Heavenly Father that loves us. Elder Scott said, "Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love." (October 1995 "Trust in the Lord") In that same talk he also said, "Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12)". What a wonderful knowledge that is! Trials are evidence that the Lord trusts us. I know that Jesus Christ lives. He is my Savior and my King. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We really can change as we repent and "meekly approach the mercyseat and plead for grace" (President Uchtdorf). I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ all things can and will be made right. I have felt of healing and enabling power of the Atonement many times and I know that in the very moment that the Master Healer is mending our broken hearts, He is also giving us the strength to endure, to press forward, to stay the course until one day we can rest from "all [our] troubles and from all care, and sorrow (Alma 40:12). I know that because Jesus Christ lives that we too shall live again and if we make and keep sacred covenants in this life, then we can receive a fullness of joy in the next as we reunite with our loved ones. What a glorious message this is. 4. He lives! All glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same. Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: "I know that my Redeemer lives!" I know He lives. I love you. Elder Case

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