Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26, 2015

Did it work?
How is everyone?! Hopefully SO, SO good! :)
Let's just jump right into it, yeah?
I started the week off by getting offered a fruit smoothie...people here in Ecuador are so giving and loving to us missionaries...not to mention it was a MANGO smoothie...pretty sweet, right? I took the first sip and nearly lost it...I have NO IDEA what they put in there or what was in the glass before they poured the smoothie in there...ah geesh...that was bad news bears. And the worst part is that the sweet worker lady sat with us at the table while we drank them so we were forced to finish. I think I will be able to throw down whatever, whenever, and however when I am back in the states! Haha! So I guess my testimony is not the only thing getting stronger out here! ;)
We went to one of my favorite families on Monday night and had a family night with them which is always a blast! They have the 3 cutest little girls! The youngest is always crawling all over her to death! And she is obsessed with coloring...but she had no I went home that night with blue ink all over both of my arms! Definitely a worth while sacrifice when it is for any one of these kids here. 
One of our investigators was really sad that he didn't have a white shirt and tie...good thing us missionaries have quite a few of those! ;) So we hooked him was so cool to see him walk in the chapel on Sunday with a huge smile on his face wearing a white shirt and tie...doing everything he could possibly do follow in the footsteps of our Savior. It was especially humbling to see him get baptized and receive the Holy Ghost...he was brought to was I. We gave him a little picture of Jesus Christ with His hands extended to the multitude when He visited the Americas...our convert took the photo ever so gently and held it to his heart and wept as he bore his amazing testimony. I can't explain the changes that are occurring in my life...I can't explain the light that this Gospel can bring to others lives...that this Gospel can bring to your life if you let it. It is just unreal.
Elder D is the biggest stud ever! It is so awesome to be working with him. He is one funny dude...he has some of the most LEGENDARY stories! He is super into boxing which is tight...I can't imagine all 4 feet of him punching another dude but I am just not going to mess with him. I still make him get up to go to the gym with me. Haha! His first day he nearly passed away...he is kind of accustomed to it by now though. 
Saturday was great! I thought it was going to be really really bad when our investigator didn't show up to his own baptism...I guess that is kind of crucial when it comes to know...having someone to baptize?? But he did end up showing up! :) 
It is still just Elder D and I living in the is kind of lonely with just the two of us...but all is good in the hood! We are still working hard with the family who lives below us. Hermana J has somewhere around 60 years and Hermano E probably has 65ish but Hermano E isn't a member. The missionaries have been teaching him for over 26 years! NUTS! We are working super hard with him though because we love their family so much. They are so incredible and loving. We love them so much that all we want for them is to be dressed in white and sealed together for time and all eternity. I think I love them so much because they remind me so much of my own grandparents. And I have full faith that the outcome of Hermana J and Hermano E will be the same as my grandparents. That outcome is the temple. That outcome is eternity. Happiness. I know it'll happen!
President is super strict with wanting the North Americans to teach the native companions English. It is kinda fun actually! I am helping Elder D with the mission objective and...a few other things...haha. As of now he can say ''Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive'', ''I am a DIRECTIONER'', and ''what's cooking good looking?'' haha! We decided to have a little fun while studying language.
So that was basically this past week in a nutshell!
This weeks message starts with some questions:
Why on earth was the prophet Lehi commanded to leave his home/possessions and take his family into the depths of the wilderness? Wouldn't that be kinda hard? 
Why was Nephi, who was EXACTLY obedient to The Lord's commandments, still held bound and afflicted by his brothers? 
Why was Abinadi put to death when he was dedicating his life to The Lord?
These are just 3 examples in the beginning stories of the Book of Mormon of bad things that happened to good people.
Joseph Smith dedicated his life to our Savior and to bring forth the Book of Mormon but was still tarred and feathered and lost child after child. 
Why would The Lord allow such things to happen to such good people? To people who were giving everything to Him?
Obviously as a young and inexperienced boy I don't have all of the answers...but the scriptures sure do! 
ACTS 14:22- As hard as it is to realize and comprehend...we pass through trial and tribulation to bring ourselves closer our Heavenly Father. We pass through these hard things because we can not enter the Kingdom of God without them. The Kingdom of God is for the best of the best and we can only become the best through overcoming the worst. 
1: Afflictions are your boarding pass to Eternal Glory.
Hosea 5:15- The Lord knows that if He takes everything and leaves us with ''nothing'' we will have no choice to progression save it be through seeking and trusting in Him. In a sense He tears us down so that He can heal us...and He only wants to heal us because His medicine outdoes all others and makes us stronger in every aspect of our lives through it. He can't, however, heal someone who is not in need of mending...a strong heart must be broken first. A firm testimony must be tested. A healthy body must endure difficulty. A King or Queen, which is essentially what we are and what we will become, starts at the bottom before they are raised to the thrown to reign in glory.
2: The Lord's healing power takes a wounded soul and makes it stronger.
Doctrine and Covenants 88:6- This is just another testimony that those who fall are lifted higher. When we fall or when we are is time for us to understand something. And that something that we are going to understand is going to help someone else. Our Savior suffered every possible pain for us...that He might know and understand us PERFECTLY. If we are truly striving to be like Him we will strive to overcome and learn from our afflictions for the well being of others. Christ asked why too. He had pain too. He asked our Heavenly Father if there was any other way. But there wasn't. And there is not another way for you either. Keep your head up. Endure it well. Endure with faith. Endure with a heart that is ready to rush the the rescue of someone else. Because when you overcome your struggle, your doubt, and your grief...because it will will be prepared to help someone when they are experiencing a similar situation and a similar struggle. 
3: You are preparing to help someone else. You are becoming more like your Savior.
Take comfort when you are passing through the whirlwinds and tribulations of life. Challenges and affliction are a sure sign that the Almighty God of the Universe has trust in YOU and that He knows that YOU are STRONG enough to ENDURE. 
I find myself touching on this subject almost every single week...the love that our Heavenly Father has for you...but it is something that I always feel deeply in my heart and something that I love to share. 
Romans 8:38-39- Brothers and Sisters, the love that God has for YOU outdoes all life and all death. The power of His love overpowers all things in the present and all things to come. Nothing that this life brings can separate you from this love. Your insecurities, fears, and your doubts don't stand a chance against the love that our God has for you individually. Your weakness, pains, and struggles literally can not survive the power of His love. His love is inseparable and everlasting. How is this kind of love even possible?
Only in and through our older brother, Jesus Christ, who descended below all things. I testify that this kind of love is possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the Universe. 
He truly did face all pain, struggle, and that He could know and succor you perfectly. 
And where He is now is your destiny and your foreordination. Get there! It is going to be tough...but we can do hard things...especially when God the Father and the creator of the universe are right by our side each and every step of the way. 
Keep moving forward. Keep becoming more and more like our Savior. 
Every tear, every doubt, every drop of blood, and every pain is preparing you for what God has in store for your soul. And what He has in store is a whole lot more than you or I can offer in this life. It is a whole lot more than anyone can offer.

Elder Noll

Jessi and Elder DeLeon, his new companion - still in Ventanas


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