To be super short because we don't have much time and I need to get to the more important part of the weekly email...
I HAD AN INCREDIBLE WEEK! I am loving every second of every day! As hard as it is...it is harder NOT to have the time of your life in the mission...despite all struggle...the miracles are far more powerful!
Before the spiritual message...
Happy Birthday to my grandma Linda. I did not get the chance to meet my grandma due to the cancer that took her life when my mom was just 15 years old. How grateful I am for the Plan of Salvation and the opportunity I have to reunite with my grandmother for eternity. I can feel of her constant light in my life, even though I do not know her. At about 6:30ish each night the sun sets in Ecuador...and I don't know if a 5:45 afternoon has passed when I don't think of my grandmother who is in the Heavens above. I draw so much strength from those sunsets...so much strength from thinking of an angel who is looking down upon her grandson and strengthening him with every step. I just can not wait until the day comes when I give my grandma a big huge giant bear resurrected hug! To meet the woman who gave my mother life will be worth a lifetime wait. Happy Birthday Grandma. Thank you for your sunset.
We had the chance to talk to a man this past week who really helped me strengthen my testimony of our Savior in an interesting way. I don't know if I have ever talked to anyone so unbelieving, hopeless, or confused. He asked us why we would ever believe in a Savior who had fear. He asked us why we would believe in a Christ who was scared to die and give His life. I soon came to the conclusion that, often times, the biggest increases in our testimony and beliefs come from the disbelief of others. I felt an overwhelming gratitude for our Redeemer and His everlasting love. My testimony of Him and in Him grew...and my appreciation of His perfectly FEARLESS COURAGE pounded in my heart.
If we examine the words of Isaiah through the Prophet, Abinadi, we are taught by a teeny tiny fraction of what the Lord experienced, suffered, and how He went about it.
He was "despised and rejected of man", "acquainted with grief", actually "bore our griefs", "carried our sorrows", was "esteemed of man", and "smitten", "afflicted", "wounded for our transgressions", "bruised for our iniquities", "oppressed", and crucified.
Let us all remember that the Lord knew perfectly well what He had embarked on...what was to come...and what He was to feel and endure.
"...yet He opened not His mouth; He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,...so He opened not His mouth...He was taken from prison...cut off out of the land...made His grave with the wicked...neither was their any deceit in His mouth."
A perfectly innocent Lamb...a perfect and innocent man...better said...a perfect and innocent GOD was brought to what He KNEW to be His slaughter with a closed mouth and with no deceit in His mouth.
THAT, Brothers and Sisters...is NOT fear.
That is courage.
I testify that the Lord is merciful, loving, obedient, humble, patient, governing, ordered, perfect, and powerful. He is the Savior of the Universe and much more...
But what the Savior is NOT is fear.
The Savior of the Universe is no fear.
The Lord commands us to "fear not", "be not dismayed" and "not doubt". The Lord NEVER gives commandments that He Himself would not keep...because the Lord God certainly is NOT a hypocrite.
I testify of the Lord's courageous, un-doubting, and fearless protection. Through a fearless Redeemer of all existence our fear should too fade.
Let us take on this world with a closed mouth and with not deceit in our mouth. Let us march forward with full faith and un-waivering courage as Christ did...
For faith destroys all fear...
For testimony destroys all terror...
"Look unto me in every thought; Doubt not, fear not."
He only gives us this invitation because He was the first to NEVER fear.
n His sacred name, the name of the Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ, I bare witness that He lives. And as He does so He does not fear. He never did. He never will.