Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015

Hello loved ones! :) What's going on? Everyone pumped for Halloween? I think I will go trick or treating... I will be searching for the best banana ;) That's about as sweet as it gets here! Any fun plans? What's new? I haven't heard from anyone about SHS ball... who are they playing in the first round? 
Not much newness going on around town... the rain should start falling pretty heavily here shortly. Every five years they have something called "the rains." It has something to do with the equator and I guess it rains like crazy... which means more humidity... which means more heat... which means more awesomeness, right?! This week was a great and adventurous experience! Leggo...
Early on in the week my companion got sick so we had to go to Guayaquil. He is still getting accustomed to everything so we had to go run some tests and what not. Man I feel bad... I remember when I got sick about a year ago... 40 pounds later I came out alive!!! But he is luckily doing a lot better and we got things under control. But we did spend the night in the mission home... man that place... besides the creaky bunk bed, rattling fan, mice scurrying through the walls, and my crusty blanket I slept pretty well! And we played basketball with the office elders in the morning for exercise... and I still cannot make a layup... I was trying ever so hard to represent the KOSS Krew but I couldn't come up clutch... next time for sure though ;)
I actually survived another earthquake a little while back! It occurred at like 2 or 3 in the morning... I nearly fell off of my bed!
We had an awesome experience! We were visiting a less active family and we finished the lesson and asked for a reference. As missionaries we ask references from EVERYONE. It is very rare that someone actually has one, but we have to do all we can to spread this gospel so we ask anyways. This particular time they told us that everyone they knew is Catholic or that they wouldn't accept us... after hearing that Catholic excuse for the 1,000,000,000,089,384 time I decided to put an end to that nonsense! "The thing is Hermana... we don't baptize Mormon's." She stopped..."You are so right! Let me present you to my neighbor." And it turns out that "the neighbor" is married (which hardly ever happens in Ecuador) and has a beautiful family. We set up a visit set for later in the week, and a baptismal date! Such a miracle from our Heavenly Father and such a testimony that all it takes is a presentation sometimes. There are so many people waiting to hear of this message but we refrain from sharing it out of fear or judgement... let's not :)
Oh yeah... ANOTHER miracle. We were with another less active family and when the visit came to an end, we finished with a prayer, and they offered us some food. As hungry as I was... I felt something deep in my heart that we needed to get on our horse and get on it fast! With as much love as we could express we explained that we had another visit and we headed out. My companion was a little confused why we were walking so fast and so was I... but we came to the end of the street and we caught a short glimpse of a woman carrying her baby over her shoulder... only for a moment though because she entered herself into a dirt road and the houses blocked her from our view. We headed off in that direction. When we made it to that same dirt road we started to follow her (a little creepy I know, but we are missionaries. No pasa nada) and her baby saw us and LIT UP. This little dude was adorable! We were close enough to the point where I started to make faces at my baby obsession and make him laugh.  His 1-tooth smile make my life 100 times better. He was giggling so hard to the point that the mother turned around to see what the cause was. She too was just happy. As soon as I saw her smile I knew... that is why the spirit told us to skip out on the food offer! How incredible it was to testify to this perfectly happy woman and her adorable family that there is even MORE happiness waiting for her, her baby, her other children, and her husband through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She is very interested and was so curious as to why we were so happy. So we found another amazing family through another miracle from the Lord and His leading and guiding spirit. I no longer hungered... I was instantly filled with so much appreciation and gratitude for the Lord and His method of work. Get on your horse!
Hmmm... our light burnt out so we bought another bulb and turned off the power in the house to put it in and be a little more safe... but my companion actually turned up the voltage... and we got confused with the light switch if it was clicked on "on" or "off" because it doesn't say. Long story short... that up-volted light socket and with the switch on "on" got me pretty good. Haha! That sucker fried me nearly to death... and I am sure I looked pretty funny with every hair on my head standing strait up due to the electric shock I took!
Another hmmm... we were with the Zone Leaders on Thursday and when the night rolled around it was too late to make it back to La Troncal so we just slept there in the Zone Leader's house. We slept on their wooden bed frames. Man... 15 months ago I could get away with sleeping on a cold tile floor... I think I am getting old... :/ My back still hurts from that night!!
And another hmmm... this past weekend we had a District Conference which was AWESOME! The District is super tiny... I am serving in a branch right now... and in the District there are 3 branches. But despite the number... the spirit testified of the same truth as it does in the largest of congregations! The speakers were incredible.
I guess I will share one more experience really quick... hopefully you are not bored half to death... or all the way to death!!
We went to the house of another less active (as you can see we work a lot with less actives) to share a quick message. He has not been to church for years... he is actually the Ex-Pres of the branch... but has fallen away for some reason or another. They usually don't accept the missionaries, but for some reason they did this time. We decided to touch on the Atonement. I do not remember a whole lot of what was said during the lesson but we finished with a prayer and before even standing up he bolted up and said, "WHEN WILL YOU RETURN?!" We were a bit taken back... "Can you come tomorrow?" he asked. "OF COURSE!" we replied. So we will have another visit with him later today. Amazing what the message of the Atonement does for the lives of others.
Now for the spiritual message...

Where are your accusers? What have you done in your life that would cause a condemning? What is keeping you from the Kindgom of God? Amulek teaches a vital concept to Zeezrom in Alma 11. "And I say unto you again that He can not save them in their sins;... no unclean thing can inherit the Kingdom of Heaven." Well that really sums things up doesn't it?
I guess we are all toast!
At least that is what Lucifer wants you to feel. The description of what Korihor taught in Alma 30 is such a great symbol for who Lucifer is and the thoughts he tries to put in your heads. As we analyze who he is and what he taught the people we can see the thoughts that Satan has put in our very own heads at times. "There is no Christ," Christ is a "foolish and vain hope," "how do you know?" "the remission of sins is the effect of a frenzied mind," "there is no atonement." DO NOT GIVE IN TO THE TEACHINGS OF LUCIFER.
Brothers and Sisters, there is a Christ. He is our only hope. I know because I feel Him... I know Him. The remission of sins is not the effect of a frenzied mind, rather, a loving, humble, submissive, and eternal mind of a God who gave it all in a garden, on a cross, and in a tomb.
For this very cause, Christ said 5 simple, yet "salvational," words to the adulterer and He is saying the same 5 words to you and to me every second of every day:
"Go, and sin no more." 
The first word really calls my attention. He did not just say, "sin no more." YOU HAVE GOT TO GO! There is something that you have to DO. There is something required of you. Before you "sin no more" you must GO. But where to? Your knees... your heart... your soul... the depths of humility and repentance. What is it we do by "going?" To go is to repent. "Repent, and sin no more."
In Romans 6 it gives us what the "going" does for us.
"Knowing this (knowing that we have gone and repented), that our "old" man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed..." As we go we are crucified alongside with our older brother. And what occurred after the crucifixion of our Savior? He arose. As we go... we ARISE. Our sins are literally destroyed. We are forgiven.
The miracle of forgiveness is filled with miracles in itself. "No unclean thing can inherit the Kingdom of God" yet through the miracle of "going" made possible through the Atonement, our sins are destroyed... making us clean and giving us permission to enter this degree of the most exalted glory. This miracle is an everlasting miracle... offered to each and every one of us each and every day. We can ALWAYS "go".
The Pharisees brought unto Christ a sinner... a sin that required stoning and to be put to death according to the law of Moses in the Old Testament... and all Christ told her to do was "go." Repent. 
No matter how filthy you may think you are. No matter what your Pharisees say. No matter where, when, or how you have sinned.... I INVITE YOU TO "GO!"
Be crucified with Christ and watch as your sins get destroyed. 
Where are your accusers? You have none. Go.
Who condemns you? Nobody. Go.
What is keeping you from becoming a God and inheriting eternal glory? GO and you will find that nothing is holding you back.
There is no sin in the past, present, or future that will not be resolved by simply "going."
Love you all! Your Savior loves you! Your Heavenly Father loves you!
Be extra safe this week. Eat tons of candy. Carve tons of pumpkins. Have fun with your families. Your kids. Know that you are all in my prayers.
Elder Noll

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