Monday, January 11, 2016

January 11, 2016

   I feel like I blinked last Monday and here I am This week was filled with greatness! And so was the week before...I did not have a whole lot of time last week, so I guess I have two whole weeks to catch up on!!
Where to begin...??
   Something pretty funny but miraculous happened...the power goes out here ALWAYS. Maybe two to three times a week...and it always seems to happen RIGHT as we get home for the night, sweating, and tired. So we absolutely despise when the power goes out...especially because the fans don`t work and those are the only things that keep us alive! Haha! So we walk in the door and right as we close it behind us...BOOM. Darkness. We were devastated! It has gotten to the point where we just kind of laugh it off but deep down we are shedding tears. So we had a neat planning session around the candle light and then hit the sack. We got on our knees and started to talk. "Dude...Brons...I mean...Elder Ashman...what would happen if we had the faith that Enos had? I bet the Lord would give us light."
"Ah! I know! Or the brother of Jared! We would have light right now!"
"Seriously! What would you do? Do you th-"
And then my words were interrupted with the light coming back on. We busted up laughing and could not stop. We are sure that God was kicking it up in the heavens like "You guys have not seen ANYTHING." But after all the laughs were out it taught me a really cool lesson. Instead of talking about having the faith of others...instead of thinking about how great the faith that others were able to obtain and the miracles that occurred...we ourselves should develop the faith. There is nothing that should ever keep us from experiencing miracles besides ourselves.
   We talked to a pretty neat family from Colombia. They ended up asking us what we were going to do after the mission. I replied..."I am going to go home, study, play football, work, and eventually get married in the Lord`s house for time and all eternity."
The wife replied, "Time and all what??"
The look on her face was priceless. The look on the husbands face was even more priceless. They looked away from us and then looked at each other. Then they looked back at us and then back to each other. They were so amazed. Elder Ashman and I were super pumped to see their reaction and it is obvious that they would do whatever it takes to live together with their two little girls for forever. We left them with a Book of Mormon and invited them to read and pray to know if our message was true. So we will see where things go! What joy this message those that hear it and those that share it!
   We ate Guinea Pig...that was super interesting. So chewy. I had been waiting my entire mission to eat it and I will say that I am not hoping to eat it again. First off all it was I literally swallowed the bites whole. Two...I wanted to cry. They basically gave me an entire Guinea Pig body...the little guy all fried up just made me think of every Guinea Pig that I have ever held, loved, or pet. After I ate the meat off of the legs I could even move the guys little knee joints. They still functioned! Oh I felt so bad. NEVER AGAIN. 
   We had an awesome finding experience. We had passed for just about every soul that we knew one relying on the Lord and with a prayer in our hearts we kept on moving. We were somehow brought to some random house on some random corner. We had been wanting to go there for quite a while but had always just put it off but we decided to make it the first knocked door of the AWESOME guy answered the door. He started to explain his life to us. Like his entire life story. We were a little lost with where he was going with it...but finally he got up to a Saturday over 21 years ago...when he and his wife were baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Shortly after his baptism he became the Branch President. Shortly after he became Branch President his wife passed away and had not been back to church again. What a miracle it was to find this man. We feel like he is ready to come back to the fold after all this time and we know that the Spirit led us there for a sacred purpose.
There is so much more but we will just have to keep it at that!
What else is required of us apart from being "...meek and lowly in heart, and confessing by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ..."? -Moroni 7:44
What is it that we must be filled with so "...that we may become the sons (or daughters) of God? That when He shall come we shall be like Him? That we may have this hope? That we may be purified even as He is pure?" -Moroni 7:48
We learn from this same chapter in Moroni that the answer is charity. Knowing that "...if he hath not charity he is nothing" I have been really focusing on what charity really is and how to obtain it so I can be "something". In verse 45-46 Moroni explains, "and charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. If ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--" I had to take quite some time to find out what this word "charity" really meant. Because these verses STILL don`t tell us "what" it is...but they only explain "how" it is. But verse 47 gave me a more specific answer as to "what" charity truly is.
"But charity is the pure love of Christ..."
We could say that charity is equal to the pure love of the Savior...they are synonyms.
What is purity? What is the "pure love of Christ"? James teaches us that "wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle,...full of mercy,...without partiality..." As I ponder on history and every event since God said, "Let there be light", up until this very second, and try to think of the one action that was perfectly pure, forever peaceable, eternally gentle, forever merciful, and that contains no partiality, the Atonement of our Savior is what comes to mind. Charity is the Atonement of our Lord and Savior. The Atonement of our Redeemer is Charity. I was able to come to such a better understanding, though I will never fully comprehend, of what the Atonement is. So knowing that charity and the Atonement are equal let us go back and plug in atonement where necessary.
"Wherefore if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confess by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have the atonement; for if he have not the atonement he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have the atonement. And the atonement suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not. The atonement is not puffed up and does not seek her own, nor is it easily provoked. The atonement thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth. The atonement beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not the atonement, ye are nothing, for the atonement never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto the atonement which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail. But the atonement is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever, and whoso is found possessed of the atonement at the last day, it shall be well with him."
The Atonement of Him who descended is everything. It will change us from nothing into something and will take something and turn it to everything. The Lord`s Atonement that was made specifically for you will never CANNOT fail...the only thing that will fail is us and our failure to possess of ourselves of this atoning sacrifice.
What does it mean to you to have a God who was chosen, before the world was even organized, to help you become like Him? Where would you be without such a sacrifice? What can you become through the Atonement and how is it that you are to obtain it? Let`s plug in atonement one more time to find out!
"Wherefore my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of your heart, that ye may be filled with the atonement, which He hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of His Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons (or daughters) of God; that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him how He is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as He is pure."
Perhaps you are in your very own garden, on your very own hill, or in your very own tomb; I invite all to fill yourself with the love of Him who was in your garden first. I invite all to beg on your knees to your Father who knew you from the beginning of time and who still knows you to be filled with the charity that was shed forth on Calvary before you made it to your Calvary. That empty tomb was left empty so that you could be filled with the greatest sacrifice that the universe has ever know. Perhaps you feel as if forgiveness or redemption is unattainable. I testify in the name of Him who offered us this pure love, that it is possible because of the Atonement. For it "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, and endureth all things." His Atonement is real. I know it. I feel it. I love it.
Are you using what what given to you? What was shed for you? Take the time to develop a love for the Atonement and be a possessor of it. USE IT.
Elder Noll
How many grapes can you fit in your mouth?

Always wet...either sweating or in the rain!

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