Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February 15, 2016

Hello world! It has been a while! It has been a crazy past couple of weeks! Two weeks ago Elder Ashman and I headed off to Guayaquil and had hardly any time to write and a week ago I had transfers which left me with no time either. I am so good though. I’m sad I am not with Elder Ashman still... but I know the Lord has other plans for us to help bring to pass His work and His glory. I don’t have tons of time so I better get on my horse with this email!

I am back in Quevedo! It has been a while. Just about a year actually. I am in the same Zone as I was a year ago when I was in El Empalme and will actually get to head over there every once in a while to work which will be really neat. Quevedo is an awesome city. The ward is super neat so far. It is not as close to the mountains as La Troncal is... so it is a whole lot hotter. Haha! I am with an Elder from Peru. He is a stud. We met each other in Ventanas over a year ago so we are super pumped to work together.

There are some incredible families here. My highlight of the week was probably when I met a guy named Hyrum. He is the biggest stud ever! He loves soccer, the church, and never seems to stop smiling. He has Down Syndrome so that might be why I love him so much! He is just the happiest guy and puts the biggest smile on my face and the Lord puts so much love in my heart through this light to the world. He really made me miss my Uncle Charlie... so, special shout-out to you, Chuck! Miss you so much! It is so amazing how the Lord puts special people in the special path that He has carefully constructed for each and every one of us in order to feel loved and succored.

We met a guy named John Baptist. He was quite the character, as I am sure you can imagine.
We taught a couple that is so in love... haha... it was so funny. The Hermana is a less active and the Hermano is an investigator. We shared 4th Nephi with them and talked of Eternal Marriage and the Hermano just started to blush. He stood up and said “We are getting married this month and you will baptize me on the 15 of March!” So that was a little unexpected! But a miracle to say the least. I love how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most miraculous thing that the universe has to offer. The most incredible, inspiring, and life changing of all. Something that I realized as well is that it is the most romantic of all. How lucky we are to have capacity to live together with someone we love for time and all eternity. Pretty Nicholas Sparksish I would say! ;)

Those are a few of the cool things that happened this week... A FEW! SO many miracles and amazing signs of the Lord’s hand have manifested themselves in this work this past week that a million words could not describe!

In the gospel of Matthew, our Savior is referred to by different titles. Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God, Son of David, Master, Lord, King of the Jews, etc. He even asks His apostles who men say that He is in the 13th verse of the 16th chapter. After hearing the responses of “John the Baptist, Elias, Jeramias, or one of the prophets” I would assume that the Lord has a bit of a “you’re kidding” kinda feeling. After all that the people had seen Him do, after all the sick He had healed, and after all that He had taught NOBODY knew who He was. He fed 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes and another 4,000 with 7 loaves and a few fish just DAYS prior... what would it take for these people to know who He was? Then the Savior asks the question to his very own apostles... “But whom say ye that I am?”

Perhaps the Lord wants us to answer that very question ourselves. For you... who is He? What is His name? When you think of Jesus what is the first thought that enters your mind? What is the first memory that enters your mind? What is the first feeling that enters your heart? I LOVE Peter’s response, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” How was Peter able to come to know this without ever hearing the Lord being called such things? How was he able to call Jesus “the Christ, the Son of the living God” without ever hearing it before? The Savior’s response teaches us a marvelous lesson: “Blessed are thou, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in Heaven.” Has flesh and blood revealed Jesus unto us? Do we rely on the testimony of others and how they see the Savior or are we “blessed because flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto us, but our Father which is in Heaven?”

Who is Jesus Christ in your life? When did He become what He is in your life? How? What makes you call Him what you do? Perhaps there are many of us who need to have it “revealed” unto us as it was to Peter if we have not had a personal manifestation from the Father Himself. How can we receive this personal testimony?

The Lord speaks in such a unique way to each and every one of us. How it will come, where, when, or what I cannot say... but I did ask myself the question... How can I receive revelation? And then 2 Nephi 30 came to mind!
“Wherefore, the things of all nations shall be made known; yea, all things shall be made known unto the children of men.
There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed.”
What is it they will do to have “all things made known unto them?”
Verse 1: “...except ye shall keep the commandments...” Obedience is required. Exact obedience. It is the spirit that speaks and it is obedience that permits us to have the spirit.
Verse 2: “...the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent...” Repentance OPENS our hearts...not only will it allow the message to be brought by the spirit...but the spirit will be able to enter our hearts and teach us who exactly is this Christ. “...and believe in His son, who is the Holy One of Israel.” We  must want to believe to come to know our Savior personally.
Verse 3: “...there shall be many which shall believe the words which are written...” To receive personal revelation we must read the scriptures and fall in love with them. We must believe in them and hearken unto them and their teachings and then “...carry them forth...” (share what we learn).
Verse 5: “...they shall be restored to the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ...” One way to receive revelation is through Temple work. As we help others on the other side of the veil come unto Christ we will find ourselves also coming unto Him in a more individual and personal way. With a deeper and more meaningful relationship.
Verse 6: “And then they shall rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God.” To come to know that Jesus is the Christ we must realize the tender mercies from God in our daily lives. As we see and recognize His hand we will find ourselves more familiar with Him and come to develop a personal testimony of who He truly is.

So ask yourself the question... “What do I think of Christ?”...and then search for the revelation. Don’t simply come to know that Jesus is the Christ. Develop the firm conviction that Jesus is YOUR Christ. Let the Father reveal it unto you. Ask. Listen.

I know that Jesus is my Christ. I know that He is my Redeemer. He lives as I do, and loves more than I or anyone else can.

Have an amazing week!
Elder Noll

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