Monday, March 14, 2016

March 14, 2016

Hey All! What's going on in the hood?! Things are legendary here! Quevedo is the bomb and always will be. Love it here! Everything is great. 
How are all of you? Getting fired up for General Conference? I sure know I am! It is going to be incredible! There are so many awesome things coming up! A member of the Quorum of the Twelve is coming to our mission on the 11 of June to visit us! So let's just say I am fired up for that one. I guess they are forbidden to tell us who it is going to be but we know he is one of the Brethren from the Quorum so we are all super excited and working hard to make him proud! 
This past week was a great one as usual. On Monday afternoon right before P-day came to an end we took the clothes over to the sister that helps us wash them. We passed a park and saw a small family that called our attention quite a bit. We decided to contact them. I am sure it was a little odd with us and our giant bag of dirty clothes that I am sure was giving off quite an unpleasant odor but the mother of the family ended up being a less active. She lives with her children and husband and is super interested in getting back into things and developing a stronger relationship with the Lord. Her husband is even excited to learn. So that was a really cool moment...the spirit's guidance never seems to amaze me.
We had a movie night and watched "Meet the Mormon's". That movie is inspired by God...not a doubt. We have an investigator who has a very strong Catholic background. She has a very closed and defensive personality as well. This movie changed her though. COMPLETELY. Especially the story of the female boxer. The light in her eyes after seeing this movie and coming to know who we really are and what are purpose really is as members of Christ's only church was amazing. 
We printed off a list from the ward of "Birthdays". There are about 1,300 members in our ward with 160ish attending church. So there is A TON of work to be done in the activating side of things. We have been going through the birthday list and visiting all of the less actives who have completed another year. It is so funny because they have NO CLUE how it is we found them, knew they were members, or somehow knew it was their birthday. They are left with their jaws open when we say that the spirit led and told us. Haha! But we have found some great families that way. So grateful for all of the tools and resources that the Lord has blessed us with.
I did take a little fall the other day...I was descending from a bamboo house that is lifted off of the ground probably 15 feet because of the floods when it rains...I came to one of the stairs and told myself that it looked sketchy. It was super flimsy and wiggly but I went for it anyways...mistake. My foot went right through that sucker and I went right through the stair case. I managed to save my scriptures though...not a scratch ;) much awesomeness!!! I think I will just get to the spiritual message or else I will go on forever!

I found myself thinking about the Priesthood a lot this past week. What it is, how it is, whose it is. how it works, and how we develop it. Doctrine and Covenants 121 explains it so well. "That the rights of the Priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven..." I love this because it teaches me so many different lessons. I will just share my two favorites! When I think of my mother and my sister I think of heaven. The beauty and love that I find in them is something that only heaven can hold. Women are naturally born "inseparably connected" with the heavens. But us men...Let's just say that we have some work to do! These "rights", these powers, our calling, our duty, and what has been conferred upon us by the laying on of hands helps us men become inseparably connected with the heavens because we were not born with the natural connection like woman are. The Priesthood helps us become like God. It helps us develop the attributes that will qualify us for His Kingdom. One of the other things that I love about this verse is that God literally has gifted us His heavenly power. The power and faith that was used when the words "Let there be light" (Moses 2:3) were spoken before the universe was is upon the earth today. When "the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" (Moses 3:7) He was using the very power that was lost but has been found and restored through the Prophet, Joseph Smith. How blessed we are.
In American Football if a Wide Receiver drops a well delivered pass the confidence that his coach, quarterback, teammates, and fans have in him decreases. Each time a well delivered pass is dropped the chances of being passed to in the future diminish. What would be a dropped ball as a Priesthood holder? What would take the confidence of our coach or Quarterback (God) away to the point where they don't throw us the ball anymore (give us power)?? D&C 121:37 says, "but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, or vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion among the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the Priesthood or the authority of that man." Each time we drop the ball or commit "any degree of unrighteousness" as receivers or possessors of the Priesthood, our quarterback -  or God -  stops throwing us the ball or giving us power and authority. 
So finally...what is expected of us? "...only by persuasion, long suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile." (41-42). These are traits that we must develop to get the ball passed to us. 
My favorite Priesthood duty is in verse 45 though. "Let thy bowels also be full of charity..." Pardon me for the example but when my bowels are filled, especially with Ecuador, you best be bettin' that I am beating Usain Bolt to the nearest bathroom! And you are all the same! When your bowels are filled you drop WHATEVER it is you are doing to empty your bowels. Are our bowels filled with charity? Enough charity to make us run to the nearest location to let our charity out and love? It goes on to say "towards ALL MEN, and to the household of the faith". Priesthood brethren, let us be filled with charity and rush to all men, members or not, to release this love unto them. Young men. It is a commandment from God Almighty to fill yourself with this love and preach it to "ALL MEN", all countries, in all tongues, to every ear that will hear. SERVE YOUR MISSIONS AND PREPARE TO SERVE NOW. Fill yourselves with this love as well for the family of the faith. Your family, church leaders, and the general authorities. 
I promise God will never stop passing you the ball if you do so. 
Love you all so much! Be safe this week.
Elder Noll

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