WEEK FIFTY-SEVEN August 4, 2014
As a young missionary I concluded, “Your success as a missionary is not predicated on how many people you baptize, but on whether or not you have the Holy Ghost as your constant companion.” I am still of the same opinion as a senior missionary.
In our discussion with the Four family this week he wanted to review the chapter in his book entitled “Being Born Again.” We immediately ran into a probably of definitions when discussion John 3, and being born of water and spirit to enter the kingdom of God. Said Brother Four, “No that’s not what I mean by salvation or being saved. That deals with conversion or what follows. Fulfilling ordinances and changing one’s life.” What then was saved I asked, “Well,” said he, “that is when you have fully accepted Jesus Christ.” I suggested by his definition all but the sons of perdition would be saved, as every knee will bow and tongue confess Jesus Christ (Romans 14:11 and Mosiah 27:31). I suggested then that using his definition we believe everyone but the sons of perdition would be saved and that being born again is a process, coupled with the necessary saving ordinances of baptism and receipt of the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The heart is the central element in our conversion from fallen mankind to holy beings—for the heart reveals not the avowed man but the true man. We build a heart acceptable to God though our faith in Christ, and as we willingly come unto Him our hearts are "changed through faith on his name" (Mosiah 5:7). As our hearts are changed within us, we become born again and our "souls [become] illuminated by the light of the everlasting word" (Alma 5:7). We then begin to see and feel—to sense, then to know, and finally to understand—the verities of eternity. The process of being born again itself causes our souls to be filled "with joy and consolation" through the redemptive power that is in Christ, which power purifies and sanctifies our hearts in an ongoing process of perfection that remains viable in us only as we continue to yield our "hearts unto God" (Helaman 3:35).
In yielding our hearts to God we enter into additional covenants "with our God," bringing an ever refining fire into our souls which encourages us "to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things ... all the remainder of our days" (Mosiah 5:5). As the reality of these covenants empower us, we become the sons and daughters of Christ, being "spiritually begotten" of the Redeemer (Mosiah 5:7).
With changed hearts, and as evidence of the covenants we have now entered into, we willingly accept the changes that Christ works in us and the cardinal virtues—exemplified in those who are to live exalted lives—become part of us as well. Thus we willingly yield to the "enticings of the Holy Spirit;" putting "off the natural man" or woman; becoming a "saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord;" and becoming "submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love." In so becoming, we begin to sense the common thread of those who are born again is a willingness "to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon" them (Mosiah 3:19).
As our will becomes one with God, we are freed from the "bonds of iniquity" and the "gall of bitterness." Leaving the "state of nature" even the "carnal state" introduced through mortality at the time of the fall—a state which is "contrary to the nature of God"—we become changed in Christ and enter into a state in harmony with the "nature of happiness" (see Alma 41:11).
We begin to enjoy the "happiness which is affixed" to the atonement and are freed from the punishment affixed in opposition to the law (2 Nephi 2:10). Our hope burns and brightens within us as we see and comprehend with our spiritual eyes that we will be "raised to endless happiness." We know that "endless happiness" comes only "according to [our] desires of happiness, or good according to our desires of good" which have been carefully nurtured within our heart. Thus having come unto Christ and allowing ourselves to become one with Christ, we are changed in him. We now accept of the divine within us and begin the process of becoming "redeemed of the Lord" (Alma 41:4, 5, 7) which fills us with "hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of the resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, ... because of [our] faith in him according to the promise" (Moroni 7:41).
Brother Four said his heart was open and ready to receive whatever the Lord wanted him to know. He also said how much he appreciated us coming each week. “Every time you are here it feels good. The spirit is wonderful and the whole house is different. I so appreciate you coming. It makes my week.” He then said he has been waiting for the Lord to tell him about the church. We had been praying similarly that he receive a manifestation. But, as my daughter pointed out, if he is only waiting, he will have a long wait. We need to get him to realize there are things he needs to be doing coupled with a willingness to do them to receive an answer. I was left wondering just what it is the Lord wants for him at this time in his life. Perhaps these thought led to the singular experience with the spirit later this week.
We had to miss our District Meeting this week for a doctor’s appointment. Which means we will not have another until next transfer. Also learned that the other two couples in our mission are not participating in them as we have, or if so, only as investigator’s not teachers.
Attended the Orange County Fair to hear the rock band Brother Twenty-one is playing in. Our timing and location were perfect to parking and the show which was in The Hangar. We got there a bit early and the band then playing was so awful we walked around a bit before coming back for Brother Twenty-one’s performance. The band consisted of five, a key board, lead singer, lead guitar, bass, and Brother Twenty-one on the drums. Saw a member of the Aliso Creek ward there who remarked, “You don’t have the same rules as the young missionaries do you?” No we told him, we were there to support Brother Twenty-one. Well Brother Twenty-one is not “just a drummer” this guy is magnificent. His performance was stunning. The drum part of the last piece was mesmerizing it was so good. I sent a note following the performance, “We were really impressed with your work on the drums. First time we ever heard a band and knew someone in it. Made it a lot more fun.” He replied, “Thank you I had a great time and it was good to see you in the audience. I hope I get more chances like that” Said I, “You have the talent that's for sure.”
Our WML in the Aliso Creek ward shared this with the ward, ward missionaries, and full-time missionaries—
WHY I, AS A MEMBER, NEED THE MISSIONARIES
1) After a long day at work or with kids, their presence will change my mood and bring light into both my home and my heart;
2) Their very presence focuses me on what is most importance, even before they teach anything;
3) They help me remember the importance of extending invitations to my friends and neighbors - inspiration and power come when my efforts are tied to them in a way that would not come if I were trying to work on my own;
4) My children look up to them - just their presence, as well as their messages, have helped my children convert to the Gospel;
5) President Monson, his counselors and many if not all of the apostles have recently invited me to unite and coordinate my efforts with theirs - it is a clear manner of prophetic priorities for my time;
6) The missionaries are often better at inspiring and motivating me than I am at inspiring and motivating myself;
7) My friends and neighbors cannot realize the full benefits of the atonement of Christ in their lives without talking to the missionaries;
8) The joy that comes when my friends sit in my home and discuss the Gospel with the missionaries is unique and wonderful.
WHY THE MISSIONARIES NEED ME
1) A convert who is introduced by a member of the church has an instant friend and support system and is much more likely to progress towards eternal life than a street contact;
2) A mission is hard. Outside of a member's home a missionary is often not treated with respect and kindness. The kindness of the members can take the edge off that difficult experience;
3) Missionaries need to eat;
4) The members strengthen the faith of the missionaries and provide a model of gospel living that the missionary may not have had in his or her own home;
5) Mission and church leaders have asked the missionaries to unite their efforts with the efforts of the members, including by teaching the members the missionary discussions.
Had our Bible Study class this week with three of ours there in attendance. The subject was persecution. I suggested being persecuted for the gospel sake was a badge of honor for so persecuted they the Savior, the apostles, and followers of Christ. I said I had come to the conclusion that faith in Christ, to be real, had to be independent of outcome.
At the funeral of Sister Ten, whose pet phrase “Moving along smartly” seems to have an application in missionary work, a favorite poem of hers was shared that Sister H wantd to share as well.
I’m Free ~ Author Unknown
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free
I’m following the path God has laid you see.
I took His hand when I heard him call
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found that peace at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Oh yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee
God wanted me now; He set me free.
Met with the One family this week as well. They are in the process of moving out of the ward and stake but in Mission Viejo so at their request we will continue to visit them weekly.
Sunday morning at the commencement of our fast I was visiting with the Lord about our purpose for this fast. I shared the idea that we have a few family’s that need to know the restored gospel is true. Almost as soon as the thought came to my mind the Lord cancelled the thought, telling me, “You are not to fast and pray that your investigators may be converted but rather that to fast and pray that you may understand my will concerning them and your responsibilities related thereto.” I called the WML in Aliso Creek and asked if I could give the inspirational message in our correlation meeting that day as a result of the experience. They concluded knowing that made it a “lot easier to do this work.”
In our meeting with the Six family I concluded by directing my remarks to Brother Six’s daughter who has just recently arrived from back east, “You may be wondering why we have been visiting with your dad this past year and preparing your dad to go to the temple. Certainly you would want to know what they know. Can we begin next week bringing you up to date so you will know what we are talking about?” She nodded her said and said yes.