I am so incredibly grateful for prophets and modern revelation!! The knowledge that there is a prophet of God on the earth today who holds all of the authority to act in God's name brings me so much comfort. Elder Stevenson's talk about priesthood keys made me recognize what a great blessing it is to live in a time when those keys are on the earth. I know that Joseph Smith was truly called to be a prophet and that Heavenly Father restored all of the keys through him. The priesthood is what allows us to receive all of the ordinances required for exaltation as well as the blessings that Heavenly Father has in store for us. I am so grateful for the privilege we have to be able to hear the words of God's chosen servants every six months (at a minimum) and to receive guidance and counsel. I know that Thomas S. Monson has been called by God and is truly His mouthpiece to guide His church.
It is amazing to see how much clarity and understanding is lost when people do not have the benefit of modern revelation. We were teaching an investigator this past week and she asked how we can know if we have been 'saved'. She knew that baptism is necessary, and that God knows if we are 'saved' or not, but she had no idea how she could personally know before she dies. We were able to teach her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and explain the priesthood and temples. That knowledge is needed so desperately by so many. So many people have no idea what is required to enter God's kingdom and always feel that they will never be worthy. They do not understand the Atonement. Christ's Atonement is what makes us able to be cleansed from our mistakes and shortcomings. None of us are able to fully live His laws, but He simply asks us to do our best and turn to Him for strength. Here in the South, I have met so many people who have been 'saved'. I am grateful for the knowledge that salvation is a process, not an event. The purpose of missionary work is not to baptize people. Yes, that is a huge step, but that is not the ultimate goal. The reason the Lord calls missionaries is to help His children return to His presence and become worthy to live in the Celestial Kingdom. That is what it means to be saved. That is the reason I am here.
I have been thinking about sacrifice and sanctification this past week. The Lord has always required His people to make sacrifices. Sacrifice is not something that comes naturally or easily to us, which is why it is required. It was not easy for the Israelites to kill the best animal of their flock. It goes against every natural reasoning. Today, we are not asked to give animal sacrifices. The sacrifices asked of us are in some ways harder. We are asked to give our whole souls to the Lord. He asks everything of us. He will often ask us to give up the thing that seems impossible to let go of. Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son, the one who he had waited his whole life for. We are asked to give up our sins, distractions, temptations, pride, fear, and anything else that distances us from God. It is hard, but that does not mean it is impossible. The Lord will always help us to accomplish the things He commands us to do. Whatever it is that He asks us to sacrifice, it is what will sanctify us. He knows us infinitely better than we know ourselves and knows what keeps us from the complete joy He has in store for us. It takes faith and humility to be willing to give the Lord what He asks of us. That is something I am always working on. Often I know what it is the Lord asks of me, but I let my pride and fear get in the way of acting. I know that Heavenly Father does not require impossible things of us. Nothing is impossible with His help, and that help is promised to those who do all that He asks.
Quick weekly breakdown ( I will try to be better at doing this weekly)
Mon- zone activity ( ultimate frisbee, soccer), grocery shopping, tracting, stopped by an investigator and talked briefly about the BofM
Tue- tracting with a different Sister while Sis. Warner was in a meeting, some appointments later. Oh! Little miracle from this day. I had written down an apartment number while tracting with the intention of going back and trying again later. When we went back, I could not remember why I had written it down. I knew there had been some reason I felt like we should come back, but I didn't know what it was. When we knocked, there was actually someone home and he became a new investigator! It was cool to see that little moment of inspiration.
Wed- district meeting, went out to Chapel Hill for a couple lessons, dinner with a CH member, tracting. We found Anita, who said we came at exactly the right time and we were exactly what she needed! She has a baptismal date now and even watched a session of Conference.
Thu- weekly planning, walking all over Durham (pretty sure we walked about 7 miles total). We met a former investigator's sister and taught her about the Atonement. Her sister has struggled with drugs before and had been clean for a few months, but isn't any more. It was wonderful to testify to her that Christ has not only suffered for her sister's addiction, but for her own worry and pain as well. The Atonement does not only cover our mistakes, it covers the pain caused by the mistakes of others.
Fri- we got to invite everyone we saw to watch Conference. Getting to tell people all day about the opportunity to hear a living prophet was incredible.
Sat/Sun- Conference!! Tracting and stop-bys between sessions
Being a missionary is the best, especially at Conference time.