Monday, February 22, 2016

This past week's focus has primarily been finding a new person to teach. We are still doing recent convert lessons and less active lessons consistently, but we no longer have an investigator (because our last investigator got baptized). So, our studies and efforts have been geared toward opening our mouths, talking to everyone, and improving the quality of our street approaches and teaching skills. As we've done so, I've learned a lot about humility, repentance, and prayer. I'm in the last chapters of Alma right now, and they also fit right in with this topic. 

First of all, I was focused on building the Christlike attribute of humility. I prayed each morning and throughout the day for opportunities to be humbled, then reported back in the evening about how I acted on these opportunities. The difference has been incredible. Primarily, I was struck by how ready I became to repent at the first recognition that I could be doing something better, like opening my mouth to more people or using language study time more effectively. I realized that the depth of our humility determines how quickly we can change into the person the Lord wants us to be, largely because our humility allows us to see that the Lord's will is so much better than our own. Humility prompts us to act with greater faith, hope, and diligence in prayer and action to change. 

The people of Nephi throughout the long war with the Lamanites demonstrate with profound clarity and repetition the necessity of humility. Moroni and those desiring to follow Christ work with diligence to protect their homes and families. Try to liken this to yourself. Imagine a hostile and frightening nation, led by wicked and hateful men like Amalickiah and Ammaron, has invaded and taken over much of your country and killed many people. In this case, a people who might have been strong against them is weakened by those who are prideful and want power and strength for themselves. They succumb to the whims of the natural man as they are blown about by the "flatterings" of a few wicked men on several different occasions. But, is what the king-men and dissenters are seeking actually power or strength? Elder Bednar describes the natural man in the MTC as being like the cookie monster - "I want cookie! Give me cookie now!" They are so easily hooked by the shiny lures of Satan. Ultimately, their actions and grab for control did not lead to prosperity, power, or strength. They lead to weakness in a nation that caused much sorrow and destruction. Nor did these actions lead to greater personal and spiritual strength, control, or greatness, but to gaping spiritual weakness. 

So, we see that our natural impulses, desires, and wisdom amount to virtually nothing. Humility, though it can mistakenly been seen as weakness, leads to a great desire to submit our will to God through following His Son by repenting. Thanks to the Atonement, repentance is the greatest source of strength we can possibly imagine or obtain. It involves forsaking our will to the Lord's through pouring our souls unto Him in prayer. He responds by granting to us the strength to change and forsake the natural man. He blesses us with joy. Prompted by our humility and through Christ and the process of repentance, we obtain truly great stature and strength. A foundation of Christ allows us to weather whatever storms or trials Satan sends our way (Helaman 5:12).  Elder Oaks taught that our purpose in this life is to obtain the spiritual stature to return to live with Heavenly Father. Christ showed and provided the way for us - we need only have the faith to forsake our pride and follow Him. 

Thanks for your messages, love, and prayers! Have a great week!
War Museum

Temple P-Day with Elder Huckvale
Elder Huckvale looking down the barrel of a very large gun.

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