I chose not to make an audio update because I wanted to write it and collect my thoughts into something a little more focused. This also happens to be excerpts from my weekly letter to President Beesley.
This week was fun. I really enjoyed the zone conference and the emphasis on prayer and repentance. Even though we didn’t have much time in our area, we were still able to get a fair amount done. We still have plenty to do and many people to see, but we’re getting there. I’m happy that our biggest problem is fitting all the work that we have to do into the amount of time that we have. I’m glad the members really trust us. We are asking referrals from everyone and everyone is giving them. The elders quorum president made a comment after I thanked him for all his help and the good he does, he said, “I wouldn’t be giving [this help] if I didn’t trust you.” It was comforting to know. We have the wonderful opportunity to speak in church this coming Sunday on how we gained our testimonies and how the members can work with and help us.
I’ve had a really good time studying this past week. I was preparing for my talk and also reflecting on the zone conference. My head has been spinning =). I thought about my testimony and how it is growing and how I came to where I am at. It was not so much that I developed a testimony, but developing a testimony. I believe that those big, strengthening, profound spiritual experiences are not the basis of our testimonies, but that they are like windows that allow us to reflect and look inside to see that mighty change of heart that has been working in us all along. As members of the church we have the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost which sanctifies us and purifies us as we keep the commandments. I realize that gaining a testimony is done by following the gospel pattern; faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Two of my favorite scriptures come to mind, Ether 12:27 and Moroni 8:25-26. The way I’ve gained my testimony, and continue to gain it, is by consistent obedience and striving to continually do better and improve. The savior gained his testimony step by step from grace to grace until it was perfect. I know the same applies to us. The second we feel comfortable in our testimony and stop striving better ourselves, we begin to lose what we have. That’s why Mosiah warns us to watch our thoughts, words, and deeds. Coming back to those scriptures and the gospel pattern, we learn in Ether 12:27 that “as we come unto [him] he shows [us our] weaknesses” and gives them so that we may be humble. So in gaining a testimony I continue to realize my weaknesses and inadequacies. In Moroni 8:25-26 we learn that the first fruits of repentance is baptism which comes by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments. So, like the CTR shield of faith, we express faith by repenting, or turning our heart and will to God (change), or like it says fulfilling the commandments. So faith, repentance, and baptism. It then says that fulfilling the commandments brings a remission of sins which brings meekness and lowliness of heart, or humility (Ether 12:27). So now that I’m on the right path the Lord is showing me the things I need to change so that I can be humble. “and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love,” As I choose to follow the gospel pattern, I become more like the savior and know how to be more like the savior. And that “love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.”
I love that in zone conference the points that seemed to stand out to me were the importance of prayer and repentance. I’m thankful to have felt the spirit and been able to ponder the message we received. It’s helped me to understand more the things that I have.
I know that as long as I turn to my Heavenly Father for guidance and direction, He always lets me know what I need to do and gives me the strength to do it. And the truth is, I am weak, but with the Lord’s help my weaknesses become strengths. All I need to do is choose to follow the gospel pattern and He will take care of me. I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had to go to the temple. There isn’t a place on earth I love more. I was more emotional this time at the temple than I ever have been before. The spirit strengthened my resolve to keep and love for the covenants I have been privileged to make which bind me closer to my Father in Heaven. I know that families can also be together forever. I pray that the Lord will help me have that same love that He’s given me, for Him and His gospel, for His other children.
Love, Elder Record