Sept 9, 2013
By grace we are saved, and nothing we do will change that (Eph. 2:8-10). It is only through the merits and mercy of Jesus Christ that we have a hope of living with our God and our families once again. He has paid the price for us, an un-payable debt that we incur as we desecrate the commandments God has given us, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. I know for myself that Christ did this out of love, and a knowledge that we cannot be saved unless someone intervenes for us. I will forever love the Savior for that. The Lord Jesus Christ has asked us to keep the commandments to the best of our ability. He knows that keeping the commandments allows grace to change us. Through grace we are saved, and changed. We will want to keep the commandments; we will want to live as Christ lived. This change is necessary. If we believe we can live life without consequence, we are fooling ourselves. As Mormon bluntly states in Mormon 9:3-4, we will not want to live in the presence of a just and holy God if we have not had this change. We are not "earning" our way to heaven by keeping the commandments, we are learning Heaven. We are learning how Heaven runs, and upon what principles the priesthood governs. This process of change all starts with Faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end; the Gospel of Christ. This is what missionaries bring to the world.
At times, people will not accept this Gospel. It is and will always be their choice. Poli (first picture) had a wonderful dinner with us and expressed his concerns about not being baptized this weekend, telling us that he wants his wife to support him before he is baptized. He came to church after this lesson and continues to learn, yet this fear of his wife is something he can't seem to overcome. Christ tells us in Matthew 10:34-37 that he who is not willing to give up father or mother for His sake is not worthy of Him. I know Poli will make the right choice.
The other four pictures are of a surprise supper we ran into with our investigator David. David is from Mexico, and is living with his brother Daniel Rodriguez who is a member in the branch. David is still overcoming the world, but what a great guy. He's only 21 years old, though he looks 30+. We were given Camarones en aguachile (literally meaning Shrimp in water with chile). Elder Olsen (Visa waiter in our trio waiting to go to Argentina) couldn't handle a single bite. Elder Julian and I foolishly ate the whole bowl which led to them giving us another bowl. David is so caught up in the world, but he recognizes that God can help us overcome out challenges. He is looking at a goal of baptism on the 29th. We'll see how it goes!
Elias and Carmen Rascón, a beautiful family we're teaching, chose not to come to church this week. We're still hoping to head down to temple square with the family. They have all the support anyone could ever need! They'll make great members.
The Zone is increasing in enthusiasm, though we added a new key indicator (numbers that measure our work as missionaries for the week) of "Reactivation." Reactivation applies to less-active families to come to church 3/4 times in a month. This is supposed to help elders and sisters teach less-actives less, and move on if they're not going to progress. There has always been the problem of elders and sisters spending too much time with less-active families and wasting time teaching the same families that do not change for months and months. We are commanded to drop the seeds, pick up the sickle and baptize. I hope we can continue to focus on baptism. I hope grace changes them to want to baptize. There is no way to apply the saving grace of Christ without Baptism.
Love you all!