Monday, December 7, 2009

Short Week

Monday, December 7, 2009
HELLLO FAMILY & FRIENDS! How have all of you been? How's the weather treating you? It's raining pretty hard here right now but other than that nothing too much has gone down. Since my last pday was on wednesday this has been a short week but A LOT of things have happened that I don't think I mentioned last time.

So wednesday and saturday we got to go to the temple and it was amazing! I think it was a little more special than normal because we have been trying to read the scriptures everyday in effort to try and finish our President's goal of reading the New Testament and Book of Mormon by New Years. Also, I have been reading some of the conference talks from this past general conference and hearing the sacrifices that many have made gave me more motivation to treasure the temple and the blessings we receive from it.The first time, on wednesday, I went with my zone and we had a really good time coming together as a zone and enter the House of the Lord. The second time we went with the Branch, and as normal it was all in ASL. But either way both times were amazing and I learned so much from both times I went.

But the best part of the week was our baptism that we had this last sunday! Her name is Ailinne and she is 9 years old and a daughter from an active member of the Branch. It was amazing! We had a couple of our investigators and recent converts come to the baptism and the spirit was so strong. It reminded me when I got baptized and how I felt the spirit after I was made clean in the eyes of the Lord. Even though it was a children's baptism, it reminded me of the times when the Savior blessed all the children that were there and encouraged us to become as a child. I know that the Lord is mindful of everyone but I also know that he is more mindful of His little children because of His actions when He was here on the earth, and to me that is something special.

For my spiritual thought I thought I would speak on something that I have learned in my reading. Recently I got to one of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon and it's Alma 26:11-12, it says: "11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. 12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." But something I hadn't remembered that came after Ammon's words was these scriptures that followed, in verses 34-37 it says: "34 For behold, they would take up arms against their brethren; they would not suffer themselves to be slain. But behold how many of these have laid down their lives; and we know that they have gone to their God, because of their love and of their hatred to sin. 35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name. 36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land. 37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen." As missionaries we are asked to bear witness of all the things we know to be true. And this is a perfect example. Yes, we go through hard times and yes, we might be struggling just to get by, but I know that we are being watched and I know it saddens the Lord when He sees us suffer because we won't rely on Him. I know that if we obtain that joy, the joy that Ammon had, we can obtain the fulness of joy and I know that it comes with relying on the Lord. I know this Church is true, I know that everything that we believe in is true, yes I might not understand it all, but who understands everything? So I challenge you to find that joy that Ammon had, to we may find that happiness and joy in the Lord, especially as Christmas is right around the corner. May we rejoice in our Savior's life and His glory.
Know that I love you all and that I miss you dearly. Know that I pray for you always and I only wish the best for all of you. I hope that I hear from all of you soon! Take care!
Elder Leavell


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