Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, November 29, 2010
I think I will have to say that this Thanksgiving was one of much thanksgiving. It was great to be with one of the families in our branch for Thanksgiving and the best part was that we had the opportunity to eat with all the other missionaries in the branch. The interesting thing was that transfers happened the day before Thanksgiving but from what I just said I kind of gave it away. Oh well. I'm still in the ASL program with Elder Tritsch. There is a difference though and that is that we now have 3 areas in the program and they brought Elder Cordy back for the rest of his mission, I would suppose.

Anywho...the week went by really slow. We didn't really make much progress with anyone, except for Walter and Cathalina who are still kicking, which is a good thing. They are still doing great, continuing to read the Book of Mormon, as well as the Bible. But I think that this week I think it finally sank in that they were breaking a commandment. I had asked them to read Alma 5, which talks about how "heaven is at hand" and all that jazz. They didn't read it. So, unfortunately, I had to give a strong lesson about how urgent the message we have for the world to share. I shared a story from the Old Testament, specifically the book of Numbers 13 and 14, and of course it had to be about the Jews. Well to make the story short, at this point the Jews had seen countless miracles, the Red Sea being split, the plagues, the magical bread that appeared, the rock spouting water, and had heard the voice of the Lord numerous times. One would only think that by this time they would finally get the picture that whatever Moses had told them was from the Lord himself. Sadly, they hadn't. Because of the position that Moses held, being a prophet, many filled with pride decided along the way to continuous create a ruckus to make the work of Moses even more difficult. In Numbers 13, the journey in the wilderness could have been over, if and only, they would have trusted the words that Moses spoke to them that were from the Lord. The Lord had revealed to him that the land of Canaan would be theirs and that it would bear much fruit, in fact, 12 men from the 12 different tribes would be the first to attest to that being they were commanded to go search the land. What amazes me the most is that they had been given everything, literally everything that they needed, to prosper and were given power from on high to conquer any obstacle to was set before them. The Lord tested them in this certain aspect, seeing that the land of Canaan was ruled by the Canaanites, who had developed a great city at this point in time. Instead of rallying up the troops, they whimpered, complained, and even tried to kick out the presiding authority, Moses and Aaron, because they felt it would be better for them to go back to Egypt. That is when Moses and Aaron did one of the most selfless things that they could do, they cried unto their Heavenly Father and offered a prayer, even a mighty prayer, to obtain mercy from the Lord because of their stubbornness and unwillingness to do and accept. The Lord did reveal His mercy unto the people but faced some certain circumstances, of which would leave them in the wilderness for a longer time. In fact, everyone above the age of 20 would not see the land of promise and the Lord swallowed up the 10 of the 12 of the search party for claiming that the Canaanites were great and mighty, instead of telling the truth. I'm so thankful for the scriptures and the many lessons it contains. I'm so thankful that the Lord finds mercy on us, His children to partake of the heavenly gift of eternal life, upon our faithfulness. Grace is a wonderful that all the prophets of old and new testify and witness, for they, along with us have experienced it and will continually to feel is bounteous hand. But what I'm most thankful for is that we have a living prophet today, of whom we, as representatives of Jesus Christ, testify of because, just as in times of old, there are prophets here on the earth that guide the way back to our Heavenly Father. It is not relying on his hand that we rely on, for that would be most abominable of all; for flesh is corrupt, but we trust the One on High because He continually guides us the same way in the times of old, for He never changes. Prophets are part of His plan, I know that to be true. They are witnesses of the only Begotten and the Father we beseech continually all day and ever day, even our Father in Heaven. I know that He exhorts us to ask for such knowledge, for it is true, but just as the Jews were unwilling, the unwilling will not ask as well and will not receive such knowledge because they have no contrite spirit or broken heart. Only the meek and the humble received the message of the Savior and that still remains true today. Satan would want us to think that prayer will not help but that is a lie. We are always worthy to communicate with our Heavenly Father. I'm so thankful, especially during this Thanksgiving week for the blessing of knowing, not just believing, that He lives and that He is real. There is no greater power or feeling that can be received when we feel of the atonement of the Only Begotten.

The good thing was that Walter and Cathalina finally read by the next time we visited them and the more amazing part is that when we were discussing Alma 5, Walter was thinking a ton and said "We need to get married and baptized." I know that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and testified to him that these things are real and are of great importance. I know that it wasn't my words but the words of the Lord that brought forth a mighty change of heart. We also had the opportunity to take them to the Visitor's Center to watch the Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration movie and they loved it. I know that when Walter's mom comes into town tomorrow that they will make the necessary decisions to do what is right. I pray that they will. Other than that we don't have anyone that we are working with.

I hope that all of you had a splendid Thanksgiving week and that you counted all your blessings. I love you all and miss you too. I'll try and send some pictures soon.

Elder Leavell


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