Monday, March 28, 2011

Give Ear

Monday, March 28, 2011
Over this last transfer there are many things that I have learned about things that I want to do with my life, things about life, and things that help me have a better life. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve as a missionary for the Lord, there are so many blessings that I have seen come into my life and the lives of others. I know that it isn't possible to serve for more time but if I could I would make the sacrifice of doing so, even with all the difficult times that are encompassed in this missionary experience. I hope that all of you are looking at life in such a way that the positive is brought forth and when the difficult times come that all of you dig deeper into the basics that we have already applied in our lives: prayer, scripture study, and church attendance. There are so many blessings in store to those who are willing to obey and serve the Lord and I hope someday I will be humble enough to do everything that He asks us to do. Not much has happened this week since my companion is going home. He wanted to spend time with the people that he liked to most and it was a wonderful time getting to know the members more and getting to serve them. We had the wonderful opportunity to help the Kellers with the baptism of their oldest son, Grant. If there was anyone who is more outgoing than anyone it would be him. He prepared and gave a talk at his own baptism and it was very well done. The spirit was strong throughout the baptism and it was amazing to see how, despite being young in life and young in the gospel, the gospel can change lives and mold them for the better. It reminded me of my baptism and how I know that through the priesthood power that has been restored to the earth again, we have the ability to perform a baptism under God's name. I have been thinking a lot about that and thinking how great of a responsibility is to honor the priesthood and to obey the commandments that we may bless the lives of others. Also, it has made me think of how important it is to know that the priesthood power is true. This reminded me of a story that I read in the New Testament, as I am reading the entire thing before my mission ends. The story is of Jesus Christ as he is casting out the unclean spirits from lost souls. At this point in time Jesus wasn't very well liked by the Pharisees because of all the things that he had preached by none the less their amazement at the miracles that they had performed pushed their hatred aside. But on one occurrence this wasn't so. As he cast out the unclean spirit they asked themselves,"Is not this the son of David?" In other words they doubted where this power came from. Then it was the Pharisees time to doubt, said they, "This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils." And this is one lesson of how I know that the priesthood power that is in this Church is true. Jesus taught, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." (Matt. 12:24-30). Yes it is a manner of faith but I know, because I have prayed, that this church is the church of God, and I know that I have received an answer that it is true. Because this faith stands for good, whether people would admit it or not, it cannot be of the devil, for that would go against the very purpose of his being. Just as Jesus stated, I state that the devil cannot be against itself. Over this last transfer I have come to know in greater degree that the things of God are not necessarily understood by us, especially through the scriptures. But I do know that when we pray and seek after the things that are righteous, which seeking to know if the priesthood power is true would be one of them, that God will tell us if it is true or not. I know, not just believe, that He is a Being of mercy, of grace, and of knowledge far beyond our own, which would make Him by default the irrefutable Master that guides us all. It is a great leap of faith to gather ones things and go on a limb after something that you cannot explain how you know is true but you know without a shadow of a doubt it is true, but I know that with that faith can bring mighty miracles into the lives as many. That is why there is no greater calling than that of serving as a missionary for the Lord. Seeing people's lives cahnge for the greater, or in better terms, for good; brings no greater joy and I'm so thankful to partake of this Heavenly gift. I have only glimpsed to happiness that I know our Heavenly Father feels for His children when they come unto Him and obey His commandments. As missionaries we stand as witnesses that truth is the daughter of time, just as Gamaliel, a Pharisee said unto the council, "Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." (Acts 5:34-39). As far as people who we are teaching, they are doing well. Ruth is still reading her scriptures and her kids are still energetic as always. Got to play with some bouncy balls with them haha. She has such a great spirit and I know that one day she will come back to church. Hopefully in my time as a missionary. There is also some great news with Annemarie Brown. We went to go visit her and it was an amazing lesson. When we knocked on the door the coolest thing happend, she said, "I have been thinking about you." Right before we got there she was going through all the hymns that she knew for about 2 hours and was thinking about how important the gospel has been in her life. She said that she hadn't read much of the Book of Mormon but was doing a lot with the hymns. It was so awesome to see her light up when she was talking about the hymns and all the things that she remembered. But it doesn't end there. Right before the prayer we invited her to church and she said that she would try her best to this Sunday (didn't make it this Sunday) to make it but she didn't know if it would work with her schedule. The miracle was that she was seriously considering coming. She promised us that next month, seeing that General Conference is next weekend, she would rearrange her schedule so she could come to church. It was great to see the power of the gospel in action. From not wanting to go to now wanting to go. It's awesome! Chino is doing alright. Hasn't been reading but I think after the lesson we had on Sunday with him, he will hopefully read. Sort of had to crack the whip but it is good for him since he doesn't do anything. Brother Beck was out of town this week and so we didn't get the chance to meet with him. We should be meeting up with him on Tuesday. Well I hope that all of you are doing well and are enjoying what you are doing as much as I am. Miss and love you all. Elder Leavell

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