Like my title says, why do we ever doubt the Lord's mercy and blessings to us? After a long and hard first few weeks training Elder Anderson, we are finally seeing some of the fruits of our labors. This week we met with Ricky and Erik Garnica on Wednesday night. They were at home and they let us in, and we talked for a while with them and their other brother and their mom. Then we talked to them about reading the Book of Mormon. They said they had read some of it, and they liked what they read. We asked them how they felt when they read it, and both Erik and Ricky both said that they felt like what they were reading is true. We talked to them about baptism, and they said they wanted to be baptized and continue learning what we have to teach. It was amazing! We talked about them being baptized on the 25th of this month, and then they said they wanted to see how a baptism works first, so we set a date of March 3rd for them to be baptized! Erik said the closing prayer and in his prayer he said: "Heavenly Father, will you please give me and Ricky an answer if the Book of Mormon is true? I really think it is true, and I'm hoping you give me an answer that it is..." It was so incredible!
Then, this week, we also met with Amy Robinson!!! For the first time since January 3rd! We brought the Laws (young couple ward missionaries) with us, and they hit it off super well. We taught about baptism with her and asked what she thought about it. She wants to be baptized really badly. She said this is what she wants for herself, and she really wants this for her kids as well. We talked about the requirements for baptism, and she said that she thinks she'll be ready by March 10th to be baptized! She already knows it's true, and she is so ready to be baptized. To top it off, she has been saying for a month that she wanted to come to church, but this Sunday, she actually did! It was awesome.
Also, we met with Rita twice this week because she was sick last Sunday when we were set to meet with her. The first time we met with her this week, we taught about the plan of salvation, and we talked about baptism with her. She said she would work toward being baptized on the 24th of March! But it was still a tentative thing, and she didn't really commit. When she would talk about her involvement in the church and things, she would say that she was looking into our church, and seeing what we were all about. Then, we taught her yesterday, and I asked her, "Rita, where do you think this path is taking you? Where do you see yourself after having met with us and learned from us?" Then she said to us, "I want to become involved in your church, I want to be part of it." Elder Anderson then asked, "Do you have any concerns about what we've been teaching, or our church?" And she said no. We asked her why she was hesitant toward coming to church, and she told us she feels like if she comes to church, she's going to have to keep coming to church, and she's a little afraid about such commitment. Then we testified of God's aid for us when we do what He commands, and I think she will progress and come to church this week. She is very golden, and I love being able to teach someone who just soaks everything in that we teach. It's amazing.
My motivation has changed since I've been on my mission. I came out to fulfill and obey what God had asked me to do, and to change myself. Now, I am here to help others feel the joy and peace that come through our Savior Jesus Christ. Our motivation should be centered on the atonement, and bringing others the happiness that comes from its merits, grace, and mercy. I think as missionaries, having the moral authority that has come to us as we have repented and felt the cleansing power of the atonement, we should be able to claim our motivation as the atonement. Like Alma says in Alma 36, I want to be able to say: "I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste". That's what it's all about. Yet, no matter how much I study the doctrine of the atonement, repentance, and the love Jesus Christ had for me, I still make mistakes. I still mess up sometimes, and I still have a hard time forgiving myself. It is a constant battle to be doing the right thing, but how could it ever be anything else? As humans and children of God we are constantly moving--either toward God or away from Him. I think where a lot of people have a skewed opinion is when they think they are at a standstill. If we aren't constantly doing things to remember our covenants and keep them, and continue to repent and become better, we aren't at a standstill, we are moving further and further away from God. Never let that happen. It's a simple formula, but it is never easy. It was never intended to be. To be with God and pass the ultimate test of mortality, we can't play hooky and shy away from the times that our courage, valiance, and comfort are put to the test. C.S. Lewis said, "God cannot give us a happiness apart from Him; it doesn't exist." Own up to the trying toils of the test of life. I testify that Christ will be there to lean on as we stumble and trip through the mortal path to immortality. Complacence is the beginning of the downward spiral; we have to DO something. If we use our faith in Him to lead us to act, we cannot fail. I love Him with all of my heart. He is my Savior, my Light, my Prince of Peace.
Elder Logan Bryan