Week 90 – The Heat is Here…for Reals Now

The Elders in my district
 June 6, 2016

Well when I said that the heat was here last week...it REALLY got here this week...it was HOT this past week, like high 90s and even 100s on Saturday. The heat is a good conversation starter however – we can all agree on how much we don't like it.

Exchanges with Elder Handley
But aside from the heat, things are doing well!  This past week we had lots of appointments fall through – which is never fun, but that’s what missionary work is all about! We had a few great lessons this week with the Luciano family, and it looks like we are going to be planning a wedding!! I never thought that I would plan a wedding on my mission, but here goes nothing! We found out a few weeks ago that the Lucianos weren't married, even though they have been together for 7+ years.  We had a great lesson on Friday night with the family, and we took a super solid member with us. We put our bold pants on – haha! and told them that they need to get married, and that they are living in sin when they aren't married. We focused the lesson on the atonement of Jesus Christ and how much he loves us, and that is why he gives us commandments such as the law of chastity. It was really a great lesson, and it was cool to see the spirit work on them. They committed to get married, and so now we are going to move forward with those plans. They were pretty excited when they found out that the branch can basically do the wedding for them, so now we just need to sit down with them and the Branch President and choose a date and time and everything. So the Luciano family is progressing, slowly but surely.

One of the young men in the branch.
His hair is the coolest thing ever...
this is what I wanted back in the day!
Francisco is doing well, also. He made it to church again yesterday, and enjoyed it like usual. This week we taught him about temples and he was ecstatic about it! He literally started clapping his hands when we taught him about eternal marriage. I've really been looking forward to teaching him about temples because I knew that he likes church and everything, but he also loves his fiancée a lot, and so what better way to put the two together than a temple marriage!  He said that his fiancée had mentioned temples to him before, but he didn't know what they were so he just ignored it. (It is actually really funny because his fiancée doesn't speak much Spanish at all, and he doesn't speak much English, so we don't know how they communicate…but they love each other and I guess that's all that matters!)  Francisco is ready to be baptized; he is just waiting for Emily to come back from her trip to Fiji. She is on business over there and was supposed to be back by now, but the project is taking twice as long and she has also been sick, so she hasn't been able to work. So it might be a few more weeks before Francisco is able to get baptized. 

A BEAUTIFUL ski boat we found...
we went up and knocked on the guy's door
and although he likes his boat,
he didn't like the gospel - haha!
Our lesson in Elders Quorum yesterday was about conversion and what true conversion really means. It was a great discussion and I am grateful for the things that were discussed. A story was shared about how a man went to church every week and was "active" in the church, but still wasn't converted. This conversation led me to ponder this topic, and I think that the difference is in the heart. Every one of us can go through the motions and attend church each week, but until we let it get into hearts, we will never change.

I love the scripture in Mosiah 5:2, "And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually."

The people of King Benjamin were converted because the Spirit of God touched and changed their hearts. So how can we get that change in our hearts??  I honestly don't know the quick and easy answer, and I think that the answer is different for every person. For me I think it is a process that includes a few different things:

1) Steady Scripture Study. There is absolutely no substitute for daily nourishment from the scriptures. I LOVE reading the scriptures. I love talking about them and digging into them and having discussions about what we can learn. I know what it means in Alma 32 when it says "and it begins to be delicious." The scriptures are delicious to me now. I haven't always had a desire to study the scriptures, before my mission and even at the beginning I didn't enjoy reading them, I did it because I knew it could only help.

2) Sincere personal prayer. I think that out of all the prayers I’ve ever said in my life, 90% were just cuz thats what we do before we eat, start class, or go to bed. But if we really take time to think about what we need Heavenly Father's help with, and then ask for that in prayer, it is 100x more powerful. We can even ask for a stronger desire, or a stronger conversion in our heart, and he can bless us with those things.

3) A humble realization in your heart of the good things that the gospel brings. I have never been so grateful in my life for the gospel until this point in my life. Looking back, I can't imagine where I’d be without it, and I can't even imagine losing it. When we all think of the mountain of blessings that the gospel gives us, this strengthens our testimonies. Like can you imagine living life without the Word of Wisdom? I can't! If we have a hard time thinking of the blessings, then we need to go back to step 2 and pray and ask to recognize the blessings more. When we come to realize that truly every good thing comes from God, then our humility and gratitude in our hearts increase.

I know that this church is true, and that the things it teaches are true. I know that Jesus Christ stands at the head of it.

Have a great week! I love you guys!


Elder Todd

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