Friday, July 13, 2012

Here We Go 5/28/12

My Dear Family,

Once again, I find myself at the computer station.  It's getting stranger and stranger the seeming absence of time between Mondays.  Today being the 28 of May, I have now been on my mission for 8 months.  I have no idea how that happened.  I don't know how the time has passed to rapidly.  Something that I found a little strange this week was that I started feeling homesick for my last area.  Weird, right?  I was there for four and a half months and it made quite an impression on me.  It's also really weird to think that I already have been here in Tortuguitas for two full weeks.  I used to think that time dragged on and on.  Now I am watching almost helplessly as the time keeps slipping from my grasp.

We had a rougher week this last week.  Of the investigators that we have, we have been unable to make appointments with most of them.  In the absence of having appointments, generally due to their work schedule or other excuses, their interest in our message has waned to the point where they don't really want to see us much.  So we'll have to stop going by some of them.  This is something very sad for us.  When these people, children of God, don't give heed to our message, they lose that opportunity to make the changes that will bring them the most lasting happiness and peace that they can ever find in their lives, and they don't even realize it!  It's heart breaking to see someone who doesn't want to take part in the beauty of the Gospel, especially when we understand that those who don't accept cannot return to live with our Father in Heaven.  Amulek teaches this very clearly to us in Alma 10 (pretty sure, I read it this morning).  While contending against the lyings of Zeezrom, he is accused of commanding God in saying that the Son of God will not save the people in their sins.  But that's just the thing.  Jesus Christ didn't come to save us in our sins, rather from our sins.  It is explained further that the only way this is possible is by repenting of our sins.  In Moroni, we learn that the first fruits of repentance is baptism.  So, the only way to be saved and have eternal life (living forever in the presence of our Father and Elder Brother) is to repent and be baptized unto a remission of our sins.  It's also so hard to impress that upon the minds of those we teach.  There are not very many who understand this doctrine, which is the only doctrine of the Father (3 Nephi 11).  What we have been trying to do is help them to see this.  But once again, when we can't even make a time to really talk with them, the interest fades and disappears and they choose not to participate in the joy that is the Gospel of Christ.

I never understood this before my mission.  If there is anything I would change about myself if I could do it over again (the preparation, that is) it would be to try to understand this Doctrine.  Grandpa Dewsnup tried to explain it to me several years ago.  I don't remember what year it was, but he pulled me aside one day and read with me that section of 3 Nephi 11 where Christ Himself explains this doctrine to the people.  I don't remember if it was later that day or later that week that we were in the Conference Center for the afternoon session.  He explained the exact same thing to me again, while we sat side by side before the session began.  It is something that I remember now, and I wish I had paid more attention to it before.  I also wish I'd actually studied the Book of Mormon.  I read it, and I knew/know where many stories were found, but I didn't cross reference, ponder, or apply the doctrines I learned anywhere near the level I should have.

Sorry, I didn't mean to get that far off and ramble like that.  But it has been somewhat frustrating to see the lack of any progress in the people we have been trying to teach.  On the other hand, we have found a few other people who are at least willing to listen to us now, and that have had singular experiences already with the Book of Mormon.  With three different people, I gave them the promise that if they opened the Book of Mormon and read a little passage, the very thing they read would have a special importance to them.  The next time we saw or talked to those people, they recounted to me that that promise had come true. The scripture was the same in each case.  It was the scripture in 1 Nephi, I think chapter 21, that mentions that the Lord will not forget His people, because we are engraven upon the palms of His hands.  I want to say the reference is 1 Nephi 21:17, but I know it is when Nephi is quoting the words of Isaiah.  It touched the hearts of each person, and they have each since that experience read from the Book of Mormon every single day.

It is amazing the promises that we can make as servants of God.  As representatives of Jesus Christ, we truly have the power to make promises like that and have them fulfilled, as long as they are in accordance with the desires of the Spirit.  In that sense, I have felt to make a promise to you, my dear family.  As you study from the scriptures every single day, personally, and as your family units, the temptations and frustrations that face you will be lessened and in the moment that you least expect, you will be able to feel the Spirit of the Lord lifting and comforting you.  It is something that I have felt myself.

I love you all.  I pray for you.  I think of you.  That the Holy Ghost may be with you in all you do is my prayer, my hope, and my faith.

With all the love I can express, as your brother and son,
Elder Matthew Dewsnup 

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