Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This Season 12/8/12

Hola Familia,

So, I just got the two packages yesterday and have been sharing the goodies with the other office folk.  Mom, they love your carmels.  I'll admit I stared for a few seconds at the cheater tie before I actually lifted it out of the box, but I am wearing it right now.  It's actually a pretty good color and pattern.  I like it.  The purple one too.  I really have to ration all of the goodies though, I've already gained weight being here in the offices and I don't want to keep going on with that trend.  So, I'll be rationing what I have... though perhaps not as well as I should.  Make sure there is still a jar of peanut butter and half of the candy left when we make the Christmas call.

P.S.  For said Christmas call, chances are very high (almost guaranteed) that I'll be here in the offices for that call.

Moving on.  It's transfer week.  For us that means all heck trying to get last minute transfer things done before actually getting the information of who's going where, then reorganizing all of our spreadsheets and charts to accomodate the changes.  That and I have at least seven new houses to find, certain problems in some areas that need to be taken care of, closing one house because of electricity problems that haven't been taken care of for months, and the list continues.  It's been a relatively stressful week.  And there are more to come.  Well, that's life I guess.  I've been noticing, with the sometimes unwelcome help of companions, that I don't handle certain stresses very well.  I get very quiet until I have sudden bursts, then I freak out.  I really hope that parenthood isn't just like what I'm experiencing.  If it is... I've still got a lot to learn before I can start.  Good thing that is an adventure that is still quite a ways off in the distance for me.

I've also noticed that I get distracted between the many projects that I have and have problms actually finishing them.  I get focused on one, then something happens that gets me pulled onto another one, and then two days later I find that sheet and go "aw dang, I needed to get that done sooner" then get distracted again.  Mom and Dad, I applaud you for having learned so much to deal with all of us and I'm sorry for all of the trouble and stress that I have caused.  I don't even have to worry about little ones yet.  I just get the grown ups, if not yelling at me, talking very excitedly about their property or worries or this or that, half of which I have absolutely no control over.

Breathe in, Breathe out. ... ... ... Breathe in, Breathe out.  ... ... ...

And now I feel bad that I have just vented and ranted at you all for the last few minutes.  Isn't it just great, the things you learn? ...

And now, My thoughts just took a really big turn...  I should be a lot less worried and a lot more gratefull.  many people don't even have the privilege of worrying about things as trivial as this.  They have bigger issues on their plates.  And I have something that many of them don't, namely the Gospel.  Sometimes I feel like I understand, and then something happens that makes me realize I don't know almost anything.  It's also really hard to really apply the things that one is learning.  My brain doesn't like to think of very many things all at the same time.

This week, I've been very grateful to my companion, for as much as he drives me crazy sometimes, I have really been learning a lot from him and understanding more about my purpose and the Doctrine of Christ.
It is so simple, and yet I tend to overcomplicate almost everything and am a lot more impulsive than I had originally thought.

Anyhow, so the doctrine of Christ comprises of one main thing.  That is found in Moses 1:39 "...this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the inmortality and eternal life of man."  (my apologies if it's not exactly quoted.)  With that as the main doctrine of all things, we understand that He wants us to return to Him, to live in His presence, which is where the ultimate happiness can be found in the enjoyment of eternal life.  Through the atonement, all of us will enjoy inmortality, but only a few will have the privilege of eternal life.  That and we know from 2 Nephi that "men are that they might have joy."  How? by following the Gospel.

It's interesting that the Gospel, or good news, shows us exactly how we can obtain that which God wants for us.  Through the first principles and ordinances--those being Faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring faithfully to the end--we can obtain that happiness and joy.  Also by following that, we know that we can eventually obtain eternal life, "which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God."

(The following scriptures will be roughly translated from Spanish, because I don't have my english scriptures with me.)

Elder Chase came back up north from the southern most state of Argentinea since he will be returning home on Monday and he shared with us some of the things that he has recently learned and studied about the remission of sins that I want to share with all of you.  He started us out in Moroni 8:25-26.  

        "And the firstfruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism comes by faith unto the fulfilment of the commandments; and the fullfilling of the commandments brings the remission of sins; and the remission of sins brings meekness and humility of heart; and by meekness and humility of heart comes the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter fills with hope and perfect love, a love that endureth through diligence in prayer, until the end cometh, when the saints will dwell with God."

So when we are repentant we will be baptized making a covenant with God to take upon ourselves the name of Christ, always remember him, and keep his commandments (sound familiar?). Then he took us to Mosiah 4:11 which says:

         "And again I say unto you, as I said before, that as ye have come to a knowledge of the glory of God, o if you have known of his goodness, and felt his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causes such great joy in your souls, so I would that ye remember  and always retain in memory the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his kindness and long suffering unto you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of himility, calling daily upon the Lord, and remaining steadfast in the faith of that which is to come, which was announced by the mouth of the angel.  And behold, I say that if ye do this, ye shall always rejoice, and ye shall be filled with the love of God and will always retain a remission of your sins; and ye will increase in the knowledge of the glory of him who created you, or in other words, en the knowledge of that which is just and true.

So once we have been baptized and have received a remission of our sins, all we really have to do to retain that remission of sins is to remember; that is, remember the glory of God and His goodness.  If we do this we will always rejoice, be filled with the love of God, and retain a remission of sins.

Then we went to Doctrine and Covenants 76:52.  Speaking of the resurrection of the just and those who are baptized--

         "that, keeping the commantmets, they would be washed and cleansed of all their sins, and would receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands..."

My own little side note here includes 2 Nephi 32 17, where it says that "the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost."  So in order to obtain a remission of sins, we must repent and be baptized, following which we are then sanctified by the Holy Ghost and receive a remission of sins.  Then we continued on through to the sacrament prayers found in Moroni chapters 4 and 5, where we read that we will take upon ourselves the name of Christ and always remember Him, and keep His commandments which He has given us, that we may always have His Spirit to be with us.

So, how is it that we obtain and then retain a remission of our sins?  By following the Gospel and keeping the commandments.

Something interesting about this is that if we then continue our reading in Mosiah 4, once we have retained a remission of our sins, we will no longer have desires to sin, but we will live peacufully.  It is a natural consequence of this that we will not permit our children (or investigators, or friends, or you name it) to go hungry, or naked, or contend one with another, but we will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness.  I had always read that statement as if it were a commandment, but think about it in this light.  Once we have personally obtained a remission of sins, it is a natural consequence to share it and to not let others sin, but help them to obtain the same.  That is what can come when we understand true doctrine.

I remember from back when Uncle Ralph and Aunt Mary came back from their mission in Puerto Rico that he shared something very similar in his homecoming talk.  I still have parts of my notes from that talk too, and the main thing that still sticks out to me is that he used the same quote that I have heard many times here.  True doctrine, understood, changes lives.  A study of the doctrine with change behavior better than a study on behavior will change behavior. (A quote which happens to come from President Packer.)

My mind gets blown so very often with understanding, and then I forget quickly what I have learned and have to wait until I once again am ready and listening for such understanding.  I also happened to open Dad's book As He Is this morning and he talks in one part about how sometimes we don't receive revelation because God is waiting for us to truly be listening and attentive, rather than running off at the mouth while He speaks to us or running out to head somewhere when He is trying to share important information with us.  If we are truly willing and waiting for revelation, we will receive it, but oftentimes we don't know if we are ready to receive it.  God knows when we need to receive it, and that is when He will give it, if we are ready and willing to listen.  I think that was in chapter 4.

So, among all of the stresses that I have been feeling, I have felt moments of truth and love that have made it all worth it.  The Church is true and everything just seems to work out.  I love you all and tell you that even though I have been having a rough time, I know that things will work out.  I may need to be reminded of it often, but it always does.  I always mention you in my prayers and wish you well.  Just a couple more weeks and I'll be seeing you.


Elder Dewsnup

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