Monday, July 14, 2014

The Miracle of Forgiveness

Greeting loved ones!

Another  week has gone by in the cute little quaint town of Delaware and guess what?! We have a new mission president. It definitely was sad to say goodbye to President and Sister Nilsen. They truly did so much for their missionaries and when you were with them, there was no question how much they loved you. Our new missionary president is great! We have only seen President Daines once, but we have interviews coming up in two weeks so I look forward to getting to know them better. President and Sister Daines are hilarious and so loving. They are from Texas and have two kids who will be living with them in the mission home. It was fun to hear the kids speak about their excitement in coming here to Ohio not only to live, but to do their part to share the gospel with those around them.

 This last week we actually had a really neat experience. We met a man named Kyle a few weeks ago who really was an answer to prayers. His excitement about Jesus Christ and his faith in Him rejuvenated me. We had a great time talking on his door step and watching the spirit come in and take over. It is pretty amazing how even amidst the chaos as cars were driving by and we were standing outside, how powerful the spirit can still be felt. We invited him to our church building for a chapel tour and guess what, he showed up! On time and everything! We began walking around the church and pointing out various pictures of Christ and explaining what they meant, when we neared the picture of Joseph Smith, I gave a background of Joseph Smith and began to recite the first vision. Tears came to my eyes and I felt much like the missionary in the best two years when he recites the first vision. Never before had I felt such power behind those words. After I testified of the truthfulness of the prophet Joseph Smith and expressed to Kyle that I know Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw, we just stared at the picture for a few minutes. I know Kyle felt the spirit. He had a reverence come over him that we had not seen in him before, and he said to us, "this is one of the most powerful pictures I have ever seen."  It was one of my favorite moments of my mission so far, and it was so simple yet so powerful.

We had an amazing lesson in church yesterday. We talked about becoming purified through Jesus Christ. I love the atonement and I am forever grateful for it.  I remember a couple years back when I had just gotten my drivers license, I made a mistake and got a nice dent on the back bumper. I was terrified. I cried thinking about how I would tell my dad. I was scared to approach him, but I knew I had to do it. It wasn't something I could hide, and I knew it would be dishonest to try to hide it.  I finally gained the courage to tell my dad, and I couldn't help but let tears fall out as I expressed how sorry I was for what I had done.  And this is the part that shocked me most of all. Instead of yelling at me and making the situation worse, my dad had compassion on me. He already knew how hard I had been on myself. He responded to the situation much like our Savior would respond to the situation. He was calm, he loving, he expressed how much he still loved me despite what I had done. The Savior is very much the same. No matter what we do, His love will never change for us. We do not need to be scared to approach Him. He will lend us his forgiveness and He will forgive us of our weaknesses. 

In church yesterday one of the teachers made reference to one of my favorite books, "The Hiding Place." I want to just share with you the part she shared with us in regards to forgiveness.

Corrie ten Boom, devout Dutch Christian‍ woman, found such healing despitehaving been interned in concentration camps during World War II. She suffered greatly, but unlike her beloved sister Betsie, who perished in one of the camps,Corrie survived.
After the war she often spoke publicly of her experiences and of healing and forgiveness. On one occasion former Nazi guard who had been part of Corrie’s own grievous confinement in Ravensbrück, Germany, approached her, rejoicing at her message of Christ’s forgiveness and love.
“‘How grateful am for your message, Fraulein,’ he said. ‘To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!’
“His hand was thrust out to shake mine,” Corrie recalled. “And I, who had preached so often … the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.
“Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, saw the sin of them. Lord Jesus, prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.
“I tried to smile, [and] struggled to raise my hand. could not. felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again breathed silent prayer. Jesus, Icannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.
“As took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along myarm and through my hand current seemed to pass from me to him, while into myheart sprang love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.
“And so discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodnessthat the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, Hegives, along with the command, the love itself.”

I testify that the Savior is there to help us through anything we may come into contact with. Sister Daines asked me the other day, "what have you learned being out on your mission." I think the thing I have learned the most is how this is the Lords work and He is very much apart of it. We are never left alone. He promises us that He will go with us. He is on our left hand and on our right hand and He sends angels to help bear us up. I love this work. I am grateful to be apart of it. Remember you can always turn to the Savior. He will help us with our shortcoming and He will lead us to those who are in need. Pray for opportunities to help uplift and strengthen those around you because I know they are out there.

Scripture of the week: Alma 2:  And now, ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?
 Behold, answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea,even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many‍ of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us,that we have been made instruments‍ in the hands of God to bring about this great work.
I know that the Lord has blessed me so much being out here. I know we are His instruments taking part in His work. What a blessing and a privilege that is.

Funny Moment of the Week: We were tracting and a lady said to us "I don't agree with you 150%" I looked at her and said, "wow that's a whole lot of percent" and then we walked away. Sorry folks that's all I have for you!
Heart warming moment of the week- An elderly less active man who is one of the people I just connected with right away here in Delaware said to us, "Thank you. You have reformed me." He has since started reading the Book Of Mormon again.

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