Friday, July 4, 2014

Grace for grace.

This week I have learned lots of cool stuff, especially in the D and C thanks to an old D and C manual I found in an old box of books underneath our sink. And lucky me, this week I got lots of quality time studying as my companion was out for a few days (you gotta look on the bright side of being locked in an apartment when your comp is sick... :) The one thing that I kept seeming to learn over and over again were three distinct themes: Before this life we were pre destined and pre ordained, and the Lord gives us trials to strengthen us, and everything we learn in this life is based on our diligence and obedience. 

I read D and C 93:12-14, which talks about the Savior. 

12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first,but received grace for grace;
13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continuefromgrace to grace, until he received fulness;
14 And thus he was called the Son of Godbecause he receivenotof the fulness at the first.
I knew that the Savior didn`t always know about his divinity, nor of his role here on the Earth. However what really hit me was the verses afterwards, which talks about us. 
 19... that you maycome unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of hisfulness.
 20 For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of hisfulnessand be glorified in mas am in the Father; therefore, Isay unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.
I suddenly realized something I never realized before, that we too, like the Savior, need to learn our role here on the earth, and of our divinity. We too were pre ordained and pre destined before this world. How do we learn our role, and receive of a fulness? Through our faithfulness in keeping the commandments, and through our obedience and diligence. We too need to receive of "the fullness" as the Savior did, but we too, like the Savior, receive "grace for grace." However, it is our responsiblity to learn about our life before, and about our mission here on this life, because as it says in verse 24 "Ye were also in the beginning with the Father..." I read all of this on Friday. Somehow the Lord just likes to connect all of the little dots in my brain, when for Sunday the President of the Rama decided to teach our class Principles of the Gospel for our investigators (this is pretty rare.. like the first time ever, in my time here in Santa Rosa). We read in Job 38 "Where wast thou when laid the foundations of the earth?...When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of Godshouted for joy? 
I suddenly realized, where were we when God created the Earth? We were there. We shouted for joy. We knew of our plan, of our mission on the Earth. I have always known this, but somehow, I never quite believed it. I never quite believed that I was once there, shouting for joy as the Earth was created. We were all there. Then we came to Earth, and we forgot everything. We, like our Savior, our older brother, are here, on the Earth, living with the veil, trying to learn our mission. We too are here learning grace for grace, line for line, precept for precept. It is our job to learn. And if we don`t learn? We become the tares that are thrust out and thrown into the fire, or the seeds that never quite grow into plants. We have to keep learning, we have to keep growing through our faithfulness and obedience. And while we are here the Lord likes to try us an test us, to make sure that we are worthy. In D and C 98:14 he says: 
"...for have decreed inmy heart, saith the Lord, that will prove you in all things,whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that youmay be found worthy."
The Lord will prove us in all things, to know if we truly will be strong. This scripture was given to the Saints as they were in the midst of some of their heaviest persecution. The Lord will ask us to be a standard of the truth, and he will ask us to be strong and proclaim his word, amidst hardship and persecution. One of my favorite scripture heroes has always been Abinadi, as he stood for what was right while no one wanted to listen. When Abinadi died he had no idea that someone (Alma) had actually taken to heart what he had said. Yet he stood as a standard of truth, and he abided the Lords covenant, even unto death, and was found worthy. 

There are some days on the mission where you end the day, you go home, plan with your companion, then get into your bed, and think "man, this day has been rough." Yesterday was one of those days. We had a planned baptism, a pila that was full of water, a room full of people, and no baptism. Afterwards we went to the hospital to visit a member who, if I understood correctly, had a blood clot in his brain and now is in very fatal condition. I had never been to a hospital in Honduras, and lets just say, it isn`t really a sight that I ever want to see again. The thing that is heart wrenching, is that I know that people are lucky to be in that hospital, and it is probably a decent hospital for here. 
I didn`t realize how fatal this Hermano was. It was hard seeing him, in a state where he couldn`t interact with people. There were tubes all over his body, and his three children were there in a state of panic. What was even harder was seeing the line of beds, each a foot away from the other, all filled with men who were in fatal condition, suffering. Some how imagining our Savior suffering for every persons sicknesses and heartaches has suddenly becoming very more real for me. And doing the Father`s will? Even more real, even harder. The Lord doesn`t just ask for a little, he asks for everything, he asks us to give it all, and to give it willingly.    

Also this week one of the days my companion was sick one of the other Hermanas in the other area in Santa Rosa was also sick. So us two went out together, and I got to go back to some of the parts of my old area. It was definately a lot of dejavu going back. The people we once visited have long ago been dropped, but there is something about walking a long the same dusty, rocky, street and seeing the same teal house-- and realizing what a different person you have become in just seven months. How the things that once mattered have long ago been forgotten, and how things have truly been put into perspective. Sometimes as I pass people, and watch them as they stare at me, I think of our Savior, and how people must have stared at him. How he must have felt as people would draw near unto him, learn a little, and then just as quickly, reject him. We passed one house of an old investigator, and I saw her little girl run outside, and I felt my heart hurt a little, for how much I loved that little girl, and realizing that they had never accepted the gospel. How the Savior, too, must have hurt, and how he does hurt, for each one of us. 

I know that our Savior lives and that he loves us. I know that we are here for a reason, and that before, we lived, and we knew of our life here on Earth. We rejoiced, and we prepared. I know the Lord will try us in all things, to make sure that we are worthy of his Celestial glory. I know that we need to learn and grow. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, and that he restored it through his servant, Joseph Smith. I know that we have a prophet today. I know that the gospel must be spread to every person, here, and in the after life. I know that we have so much work to do, and that the Lord is calling each and every one of us to join in the ranks, to lift those around us, and to help one another. May we be a little kinder, help one another, and never forget our brother who may be struggling. 

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