Monday, January 19, 2015

Twenty-sixth Week - January 19, 2015

Great week! 

We had another baptism on Saturday.  It's always an adventure to baptize someone in this area cause our chapel is in a house (Priesthood is in the garage), and there's no font so we have to go to Managua to baptize (like an hour away in bus depending on traffic).  

So this is the story.  A guy in the branch was going to baptize for us, so I called him like 10 times and he didn't answer at all.  I walked to a member's house to see if she was going.  She said, "Yes, and the guy that was going to baptize is going by himself."  I tried calling him again to confirm; he didn't answer, so I just said, "Whatever, I'll trust him that he will go by himself," cause we didn't have time to go to his house cause he lives in Narnia basically. 

We got to the chapel in Managua and he was nowhere to be found.  I called him again, didn't answer. Then I called the 2nd Counselor again.  He finally answered and told me that he would call the guy. He called him, he answered and said he was waiting at home for us to pick him up... We literally have to babysit everyone.. So I wasn't happy that he wouldn't answer my phone calls, but I still took the fault.  So luckily we brought an extra pair of baptismal pants.  Elder Page baptized her with his normal shirt and stuff, so afterwards, he was soaked haha.  

But after the lady was baptized (Justina), she bore her testimony and it was awesome!  She has a daughter that is like a demon.  She hates Mormons and doesn't know a single thing about us. She wouldn't even come to her own mom's baptism or wouldn't even talk to her.  It's sad, no one here supports anyone in their families... On Sunday she was confirmed, and also a member from the Seventy came to our branch, Elder Kevin R. Duncan, so that was cool.  

One thing I was thinking about this week is the importance of having a strong testimony in these days.  To have the power to say I know these things of myself.  That is one thing I have learned in my first 6 months.  I knew before my mission that the church was true, especially after Origination, but I didn't really have a knowledge of the gospel.  I still don't know a lot but learning for ourselves that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is true can be one of the greatest and most joyful experiences in life.  That is absolutely true.

Whoever is reading this, ask yourselves if you REALLY TRULY know that this church is true and have a testimony.  Do each one of us know for ourselves that the gospel is true?  Can we say with confidence that our testimonies are of our own?  

President Thomas S. Monson has stated:  "In order for us to be strong and withstand all the forces pulling us in the wrong direction... we must have our own testimony..."   I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior and of His gospel will protect you from the sin and evil around you.  If you do not already have a testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one.  It is essential for you to have your own testimony, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far."

First, we NEED the desire to gain our own testimony.  Just like Nephi, it was something that he hungered and thirsted after.  If we are hungry for the gospel, without a doubt, we will gain a testimony of our own.  In 1 Nephi 2:16 it says Nephi had "great desires to know the mysteries of God."
So a testimony is something that is grown little by little, like a seed into a big strong tree.  I saw something that says a testimony is like a light switch.  It is either on or off, you either have a testimony or you don't.  Whoever is reading this that doesn't have a testimony for yourself, I strongly recommend you getting one.  Now is the time, today is the day.  Because if you don't have a testimony for yourself in these days, good luck... in my opinion, the chances of you falling away are about 100%.

Just like Helaman 5:12:  "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."  We absolutely NEED a testimony . I recommend reading The Book of Mormon.  When you know that The Book of Mormon is true, everything else follows, Joseph Smith absolutely was a prophet and he saw God the Eternal Father and His son, Jesus Christ.  It also follows that the gospel of Jesus Christ clearly was restored in these last days through Joseph Smith.

Think about this, give me one good reason why Joseph Smith would make all of that up when in reality he didn't gain anything.  In the end, he lost his life, all on a religion, he could have easily have said, "I made it up," but he didn't, cause he knew it was true for himself.  So if you don't have a testimony, get one.  If you do have a testimony, strengthen it!

Love you all,

Elder Copeland

(One of Elder Copeland's best friend is serving in Korea on his mission.  So Elder Copeland sent this picture with the caption: "So close, yet so far, but doing the same work!")

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