Monday, April 20, 2015

Thirty-ninth Week - April 20, 2015

Man, it's hot... 
Today we went and played soccer and basketball and Merrill and me bought some sweet soccer jerseys at the market.  
(Elder Merrill and Elder Copeland.  Why so serious?  Pre-Match Shot.)

 (Battle of the Mango!)

 (After playing soccer today, this was Elder Copeland's tan line.  It is just so extremely hot!) 
And WOW this week was super fast!  Nothing too special happened, just sweating and working like crazy!  But man, the Nicaraguans are tough!  Before my mission, I was expecting it to be a little easier cause they are so poor, but I was completely wrong.  I love them to death, but they just can't see the big picture at all...

  But this past week TJ hit one year, that was quick... Also this week is a big week.  First, I turn 20 years old... I really don't want to be 20, the difference between 19 and 20 seems like forever.  And also I hit 9 months this week, last month in single digits...

 (The house where Elder Copeland and three other Elders live.  Notice the tin roof and the fact that they are on the second floor with no air conditioning whatsoever.)
 (Elder Copeland's comment:  "One room, one word:  BRUTAL!")

We are finding people to teach slowly but surely.  Last Tuesday we found 3 kids:  Johnny (16), Michael (13) and Jose (8)  They are all brothers and they're awesome.  They all went to church yesterday and really liked it and also have a baptismal date for the 9th of May.  We should have a baptism this Saturday.  His name is Jose and he lives in the park.  He's had a tough life but really wants to be baptized.

An article that I read this week is called, "It Isn't a Sin to be Weak."  Can God really make my weaknesses into a strength?  If so, how?  I've fasted and prayed for days to have problems removed from me, but nothing seems to change.  In my mission, I have lived the gospel more consistently than at any time in my life, but I have never been more aware of my weaknesses.  Why, when I feel like I'm doing so good, that sometimes I feel so bad?  We all know what sin is.  Sin is a choice to disobey God's commandments.  There is a chart that compares sin and weakness. 

First, Sin.

Definition:  Willful disobedience to God

Source:  Encouraged by Satan

Example:  Knowingly breaking God's commandments, believing Satan over God

Did Jesus have:  No

Our response should be:  Repent

Gods promise is:  Forgiveness

Results:  Cleansed of sin

Second, Weakness

Source:  Part of our mortal nature

Examples:  Susceptibility to temptation, emotional fatigue, physical or mental illness, ignorance, etc.

Did Jesus have:  Yes

Our response should be:  Humility, faith in Christ, and efforts to overcome

Gods promise:  Grace

Results:  Strength

So there clearly are differences between sin and weakness, and we as humans, have both sins and weaknesses.  So how can we know what is a sin and what is a weakness?  While Satan is eager to use our weaknesses to entice us to sin more, God can use human weakness to teach, strengthen, and bless us.  God told Paul, "For my strength is made perfect in weakness."  Nowhere in God's love, wisdom, and redemptive power is it more evident than in His ability to turn our struggle with human weakness into the invaluable godly virtues and strengths that make us more like Him.  While sin inevitably leads us away from God, weakness, ironically, can lead us toward Him. 

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.  I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Ether 12:27

I am grateful for every single weakness and sin that I have so I can become a better person and really learn how to rely on my Savior.  I love him and I am forever in debt to him.  I will serve him every day that I shall live on this earth.  Live everyday as it is your last.  We never know when the Lord needs us to leave this world.  This week, really pay attention to the things that we can do better and work on them one at a time, and we will really see the difference in our own lives.  I am a representative of The Jesus Christ and I will give my all to Him.

Elder Copeland

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