Thursday, February 4, 2016

Eightieth Week - February 1, 2016

Stressful week, but all in all pretty good. 

Can't believe that it is already Febrero, que crazy!  The last week of the month is always the worst, gotta make sure that the baptisms don't fall and all that.  This month in our area we ended up with 6 baptisms and 26 in the zone.  I spent the whole week looking for new people, didn't find squat, kinda rare here.  Finally we have a normal p-day, I slept all day.  It was so nice!
Our baptisms last week.  We baptized the two little girls of Meyling, they are so cute! 
Meyling didn't get baptized because the guy hadn't left the house yet, but we had a miracle. Saturday night right before the baptism, out of no where, he left the house and went back to El Salvador.  It was a miracle.  Now Meyling will be getting baptized this Saturday.  She is a super humble lady. 
We also have been teaching a family.  The parents don't really want much in the way of church, but their three kids love the church.  Saturday morning the parents fought and the mom took the girl and left to Tipitapa (2 hours away) and so that was a big problem.  The two other kids were just at their house all day waiting for their dad to come home so they could go get baptized.  He never came home.  So we baptized two of the three on Sunday morning, and we should baptize the girl this Saturday if all goes well.  If any of these problems would have happened in any other mission, you would just wait til all the problems were solved.  It's a lot different in this mission.
On the 21st, we contacted a guy named Danny (not Danny Ashworth).  He is 23.  Ever since we contacted him, I felt something special about him.  He came to church that week.  Loved it, felt something that he has never felt before.  Yesterday he also came to church.  He told us that he went to work on Saturday and his boss told him that he needed to work on Sunday morning.  He told his boss, "No," and that he would stay at work all night to finish the work so that he could go to church on Sunday morning.  So he stayed at work til 2 am to finish all his work.  He still came to church.  So awesome!  Should be getting baptized soon.
Not much more to say on my part.  I read a super awesome talk.
Continually studying the scriptures helps us keep our eyes, minds, and hearts focused on the Savior, and as we apply and live the teachings found in the scriptures, we become more like Him.
During their journey in the wilderness, Lehi and his family awoke one morning to find "a round ball of curious workmanship" on the ground.  It had two spindles, one pointing "the way whither they should go" (1 Nephi 16:10).  The Liahona, also provided "a new writing" that gave them "understanding concerning the ways of the Lord."  This writing was "changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which they game unto it."  (1 Nephi 16:28-29)  The brass plates and the Liahona constituted their scriptures, and Lehi's people were expected to study and give heed to them continually.  If they did so, they progressed in their journey.  If they did not, they tarried in the wilderness and were afflicted with hunger and thirst.
What was the Lord trying to teach them, and us through the workings of the Liahona???
One of the primary purposes of the scriptures is to help us know, understand, and become like the Savior.

Lehi's dream.
In Lehi's dream, four groups of people were represented.  The first three groups entered the path that led to the tree of life.  The gate to the path is baptism, members of the church.  The fourth group led directly to the great and spacious building.
Group 1:
"And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led them unto the tree by which I stood.  And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.  And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness, yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost." (1 Nephi 8:21-23).  Members of this group apparently did not read or study their scriptures, watch general conference, or attend Sunday meetings. Consequently, they lost their way.
Group 2:
"And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron, and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree... And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them, and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost (1 Nephi 8:24,28). Note that this group caught hold of and clung to the rod of iron.  They held on until they reached the tree of life and partook of its fruit.  But they became ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, stopped focusing on the Savior, and were distracted by the attractions, temptations, and riches of the world. Then they became lost.
The key to understanding these verses is the phrase "clinging to the rod of iron."  I compare the word clinging to a "white knuckle" experience.  If you have been white water rafting, you recall that you clung so hard to the raft that your knuckles turned white.  Then, when you come to calm waters, what did you do?  You let go!
In the gospel context, this can occur when you are asked to prepare a talk or when you face a crisis, such as a death in the family or the breakup of a relationship.  You seek spiritual guidance and support because of your spiritual weakness.  Then, when the crisis is over, you let go!  You put the scriptures back on the shelf, go back to old habits of infrequent church attendance, and abandon daily prayer, at least until the next crisis, or white water experience arrives.  In other words, you turn to the Savior for help only when a desperate need arises instead of continually.
Members of this group are baptized, have the priesthood, received temple ordinances, served full time missions, and married in the temple.  But they let go!  They stopped reading the scriptures continually, fell into forbidden paths, and were lost.
Group 3:
"Behold, Lehi saw other multitudes pressing forward, and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron, and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree (1 Nephi 8:30).  Note the phrase "continually holding fast to the rod of iron."  This group read the scriptures continually.  They kept their focus on the Savior continually.
Start everyday with the scriptures.  Prayer and scripture study go hand in hand.  Constant prayer will lead you to the scriptures, and continual scripture study will lead you to prayer. Both keep you focused on the Savior and give you access to revelation and to the peace that can come only by "continually holding fast to the rod of iron."  Prayer and scripture study will lead you to the temple.  They will make you want to keep the Sabbath day holy. They will help you avoid and overcome the temptations of the adversary.
"They came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree."  The tree represents the love of God, as manifested through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Those in Group 2 who arrived at the tree did not fall down, as did those in group 3.  Is it possible to be in the presence of the Son of God and not know it?  You have only to read the New Testament to find the answer. The Savior ministered for three years, teaching and performing miracles, but few recognized Him for who He was.
If you immerse yourself in the scriptures each day of your life, you will have strength to resist serious transgression.  More importantly, you will come to know the Savior.  You will be able to keep your eyes, mind, and heart focused on Him.  As you come to know Jesus Christ, apply His teachings, and follow His example, you will become like Him.  As you become like Him, your will be a candidate to live in His presence.

Love you all, have a great week!

Elder Copeland

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