Another great week in Port Angeles! It has actually been a pretty cold week- even snow! People sorta freak out when it snows here, and nobody knows how to drive in it! Sorry about missing another week of my weekly email, but to update you: We have 4 people getting baptized next month. The first two are on Saturday. A mom and her 15 year old daughter(Keri and Leelah)! The mom recently got married to a recently coming back member in our ward who actually got the Priesthood yesterday! He will be baptizing them! So that is super exciting! Lots of big changes in their lives right now (all for the better!) The next is a mom (Amy) who has had a really crazy life. She has been pretty low and has decided that a “restart” doesn’t sound too bad. So she will be baptized on the 8th as of now. 🙂 And lastly, a recent converts nephew (Eric) has decided to take the lessons and wants to be baptized on the 23rd! So the work is really moving forward here! However, we are struggling to find more people to teach. But! The bishop asked if Sister Muto and I would like to speak in church about missionary work to get the members excited and help them see that they can trust us. So for the past couple weeks I’ve been praying about this talk and really wanting to help the members see the blessings and feel the excitement of missionary work. We gave those talks yesterday and they went great! The members really responded well and we had a lot of the members say that they would like us to teach some of their friends/neighbors! I’m so excited to see the members get involved- the work isn’t meant just for us full-time missionaries. We need help!
Another big thing that has happened recently is our Ward Mission Leader (Brother Elliot) has been in the hospital in Seattle. He went in two weeks ago and it really wasn’t looking good at all. He had a blood clot in his brain apparently and lost all feeling/use of the left side of his body. We were able to get him a blessing and after that, things completely turned around for the better. They put him on blood thinners and in just a couple of days he went from not being able to feel the prick tests at all to walking with a walker and now walking on his own and even throwing and catching a ball with his left hand. This is such a miracle and a blessing for the Elliot family. They have 5 adopted kids in the family and Brother Elliot is the one who provides for the family. I know that because of the power of the Priesthood, Brother Elliot is going to be ok 🙂 Just the day before this all happened, we were at the Elliots home for dessert. Afterward we shared the scripture Mosiah 2:41 (one of my favorites) It reads:
And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of neverending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
After sharing my thoughts on the scripture, Brother Elliot asked his children: So is this scripture saying that because we keep the commandments of God, he will make our trials easier?
We had a discussion about this for a while and came to a conclusion: No, God is not going to give you easier trials or take your trials away just because you are keeping His commandments. But! He does make the trials easier for us to bear. Because of the gospel, we have a better perspective on trials and why we have them AND He has given us all the tools we need to make it through the hard times: scriptures, church, the gift of the Holy Ghost(aka the Comforter), our families (hopefully), the Priesthood, and the Savior who can carry us when we can’t do it on our own. He is someone who can truly be a friend during hardships because not only has he felt the pain we are feeling, but he allows us to have the hope we need to know that eventually all our pain will be gone and we will have true and eternal joy if we continue to draw near to him.
Now I want to share a part of my talk that goes along with that thought. I didn’t have a talk that I read word for word (huge blessing from Heavenly Father-I’ve never been able to do that before!) but I’ll share the idea.
We are SO blessed to be alive at this time. A time when the fullness of the gospel is on the earth. We have everything we need to be happy and to return to live with our Heavenly Father and our families for eternity. Unfortunately, not everyone has the knowledge of the gospel that we do. But everyone needs it! We all make mistakes in life, and these mistakes create feelings of guilt and shame. These feelings cannot be relieved without repentance and forgiveness. Luckily we know about the Atonement, and when we choose to apply it in our lives we are able to be cleansed from our sins. It is selfish for us to keep this knowledge to ourselves! We need to at least give people the opportunity to accept it into their lives. And whether or not they do accept it, we did our job.
In Preach My Gospel there is a quote by Howard W. Hunter (pg 13) that says:
“Surely taking the gospel to every kindred, tongue, and people is the single greatest responsibility we have in mortality… We have been privileged to be born in these last days, as opposed to some earlier dispensation, to help take the gospel to all the earth” “What does the Atonement have to do with missionary work? Any time we experience the blessings of the Atonement in our lives, we cannot help but have a concern for the welfare of others… A great indicator of one’s personal conversion in the desire to share the gospel with others”
I can testify that nothing brings greater joy than sharing the gospel and seeing the light that it brings into peoples lives. I know that God loves us and is aware of us and wants to bless us. He has a plan for each of us and He wants all of His children to be happy. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for each and every one of us. To me the Savior is hope, freedom, and love. And my best friend. I know that He lives. I know that through Joseph Smith the fullness of the gospel was restored to the earth, and with that came the Priesthood, the same organization of the church that Christ set up, and the Book of Mormon. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I have read it, prayed to ask God if it is true, and received an answer. I have received so much comfort from that Book. When I was going through High School I would wake up at the same time as my dad, and as I was scrambling to get ready every morning I would look into our living room and see him reading the scriptures. That has had a profound impact on my life and my testimony and love for the Book of Mormon. So I am so grateful for that example my dad set for me. And I am so grateful for my parents and the sacrifices they made to allow me to be raised in this gospel. I am so blessed!
Sister Hailey Gehring