Monday, February 19, 2018

"love your enemies"


We had a guest lecturer come to class this week. He was teaching us about the sermon on the mount.

Matt. 5:43-44 says:

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

we talked about the different meanings of love in Greek:

1) eros: expresses passionate love
2) philia: love between friends
3) storge: natural affection
4) agape: the highest form of love, charity and the love of God for man and of man for God

Guess which one the original Greek is in in this verse? Agape. What is Christ telling us to do? He's not telling us to simply tolerate the people that hate us or despite-fully use us. The commandment is to love them the same way that He loves them. Righteous acts cannot stem from unrighteous motives, or else they lose meaning and significance. Sometimes we seek to be validated horizontally rather than vertically. Shouldn't we seek validation from above rather than from those around us?

When Brother Griffin taught, the next class period, we continued talking about the Beatitudes, and he mentioned something that has stuck with me since then.

Forgiveness. We often think about forgiveness as forgiving others of their trespasses, but the hardest part is often forgiving ourselves. We seem to have this mindset:

"If I can't forgive myself, Jesus can forgive me but it won't do any good because I will hold myself hostage from His mercy" it's like saying that our badness is less than His goodness. Diminishing the goodness of Christ is not only blasphemous, it's something that we all know is wrong. Then why do we so easily fall into the trap of thinking that in all His infinite goodness, He cannot forgive us of our sins, no matter how grievous? 

The application of this is that we go through every single day and we do things that should cause us to feel guilty because yeah we make mistakes and yeah we aren't perfect. Godly sorrow is something that motivates us to be better! But if seen the wrong way, godly sorrow can cause us to feel really depressed and bad about ourselves and then we simply feel horrible and don't think that we can ever feel good about ourselves. We have to let our mistakes motivate us to be better rather than drown us in inadequacies.

Don’t forget that everyone is Saul-like, but they have a Paul-like potential. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

"God shall be with you forever and ever..."

Doctrine and Covenants 122
7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.

This passage of scripture took on a new meaning for me this week as we discussed the baptism of Jesus Christ. He was baptized in the River Jordan, which runs through Jericho. Jericho is right next to the Dead Sea, and subsequently has the lowest elevation in the entire world.

Jesus Christ got baptized in the lowest spot in the world.

He descended below all things even in his own baptism.

The very first thing that Jesus says in the scriptures is in Luke 2:49. He says "How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?"

The second recorded thing that he says is in Matthew 3:15 "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."

I don't think it's a coincidence that the first two recorded sayings of Christ are a foreshadowing of the rest of his ministry. He would always be about his Father's business, and he would always be striving to fulfill his Father's plan to fulfill all righteousness.

What I glean from this is the importance of humility and our knowledge of our own divinity. Christ is the perfect example of this because he knew WHO he was, but he also knew WHO his Father was. Having love for oneself and being confident in our calling, is different than being prideful. We can tell Satan to get away from us, for we are endowed with the power to do so. However, that power doesn't come from ourselves, it comes from God. If we can connect in our heads, our own divine worth and potential with the source of that divine worth and potential, we will see that even though Jesus Christ descended below all things, he is exalted above all things. Through his mortal weaknesses, he was still spiritually strong. He was still free of sin. Even when pain, torment, hunger and thirst wracked his mortal body, he never gave into any temptations to satisfy the natural man.

"fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever."

Monday, February 5, 2018

"I am come a light into the world..."

There are a few insights that I would like to share with you!
First... I was reading an assignment for a class and I came across St. John 12:46 "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."

I really love how it says that we won't abide in darkness. To abide implies that we would always be in darkness. God doesn't promise that we will never experience darkness, but he does promise that each and every time we are experiencing darkness, we WILL be able to overcome it if we believe in Christ. So it's safe to say that there is no reason to feel guilty or unworthy if we are passing through a patch of darkness in our live. It will get light again, if we are patient and believing.

Second...Moses 6:31 "And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?"

There were 3 reasons that Enoch gave for not wanting to accept his calling: 1) he's too young 2) everyone hates him 3) he's slow of speech

Well, we can all relate! Right? We don't feel like we can accomplish a calling, and so why bother trying? Well, I would like to share a quote: "do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then, the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, you will be the miracle." -Thomas S. Monson

It's not like God doesn't already know it when we're too young or no one likes us or we aren't so good at public speaking. He doesn't call us because we have an infinite capacity already. He sees the potential. So, if something seems too hard, just know that you're supposed to learn something from it. It's not too hard, or else you wouldn't be faced with it.

Third...When we read the scriptures, they don't tend to emphasize the fact that we are mortals, and we are constantly falling short. Instead, we read almost always about how if we come unto Christ, we can overcome our shortcomings. Parents love children because of what they put into them, not what they get out of them. I think that we should pattern our thought processes after the prophets of the scriptures (and modern-day prophets). Hardly ever do you read of a prophet who fails to recognize that his weaknesses can be made strong through Christ. It's important to know that we have weaknesses, but it's not important to dwell on them. I'm still figuring out how to move on and allow the Atonement to heal and strengthen me without reverting back to my old ways, eventually. I guess that's part of the journey. Luckily, we aren't alone on that journey! Not only is the Godhead with us every step of the way, so are our families and friends.

Love always,

Sav

Sunday, January 28, 2018

"He shall prepare a way for them..."

We talked about Adam and Eve in class this week.

HOLY REVELATION.

Brother Griffin really knows how to answer the questions of my soul. Well, I guess it's the spirit working through him...he's just really good at listening to the spirit and teaching us with the power of discernment. I was about to write about it, and then I realized that I left my notes in the library last night! I'll just write what I remember. I hope that I find my notebook in the lost and found....there are a lot of important notes in there.

First I want to present a possible problem that people have with the story of Adam and Eve. Moses 3:16-17 says:
16 And I, the Lord God, commanded the man, saying: of ever tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

We teach pretty simply about this as missionaries, right? In Preach My Gospel, it teaches "Satan tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, and they chose to do so. This was part of God’s plan."

However, Nephi 3:7, says: "the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

The issue that some people have with this is WHY would God intend for Adam and Eve to sin and break commandments when he says that he would never give a commandment that we can keep or tempt us above what we will be able to overcome? It seems like God is contradicting himself.

Here's an excerpt from an article in the Ensign:
"President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) said: “I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin … for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!”

Regarding this distinction, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles observed: “This suggested contrast between a sin and a transgression reminds us of the careful wording in the second article of faith: ‘We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression’ (emphasis added). It also echoes a familiar distinction in the law. Some acts, like murder, are crimes because they are inherently wrong. Other acts, like operating without a license, are crimes only because they are legally prohibited. Under these distinctions, the act that produced the Fall was not a sin—inherently wrong—but a transgression—wrong because it was formally prohibited. These words are not always used to denote something different, but this distinction seems meaningful in the circumstances of the Fall.”

Even though Adam and Eve had not sinned, because of their transgression they had to face certain consequences, two of which were spiritual death and physical death. Physical death came to Adam and Eve at the end of their earthly lives, but spiritual death occurred as they were cast out of the Garden of Eden, being cut off from the presence of God (see Alma 42:9)."

The original command in Moses 3 is the ONLY commandment in the scriptures where God explicitly says the word "nevertheless." Nevertheless can be substituted with a < sign. It is clear that the Fall was a part of Heavenly Father's plan. I can't adequately explain in words the exact doctrine behind how I know this, but I know it. We needed to progress.

The commandment to multiply and replenish the earth was a higher commandment than the commandment not to eat the fruit. Eating the fruit WAS the way that God provided for Adam and Eve to fulfill his other, greatest commandment of having children. Remember 1 Nephi 3:7? It IS true.

I love the gospel! It's not always easy to understand everything, but understanding comes over time when we trust in the Lord.

Friday, January 19, 2018

"Did not our hearts burn within us?"

Someone shared this quote in class this week:
“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
What is truth? A lot of people spend their lives seeking truth whether it be through faith or science or a combination of the two. Science typically involves the seeking of physical truth, but religious seekers are trying to find eternal truths. There are different levels of truth." Robert Jastrow

We can touch a tree and know that it's actually there. It's true that gravity is in force. When I wear shoes without socks on a hot day, my feet are bound to smell. Water freezes at 32 degrees. Pizza tastes good.

Truth right there. How do I know? Because I've seen it and tested it numerous times.

But what is an eternal truth? What makes the existence of a loving God so abstract? Spiritual knowing is different than knowing with our brain. There are certain levels of truth that can only be felt. A combination of heart and mind, sincerely desiring truth, will receive it. However, if we are beyond feeling, we can't experience eternal truths.

Luke 24:32: "And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" Even the disciples didn't understand what they were feeling at first, but it's not something that can be denied.

We, at our very best, as humans only comprehend a little bit of the universe. That's why learning is a godly endeavor. If we are seeking truth and seeking to become as our father, we have to seek truth everywhere, not just at church!! Scientific, spiritual or otherwise. Since our ability to comprehend is limited, we can look up, not around, to discover the mysteries of life. It's not a competition between science and religion, instead: "he/she that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round." We are made in God's image. He has an infinite and astounding plan for each one of us. That's why we absolutely have to soak in truth and light from all sources.

I'll finish with a quote...

Mormonism is truth; and every man who embraces it feels himself at liberty to embrace every truth. … The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth.”
-Joseph Smith

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"Get thee hence, Satan"

I am in a class called Christ and the Everlasting Gospel. It's a little funny because when I got home a couple of weeks ago, one of the first things that happened is that  people kept coming up to me and asking if I would keep writing a weekly spiritual thought to share on my blog because they enjoyed the ones that I sent from the mission field. A requirement from this class is that we write our thoughts about something that we studied and share it with someone. So here I am, writing a spiritual thought once a week again, and I'm excited! :)

It is common knowledge in the gospel that when we read a passage of scripture during different times and phases in our lives, it will strike a different chord in our mind almost every single time. I know that seems normal; however, every time it happens, I cannot help but marvel.

Sometimes, I leave a lukewarm session of studying the scriptures, and I hear President Uchtdorf's words in my head:

"Think of how you felt when for the first time you believed and understood that you are truly a child of God; that Jesus Christ willingly suffered for your sins so that you may be clean again; that priesthood power is real and can bind you to your loved ones for time and for all eternity; that there is a living prophet on the earth today. Isn’t that wonderful and amazing?"

And then he counsels, "how could it ever be possible that we of all people would not be excited about attending our Church worship services? Or get tired of reading the holy scriptures? I suppose this could be possible only if our hearts were past feeling to experience gratitude and awe for the sacred and sublime gifts God has granted us. Life-changing truths are before our eyes and at our fingertips, but sometimes we sleepwalk on the path of discipleship...We tread a path covered with diamonds, but we can scarcely distinguish them from ordinary pebbles."

I am loving this class, because it is reminding me just how precious the scriptures are, especially The Pearl of Great Price. In Moses 1, we learn important principles about Satan and who we are in relation to him. Satan comes and tempts Moses, saying: "Moses, son of man, worship me." Brother Griffin made the point that Satan takes away Moses' identity as a son of God by calling him "son of man" and then he steals God's identity for himself. Since Heavenly Father just spent the first few verses of Moses 1 explaining the divine identity of man, Moses isn't fooled by Satan and attempts twice to overcome Satan by saying: "Get thee hence, Satan." At this point, Satan "cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth," which caused Moses to "fear exceedingly." Here's the important part: Moses called upon the strength of the God and he received it. After that, he successfully overcame Satan by saying: "In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan." Heavenly Father never intended for us to use our own strength to overcome Satan. We cannot do it alone.

If we go back to Moses 1:15, Moses says, "Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me...I can judge between thee and God..." We obviously don't have the full glory of God with us all of the time, but we need to be grateful that we do have the spirit of God with us and therefore, we CAN and do discern between God and Satan. It's an innate ability. Jesus Christ himself was tempted three times by Satan in the wilderness.

 Of course, he overcame those temptations, but James E. Talmage wrote:

"It is not to be supposed that Christ’s victorious emergence from the dark clouds of the three specified temptations exempted Him from further assaults by Satan, or insured Him against later trials of faith, trust, and endurance. Luke closes his account of the temptations following the forty-day fast as follows:  “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.” This victory over the devil and his wiles, this triumph over the cravings of the flesh, the harassing doubts of the mind, the suggested reaching out for fame and material wealth, were great but not final successes in the struggle between Jesus, the embodied God, and Satan, the fallen angel of light."

We are always going to need the spirit. We are always going to need to be able to discern. That's why it's so important that we live the gospel because even Jesus Christ was tempted by Satan throughout his entire earthly ministry. What makes us think that just because we did one good thing that one time that we are going to be good for the rest of our lives? The gospel and doctrine of Christ is here because it keeps us pure and worthy of the spirit. It's all linked to our true desire to understand and to keep the commandments. Not only do we have to take His name upon us and believe in Christ, we must be built upon the foundation of His gospel.

I love this class! I'm excited to continue sharing the things that I am learning,

Savannah

Sunday, December 24, 2017

I'm Back! Merry Christmas!

Hey Everyone! This is my talk from today. I'm posting it for all of those who couldn't make it to sacrament meeting. It's a blessing to be back in Dothan with my family and dear friends. I tried to capture some of the things that I learned and why it made me so happy to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This isn't exactly how my talk went, but it's the general outline and the stories that I shared. 
Homecoming Talk                                                                                              \
December 24, 2017
I realized when I was thinking about what to say today that a lot of people have been coming up to me and asking me how my mission was. I usually say something like “I learned a lot and it was awesome” and they’re pretty satisfied to know that I did actually learn something and I was happy while doing it. Then, I realized that basically this talk is the deeper version of the answer “I learned a lot and it was awesome.” However, even in writing this talk, I couldn’t contain a hundredth part of what I learned and how awesome it was.
I was thinking and I guess that might be why we don’t remember the pre-mortal life. If so, we would just go around asking each other about our pre-mortal lives and we would just say “I learned a lot and it was awesome,” even though that wouldn’t cover an infinite part of it. I guess short answers are easy to give, but doesn’t the human soul yearn for the deeper solution? That’s exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ gives us.
Even though I was supposed to be speaking Russian on my mission, I had investigators who ranged from Finnish to Pakistani to Mexican and everything in between. One day, our Finnish investigator, Vesa, told us a joke to prove his point.
A priest walks up to the pearly gates and St. Peter tells him that they are running out of space in heaven. He tells him that he wants to talk to the next person in line before he decided to let him in. The next man was a simple bus driver, and St. Peter immediately let him in. The priest was rebuffed because he didn’t understand how he wouldn’t get let in for preaching the gospel for 40 years to his congregation. St. Peter told him: “I let the bus driver into heaven because when you were preaching, your congregation was sleeping; when the bus driver was driving, the people in his bus were truly praying to God for their welfare.”
Now, we know that that’s not exactly how it works, but the point is that our diligence and efforts cannot be entirely meaningful if they aren’t genuine, patient, and full of love and good intentions. There is always a higher and deeper level that we can be striving for in every aspect of our lives, especially prayer. As I was saying before, I believe that the human soul yearns for deeper connections, especially with our Heavenly Father. That’s exactly the purpose of missionaries, to help people find their connection to God, other people around them, and to their own divine potential.
One of the ways that I connected with God everyday was writing in my journal. I never missed a day for the entire 18 months.
President Henry B Eyring said: “I never missed a day for years, I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” as I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day.”
I knew a sister in the mission that would just look up at the sky after something good happened and vocally praise God, thanking him for that blessing, no matter how small. I saw the joy in her eyes, and knew that I wanted that in my eyes as well. I remember times when I was not so sure and not so joyful too. In fact, one year ago today, December 24, 2016, I was feeling nervous about the next day being Christmas, skyping my family for the first time, spending Christmas away from them, and basically being in such different circumstances than I had ever been in before my mission. Turns out, December 25, 2016 ended up being one of my favorite and most miraculous days of my whole mission. Our progressing investigator had come to church and sisters had been working with him for months to help him accept a date to be baptized.
This is what I wrote in my journal that day: “After church we wanted to show Michael the baptismal font. He was in a hurry, so he told Sister Christensen “As long as I see it before my baptism on January 28th, it should be fine, right?” Basically puts himself on date! So exciting. We showed him the font anyways, and Elder Karpukhno was telling him how it works. It was so awesome, I’ve never felt joy like that.”
Brothers and Sisters, that’s one of those obvious moments when you can look up at the sky with tears of gratitude in your eyes and thank your Heavenly Father for all of His tender mercies over you. Sometimes, we are in a moment, and the future is uncertain. I think that it takes courage in every single moment to trust in God and lean not unto our own understanding.
There is a quote from Galileo that says: "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them."
 Revelation and understanding come in movement, not stagnation.
Speaking of revelation, I wanted to talk about the 3 main things that I learned on my mission.
1)      Miracles happen
I could list off miracles for hours, but I’m sure that you’re not interested in sitting out there for days. On my mission, I attempted to read Jesus the Christ, a book written by James E Talmage. It’s 793 pages of pretty deep stuff and pretty fancy language…This is my favorite quote from the book:
“In the contemplation of the miracles wrought by Christ, we must of necessity recognize the operation of a power transcending our present human understanding. In this field, science has not yet advanced far enough to analyze and explain. To deny the actuality of miracles on the ground that, because we cannot comprehend the means, the reported results are fictitious, is to arrogate to the human mind the attribute of omniscience, by implying that what man cannot comprehend cannot be, and that therefore he is able to comprehend all that is.” King Benjamin said: “Believe in God, believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth. Believe that he has all wisdom and all power, both in heaven and earth, believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.”  2 Nephi 2:24, says: “all things are done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.”
 I can share an example or two of this concept. One night, it was 8:45. Literally 15 minutes before we were supposed to be home and it was a 5 minute drive. We could have gone home honorably, but we decided to follow the spirit to a spot and knock on one house and then go home. We ended up in a culdesac, knocking on the door of a sweet Chinese family that ended up coming to church and happily receiving the lessons from the Chinese Elders. Did God send us a miracle so that we could just say that we found a miracle? NO! He sent us to be a miracle for that family so that they could receive the gospel. It was part of His purposes, and if we hadn’t have followed the spirit to that house, I don’t know what would have happened to that family. Just a couple of weeks ago, we ate with about 15 missionaries at Chick-fil-a. There was this amazing, happy, awesome woman there that brightened all of our day. She made an impact on me of just pure light and happiness. The coolest part is that me and my companion were driving through an apartment complex when we saw someone that we thought was Russian. When that happens, you park asap and get out to talk to them. By the time we got out, she was gone. We started looking for this woman, walking in the direction that would make the most sense. The whole time, I couldn’t stop thinking that we needed to turn around, go back the way we came, and check behind this random building with basically made no sense. But, we decided to act on the thought, and she was back there. She turned out to not be Russian, she turned out to be the lady from Chick-fil-a! It was such a cool “godincidence” or in other words, a miracle!
2)      God answers prayers
The prophet Alma says: “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good. Yea, when thou liest down at night, lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when though riseth in the morning, let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s existence can be attributed to an answered prayer in which a 14 year old boy received guidance through a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith asked with a sincere desire for an answer, and he received one, what makes us think that we cannot receive an answer too? When I was in the last week before coming home, I was praying in my heart that I would find a way to have missionary opportunities in the airport and in the course of my travel home. The answer came in some unexpected ways. I want to share a story from the airport. We were sitting there, waiting to board our plane. I was with another Sister who was also flying to Atlanta. We decided a couple of times to either go to the bathroom or get up and walk around to pass the time. We went and sat down after that, and I opened up my scriptures to John, hoping to get in a few minutes of study time. You wanna know what happened? Heavenly Father straight up answered my prayer, because the lady next to me, named Lillian, piped right up, asking me if I was doing my daily Bible study. We then were able to have a 15 minute conversation about the importance of the scriptures in our lives. I shared several Book of Mormon verses with her and she shared Psalms 19 with me, which was the psalm of the day. We read it together right there in the airport. She was so excited about Light the World. God literally plopped the missionary opportunity into my hands, and she was the one who talked to me first! When does that ever happen? It doesn’t. Answers to prayers can also come through confirming feelings from the spirit. I remember a time when we were teaching an investigator and he just couldn’t get over his idea that Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet. He really couldn’t believe that he continued to receive revelation from God for his entire life. After a slightly disheartening discussion with him, I went home that night and simply prayed telling him that no matter what had happened that day, I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I hadn’t asked for a confirming feeling, but I got one of the most overwhelming amazing feelings washing over me. I don’t think that we always get an answer when we want it, we get the answer when we really need it.
3)      Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World
There is a sweet story of a girl named Ariel. She is 5 years old. She has down syndrome, and I met her and her mom in the airport on Tuesday. There’s this certain feeling that you have when you’re a missionary. You feel a responsibility to inspire those around you. So, I was trying to smile, even though I was feeling a little sad after saying goodbye to everyone. Suddenly we hear the familiar “Oh Sister missionaries!! What brings you to the airport today?” Of course, Heavenly Father sent this amazing little family right to me when I needed that extra boost of happy. Ariel’s mom told me a story of Ariel at the visitor’s center of a temple. In the visitor’s center, there is a statue of Jesus Christ, life size, and you’re allowed to touch and go near it. She said that Ariel immediately started signing the ASL signs for Jesus Christ by touching her hands where there would be nail prints and saying “Jesus, Jesus” over and over and then she took tissues and began washing and kissing the feet of the Savior. It was a sweet and spiritual story, but the part that really gave me chills was the fact that Ariel’s mom told us that Ariel has never heard the story of the woman who washed and kissed the Savior’s feet from the Bible. Ariel was so perfect, so pure, and she had an inspiring testimony of Jesus Christ, even though she is only 5 years old. We’re not quite so innocent or perfect; therefore, we need the Atonement more than ever.
“However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you don’t think you have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s atonement shines.”-Holland
“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slum. Christ takes the slums out of people, and the they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”
The atonement is really about change.
-Testify here and talk about this song:
For all who wait
For all who hunger
For all who've prayed
For all who wonder
Behold your King
Behold Messiah
He is the song for the suffering
He is Messiah, the prince of peace has come
In closing, I want to share my favorite chapter from the Book of Mormon. It’s Ether 6. I want to invite all of you to take out your scriptures or your gospel library and follow along, because I am going to change the words a little bit and apply it to myself. I’m going to start halfway down verse 2 of Ether chapter 6.
And, Sister Jenne came down out of the mount of Provo, Utah. And, she did put forth her scriptures into her suitcases, which were prepared, a Book of Mormon and a Bible and behold, they did give light. And, thus the Lord caused them to shine in darkness to give light unto all missionaries that they might not serve a mission in darkness. And it came to pass that when Sister Jenne had prepared all manner of rain jackets and Vitamin D pills that she might subsist in Seattle, and also skirts, and dresses that she might fashionably represent the Lord. It came the pass that when she had done all these things, she got aboard an airplane, and set forth to the MTC, commending herself to the Lord God. And the Lord caused that the furious Russian language drove Sister Jenne toward humility and thus she was tossed upon the waves of Russian grammar. And it came to pass that she was many times discouraged in conversations with Bible bashers and slammed doors because of the mountain of responsibility which weighed upon them and also the dark and dreary tempests of rain which happened in Seattle. And it came to pass that when she was buried in the deep, there was no man that could hurt her, her testimony being tight like unto a dish and also it was tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore, she was encompassed about by temptations, she did cry unto the Lord and He did bring her forth again upon the foundation of Christ. And it came to pass that the Russian language never did cease to drive her towards humility while she was on her mission and thus she was driven forth. And she did sing “I am a Child of God” to all of the babushkas and they did sing praises to the Lord. And she did thank and praise the Lord all the day long and when the night came she went to bed at 10:30 every time. And thus she was driven forth, and no apartment complex manager could shoo them away, neither were there any no soliciting signs that could stop their knocks and they did have light continually whether it was teaching the elect or being hardcore rejected. And she was driven 566 days upon the freeways of; Seattle. And she did gain an abiding testimony of her Savior, Jesus Christ and when she did this, she bowed herself down upon the face of the land and she did humble herself before the Lord and did shed tears of joy before the Lord because of the multitudes of his tender mercies over her.
Testify <3

Amen