Monday, April 13, 2015

Sin vs Weakness

Another 10/10 week. Dah, I think I'm sounding redundant, but it just keeps being true. And this week especially did we see God just put people in our laps to teach. They fell out of the sky. Solid, hungry-for-the-Gospel people. Every night, we opened up our planners, and we already had plans for every hour of the next day, usually forgetting to plan time to eat or breathe. It's been good. Good busy. Good stress.

This week, much revelation was received. We had a lesson with a member in our ward, Brother Kunkel, and we were trying to address his concerns. I sat there racking my brain trying to propose a solution to his problem, but I couldn't. I just wanted to say the one sentence that would fix his problem, but it was at that point when I realized: we learn in the scriptures that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; our interactions with people are no different. We almost never just spout off that which is the cure to someone else's concern, because solutions come through a process, just like testimonies do. People need to solve their own problems. All we can do is encourage and ingrain the truth in others until they learn it for themselves. Until they hear your words in their subconscious when they finally come to the realization that what they're doing isn't working and they try to draw upon what they've been told to develop a new plan of attack. We see it all the time. It's particularly evident in this video: The Hope of God's Light . He has several people who made a huge impact, but it wasn't until he really felt the spirit that he drew upon all his past experiences and connected the dots. No wonder patience is a virtue. It's exhausting to wait for other people to fix their own problems! But, when they do, it is rewarding.

There's a woman in our ward who has been working with one of her friends for YEARS. The member, Sister Brown, has given Pamela a Book of Mormon, which she's already read twice, she's brought her to church, they've watched conference together, the whole shebang, yet she's NEVER talked with missionaries before! We finally got the opportunity to go over to Sister Brown's house and have another lesson with her, and she is... solid. She said she already tells the Jehovah's Witnesses that she's a Mormon when they come to her door. We laughed when she told us that and asked her what was holding her back. We'll have to help her work through a few of her trials, but it's so incredible to see how the Lord prepares his children. It's another example of small and simple means, but over time, they prepare people to make life-changing decisions.

Sister Garner and I have been preparing a training on helping people recognize that becoming like Christ is a lifelong pursuit. As we were gathering ideas, we stumbled across this chart, and it helped me out a lot.

Definition: Willful disobedience to God.
Source: Encouraged by Satan.
Example: Knowingly breaking God's commandments, believing Satan.
Did Jesus Have?: No.
Our Response Should Be: Repentance.
God's Response Will Be: Forgiveness.
Result: Cleansed from sin.

Definition: Human limitation, infirmity.
Source: Part of our human nature.
Example: Susceptibility to temptation, emotion, fatigue, physical of mental illness, ignorance, trauma, or death.
Did Jesus Have?: YES
Our Response Should Be: Humility, faith in Christ, effort to overcome.
God's Response Will Be: Grace-enabling power.
Result: Acquiring holiness, strength.

I love that so much. I think sometimes I, and most human beings, think of my weaknesses as sins. When I have a weakness, I think it is because I am so imperfect and there's something wrong with me. My friends, that's not the case at all. Sins are us yielding to our weaknesses, but being weak is not a sin. In fact, being weak isn't even a bad thing. It's part of our human nature. Jorg Klebingat said we need to "acknowledge our weaknesses, but not be immobilized by them". President Walkenhorst explained this pretty well earlier this week. He said that he always admired how well his daughter played the piano, even though he couldn't play the piano to save his life. "It's a better use of my time to focus on something I'm already good at and improve in that area instead of getting all bent out of shape over something I'm no good at."

That's a funny thing we do as people. We pick out the strengths of every other person and we create a mental wishlist of all that we wish that we were, but then we compare ourselves against that made-up person that we have formulated in our minds, and we never live up to our unrealistic expectations! But our Heavenly Father has a perfect idea of what he wants us to become. And in order to get there, he needs to make us aware of our faults so that we can look at them and fix them ourselves. Then we progress onward from there.

I know that right now, we are all exactly where we're supposed to be. We can't comprehend why we're in the mental/physical/financial/sinful predicament that we're in, but God expects us to rely on him. It's a commandment to ask for help!!! " diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all time; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive." -Alma 7:23. I know He will help us as we request His help, He would never give a commandment He doesn't intend to reward.

He's so merciful. His job isn't to condemn us, only Satan does that, he has clear intentions of helping us feel good about ourselves and be successful. And I know that to be true!

I stinking love you guys. Good things are happening out there, it sounds like. Keep filling me in on all the good news!

Love you!


Sister Best

Oops. I'm failing at taking pictures. Elder Quijada, our District Leader, gave a training using Mario as an analogy and I have a picture of that... want to see it? Alright, here: 

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