Sunday, August 9, 2015

Urgent!! And.... an exciting Thursday....

So, found out this week that they no longer want our families to send letters and packages to the mission office. So, from now on (for reals this time) just send them to 849 Hanna Ave. Valley City, ND 58072.
So, to answer some questions, we have Zone Conferences every 3 months (quarterly), the Mission President does come for it as well as his Wife and his 2 assistants (2 missionaries that he calls to the position), and we get a personal interview with Pres after it's over, and there are 5 districts in the Zone, each district with about 8-10 missionaries. We don't have a limit on how much time we spend on service each week, just to help those who are in need and that we can help!  Which, sometimes that's what it takes to help someone, but our main purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive His restored Gospel, so if it interferes with that, we would need to focus more on the missionary work side of things.
So, this week was rather unneventful, except on Wednesday (shout out to Brandon Biorge for teaching me the valuable skill of laying sod) we layed sod on a members yard! It was, of course, a hot day, and for the first time in North Dakota history, there was not a single gust of wind. Not evena breeze. So, other than that, the week was just a normal week... until Thursday happened.  We had a normal day, helped a lady named LB do some gardening, went to dinner with a lady named P that we have helped around her house a couple times, then went to a bible study.  So, as a quick side note, I have decided that, aside form pornography, sarcasm is the plague of our day. Now, back to the bible study.  We had been once before, and they were all super nice.  So when we went in, an older gentlemen walked up and introduced himself to us. I introduced myself as Elder Carter to which he responded: "Elder? You're not an elder. I'm more of an elder than you are. What's your first name?" As we got started, they weren't studying the Bible, but they were reading from a book called Christian Baptism which basically talks about and criticized the false baptismal practices of other religions. They weren't on the chapter but they were gracious enough to flip back to the chapter about how we (the "Cult of Mormonism" as the book put it about 5 times) practice baptisms for the dead. They said that our thoughts on baptisms for the dead mainly stemmed from the verse in 1 Corinthians 15:29"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?" They also said that the baptism, being born of the water and of the Spirit, is not a rebirth, but as we accept Christ as our Savior we are spiritually re-baptized when the Spirit of God descends upon us and changes our desires to do evil(despite the Saviors response to Nicadimous's question in John 3:5-8). They also tore down the idea of being saved by works (which, we aren't saved by works, we are saved by Grace. That's a fact. But we are supposed to apply Grace, and accept Christ as our Savior, and we do so by our works such as Baptism and living a life as close to His as we can). One of the guys said: "I don't do good, or put more money in the plate, to get notches in my belt." They said that in reference to the scripture that Elder Allen mentioned in James 2:17-18, 20-22, 24-26 as well as what he said about baptism being required to get into heaven (see Romans 6 I think. and the reference to john previously). When he mentioned this another one of them mentioned the scripture in Ephesians 2: 8-9 that says: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift from God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." One of them asked if the Book of Mormon said anything about doing baptisms for the dead and Elder Allen later told me his thought: "You would know, if you read it!" I just responded and said that it was a part of the continual revelation that was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When he mentioned Joseph Smith a few eyes rolled and a few other people exchanged disapproving glances, as well as gasps and quick look aways. They believe that their acts is a show of their faith, but not required to be saved. They also said that anyone who tried to add to the Atonement of Jesus Christ by their works(which is absolutely not what we're doing) is Satanic. So, going back to what I said about my "whits end",  I got a little excited and sort of let loose. I bore testimony on how I knew that Jesus Christ was my Savior and that I knew that He loves him and how I love Christ for what he did for him. I then told them "I came to this Bible study to learn of my Savior along with other Christians, not to learn about what others think I believe, or what any one else believes. One of them said that they were trying to save us from our false practices, that they can't help but teach truth. I then said "Than teach truth. All truth comes from God, so teach from the word of God, not from what you think you know." Then, as I put my scriptures into my backpack, I said," Well, I hope it's not considered Satanic if I just up and leave, because I am going to do just that.  It's past my bedtime, and if you haven't noticed, I'm a little cranky." And walked up the stairs. Elder Allen followed, paused momentarily to apologize for my rash actions and followed me out. That was the end of that night.
I gave myself a good lickin afterwards. In fact, I'm still not quite over my shortness of temper.  I'm not usually like that.  But, we're going back next week so I can apologize and we can teach them what we really believe.
So, on that note, I would like to bear my testimony of the divine mission of Jesus the Christ.  We cannot merit anything of ourselves, but we can show Him our devotion by doing what he asks, which is to have faith in Him, repent of our sins, be baptized by those who hold Priesthood authority and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the Laying on of hands, and continuing on the path to exaltation by living his Gospel, and allowing His Amazing Grace to change us.  As Paul said to the Romans "should we continue in sin, that Grace may abound? God forbid."  Christ's Atonement, His Grace, is so that we can change, to become "perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect."  If we think that we can sin because we have excepted Christ as our Savior, we are mocking His very legacy.  Salvation comes from Christ, but we have to try our best to be worthy of His Grace and love.

In honor of the passing of our beloved Apostle, Elder L. Tom Perry, I would like to share this quote:

“We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment. This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings,especially the poorest and most vulnerable. … It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis.” 
-Elder L.Tom Perry 

Love you all!!

Elder Carter V

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