Well, many people have asked why those were my spirit animals, so here goes! The cat is because I am crazy curious. I am always looking around at the most random things. And the cow is from E. Polatis. Almost every time I see him, I'm tired and decide to smack my jaw at him, and he said it looks like a cow, so yeah! That is the reason. Any other suggestions for my spirit animal are welcome ;).
What a week! Elder Martino of the 70 came to Bismarck for Zone conference! We had about 50 extra missionaries for P-day, and we played soccer and ultimate frisby and football and kickball, and it was a blast! Then on Tuesday, we had 90 missionaries for Zone conference and we were all spiritually fed at the feet of a servant of the Lord. It was so amazing. I learned so much, but I'll share my thoughts at the end.
The Andrews are doing great! L wants to be baptized and we are trying to get H ready to do it, and I bet he will be ready pretty soon. Here's hoping! They've come to church actively for the past month or so now!
S and A are amazing! We taught the rest of the Plan of Salvation. The Spirit World made a lot of sense to them, and S started to get upset at that point, cause we showed her in the scriptures where it talks about it, and it just clicked for her. Then we got the Kingdoms of Glory and she was pretty confused, but then we explained them to her and showed in 1 Corinthians 15 that talks about them, and she looks at the Bible, looks at the pamphlet, then slams it on the ground, furious! She practically yells "Why didn't anyone tell me this?! I went to Bible school, I grew up going to all of church meetings, studying the Bible, and no one EVER told me this!" She was absolutely beyond herself, and I felt so bad, cause I couldn't help but smile! She was so sincere about it! So after she finished ranting, I told her "Don't be mad at your teachers and preachers! They don't know this either. Do you remember the Great Apostasy, when Christs church and the fullness of doctrine was lost? That's why no one knows this anymore. And that's why we are out here, to share the knowledge that has been lost." She calmed down after that, but not completely. She seemed pretty lost in thought after that. And S came to church on Sunday! Afterwards she had a ton of questions, but she didn't want to ask them yet cause we wouldn't have time haha.
Alright, here's my thoughts!
In todays world, we have the mentality of "how far can I go before I'm breaking the rules?" Where does that mentality get us? Into rough patches. What kind of blessings do we receive from pushing the limits? Minimal. Why? Because we will be blessed for willingly surrendering to the Fathers will, where it is as if we didn't even do good if we keep complaining about it. Why does God give commandments? To restrict us? To keep us from having fun? Or is it to protect us and help us to be truly happy in the long run, rather than momentarily happy only to find darkness and regret setting in when it's over? Commandments are a funny thing. God has given us all agency. We can choose between good and evil. That is an eternal gift from our Heavenly Father, never to be taken away. But what we can't choose is the consequences. So what kind of consequences do you want? That's really the question. If you want to be happy, have peace and no regret, then do what is right. If not, that's your own decision, but the promised blessings will not be yours. God is just. If He wasn't we could not have faith in Him. So put your faith in what He has said. I heard a talk where the speaker is talking about how some people think that they just aren't good enough to get Christs help. He asks a friend "Do you believe in Christ?" His friend responded "Yes, of course I do, you know I do." Then the speaker responded "But do you believe Christ?" That surprised his friend, and he goes on to say that too often we believe in Christ, but we don't believe what He says. If we truly believe him, then self pity and doubt will fade away and be swallowed up in the hope of Christ.
So what happens when we are disobedient? We must repent (which is Hebrew for Change. Cool, huh?)
I was listening to this talk, and I read this and thought it was sweet! I was thinking about repentance, and I have had 2 differing opinions about it. First opinion is that once you have repented, you shouldn't feel any regret, that if you have truly repented, your pains should be swallowed up in the Atonement of Christ. So you know you have repented when you don't have any more remorse for your sins, and it's a sign that you haven't truly repented when you still feel bad for it. The second opinion is the one illustrated in the following quote.
"[Repentance] involves suffering, and we have a natural inclination to shrink from it. Like psychotherapy, it requires us to walk in the valley of sorrow and to suffer for a time before we can truly reorient ourselves. President Kimball reminded us that "If a person has not suffered, he has not repented." - Allen E. Bergin "Repentance and Psychology"
Now, having established these, and as pondered the differences and what I felt was the truth, I was reminded of something Elder Oaks said. "The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins. But that suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment. It's purpose is change." We must suffer for our sins, but we learn in Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-18 that Christ "suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—". So, conclusion, remember the words of President Kimball up top. We will suffer the consequences of our sins, but it need last only long enough to change us, then we will be filled with the joy of knowing that we not only have been forgiven, but that slowly but surely we are becoming who God knows we can be.
Don't be afraid of repentance! Love it! It is a gift divinely instituted for our own growth, given from a loving Father in Heaven to His children to help them be truly happy. Satan wants us to think it's scary or bad, but it is the most liberating thing we can do. Don't let the Saviors amazing gift of Grace be wasted. Show Him your love and appreciation for that amazing gift by using it! And always remember that obedience is a concept of love, not of dictatorship or dominion.
Those are my thoughts! I love you all dearly!
Elder Carter V