Thursday, July 5, 2012

Testimony to true conversion...

To my dearest family!

Thank you so much for sending me all those packages and things this last week...I'll admit, it kinda felt like Christmas for a while ;) I'll be sending you a letter this week just so I can take time to write to you individually, but real quick I'd like to just share with you what has been happening this last week:

To continue where I left you all last week, we had an amazing time singing for the general authorities and then again at night time for President Packer for the concluding session of the mission president seminar. We were privileged before hand to actually have Elder Russel M Nelson come in unannounced and talk with us. It has been such a blessing to be able to associate and be in the presence of these special witnesses of Christ! I think over a period of 4 days I was within 3m of every single one of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve besides Elder Hales. What a blessing!

These last week, if I could describe it correctly and accurately, has been a complete roller coaster. Everyday up, then down, then up, then down, sometimes feeling like I'm scrambling and other times feeling like I was on top of the world. The language is continuing to come and that is wonderful...but its my spirituality and eternal progression/character that I am most focused on. As a missionary, we have the opportunity to help others receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and in His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, so that they can endure to the end (PMG p1); we are here to help others come to know of the love the Father has for them and the love that is available to them through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, we cannot do this nor even hope to do so without being first converted ourselves. Now, conversion is kind of an interesting and intriguing topic that I have been able to study about the last few days and just what it entails, trying to assess my own conversion. To put in Nephi's terms, I'm still sitting at the gate (see 2 Ne 31:15-18). I realized that in my life, I have a testimony of many different aspects of the Gospel and receive witnesses of those truths time and time again. But how, if I had received so many witnesses, how could I doubt what I knew? How could the Three Witnesses after receiving their witness fall away from what they had seen and beheld? The answer lies in the process of conversion. Elder Bednar in a recent  MTC devotional on Christmas day this last December spoke on conversion. To paraphrase, he clarified that a testimony is what you know to be true; conversion is being true to what you know. So where was I? Where am I? I came to realize that even though I was questioning my testimony, yes, I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon, of the Atonement, of the existence of God, of the priesthood, of President Monson, of the truthfulness of the church and His gospel, but in terms of conversion---no. I felt as though my progression in the Gospel was one of being led by a cattle-prod; as I felt my testimony or the foundation upon which I was built begin to crumble, then I would begin to fortify, sincerely pray to my Heavenly Father, and then all was well again. However, the Lord is mindful. The week was riddled with many experiences that gave me opportunity to learn and to grow. First off, I cannot even begin to express how much I don't know Gospel wise, but also how much I lack when it comes to being a representative and disciple of Christ. We were able to have a wonderful testimony meeting on Sunday that was completely in Russian. I understood, was able to bear testimony, and testify that the Spirit does speak to every man in his own language and in His own tongue. My companion and I were able to both participate and give priesthood blessings this last week, feeling an abundance of the Lord's love for those individuals, his complete forgiveness, and the Hope that comes only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We experienced an incredible fireside where a brother of one of the seventies came and gave an entire hour's worth of the Prophet Joseph's life in the character of Willard Richards from the time Willard met him to the events shortly preceding the Prophet's death. When singing Praise to the Man following Willard's testimony, we one by one stood as we sang hails to that Prophet's name. All these and more were experiences I received this week to reaffirm my testimony, but the conversion was still not there. To become converted to Christ is to truly believe that he is, to believe he can do all he says He can do, to forgive yourself, to repent of your sins, to experience God's love and share that love with other through Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the answer to all of the problems any man anywhere may face. To be converted, is to partake of the redeeming and enabling power of the Atonement every single day and to get on your knees morning and night, pleading to come in to oneness with the will of our Father. To become converted is to become become perfected in Christ. This takes effort! And incredible amount of effort that will leave you never being satisfied with your present eternal self, but always, always, always remembering the hope from which all blessings flow. I still have a long ways to go till I will be converted completely and I do not know if it will be in this life. Everyday I struggle with the thorn that has been given me in the flesh...but that is how it is supposed to be lest any man boast by his own works that he alone is responsible for his salvation and perfection. We cannot do anything save it be by, through, and by using the Atonement of Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Begin today to serve him continually building upon his foundation. Continue to read his word, even the Book of Mormon, his gathering tool today. If you feel as though you cant or seemingly will never make it, just remember that all can partake of this Atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ

Love you all!

1 comment:

  1. We LOVE your blog!! It's so fun to see what you're up to and, btw, you are a most excellent writer! Hope all is well! Exciting to read what happens next, soon you'll be in another time zone! HA! <3 the Brysons!