Monday, October 1, 2012
The first, is the talk by one of my favorite speakers (and almost all missionaries favorite speaker) Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. His talk spoke to me and I understood a lot because of the scripture study that Ive have had the priviledge of doing! I actually studied the parabol that he spoke about not too long ago, and he helped me increase in my knowledge and understanding of this marvolous teaching story. The parabol of The Laborers in the Vineyard. I got to thinking when i was reading this passage and at first, like Elder Holland states, it is natural to think of the Master as injust and honestly, kind of a jerk! But then when you ponder about this story, you can feel the wisdom and power - the justice and mercy in the Masters decision to give all of the Laborers the same wage at the end of the day.
We need to think about this in our everyday lives. If we do, we will become far more greatful and start to appreciate the things that we have even more. At first when we think about our lives, we might see ourselves as the laborer who got chosen at the very first of the day. The laborers who are most likely the most physicaly fit, and able to do the jobs, as those are the people that would most likely get picked by the foreman who is looking for some workers and not just some kids to stand around all day. They will be looking for men who are probably looking a little on the rough side, but that they know have the strength and ability to work throughout the day in the hot sun and get the job done, and do it well. This we might think, is us, but sometimes, we need to look in the mirror more than once before we can really tell what we look like.
If we see ourselves as this person, great! There is nothing bad about that, other than the fact that we might be a little more toward the PROUD side and scooting a little farther away from the HUMILITY side... and that is something that we can not afford to do. We should be willing to be the first pick and have the strength to do the hard work throughout the day (or our lives) but we should not see ourselves as the best and be upset if we ARENT the ones who get picked first.
There are a couple more explanations about the other workers who got chosen to work that day, but i just want to focos on the two extremes. The first to get picked, and the last to get picked. The last to get picked had probably been waiting there all day, tired as heck, and just wanted to go home. But, they stayed to see if there was any possible way to get chosen and maybe make a little money for the day so that they could feed themselves, or maybe the family that is waiting at home. The finally chosen worked the rest of the day probably to their full potential and were tired from not a full days work, but work nonetheless.
Then came the sweet part of the story that we all need to learn from, the Master came out. The master lined all of the tired and wornout workers up and then to all of their surprise, gave them all the full days amount of pay. Now this is the part of the story that we can take things differently from. If we are more towards that pride side, we might think, "hey! i worked all day, and these other guys just worked a couple hours!!! How the heck is this fair that they get the same amount as me?" Or from the other side of the road, "Woah, this must be some kind of mistake, I only worked a couple hours, but recieved a full days pay, what a blessing." I can imagine some tears rolling down some cheeks as the tired men who only worked a couple hours reveived more than they ever hoped for. They would be able to eat/feed their families. They could go home feeling good and satisfied. Probably even a little confused still as to why they recieved such a blessing in their lives.
We know that these questions were asked and it was disputed as to why everyone got the same amount of money, the Master had one of the best responces that he could have given........“My friends, I am not being unfair to you. You agreed on the wage for the day, a good wage. You were very happy to get the work, and I am very happy with the way you served. You are paid in full. Take your pay and enjoy the blessing. As for the others,”.............how awesome was his love and compassion on everyone! And better yet, was he not 100% right? It surely WAS his money, his gift, to give to any and all that he saw worthy. What mercy and what a lesson that we have to learn from this glorious man!
I feel like this talk stuck out directly to me and i applied it directly to myself. Even if i didnt work that much and got to the field a little late, it is always up to the Lord to decide what blessings he will give, and when he will give them, to his children (workers). I know that I am not the best person in the world and that I have definitley done my fair share of wrong things in this world, but im trying to be better. Im trying to get to the field when my Lord and Master chose me and now I am ready and willing to work my hardest until the days end, but I know that our Lord is a merciful one and he will give the same gift to all men who work their hardest for him. It does not matter who we are, where we are, or what the circumstances, we can start now. We can offer ourselves up to the Lord so that we can be his workers. His laborers. We can work our hardest, and I dont think we can EVER do too much. At the close of the day, or of our lives, I suspect that while looking back on our lives, none of us will be expecting the wonderful and great things that lay in store for those who work with all of their might to share this work and build up the Lords kingdom. I want those blessings. I want to be worthy of those blessings. I love this work so much.
It is for this that I am on my mission. So that I can share what I KNOW to be true with as many people as I can. As often as I can. And I do know this work and this Church to be the one and only true church of God. Jesus Christ personally reigns as King and Ruler over this church and it is only through him and revelation that we know what we are supposed to do so that we can be worthy of those great gifts that are waiting to be seized by us.
I love you all. I love this work. I love the Lord, and I wish you all the best,
I haven't gotten any terrible news from anyone, so i assume everything is fine with all of you! I realized that it's been a little while since I've sent another big letter, so prepare yourself because here it comes!!!!!!!
Let's see... so incredibly much has happened from the last time I wrote, but my head is going crazy and I can't remember when anything happens, so this is in so specific order! A little bit after the transfer, Presidente called Elder Venâncio and I into his office to talk with us. He explained that he would be doing an emergency transfer and that he was going to put an Elder with us for a while... I'm not gonna lie... we didn't enjoy this idea very much! Usually when this happens it's because someone is going home and we immediately got sad and worried. We spent that night conversing about what might have happened and how we could help the Elder, but neither of us knew him very well. We got the Elder the next day and he was normal! He was acting normal as if it was just another area with another companion. I learned a lot that week. About the atonement, about this Elder (even some things that I really didn't want to ever know..), but also a lot about myself. I won't go into any details, but the Elder went home 4 days later. I learned some very valuable lessons that I hope to carry with me throughout my life. I learned how important it is to feel grief and sorrow and sometimes even humility for the things that we do wrong. It is through these feelings that we know the Spirit has left us because of something we, not He, has done wrong. It is through these feelings that we grow. It is when these feelings leave us that we can start to feel the Spirit of the Lord fall upon us again. If we never feel these things, we never had the Spirit in the first place...
So after that experience I felt more mature and now I'm even a little more informed on how the church works and how every consequence is for our own good. I'm so grateful for that. I know that I already told dad this, but I think one of the best feelings here on the mission is when you see people you baptize progress and keep firm in the faith. You watch them as their Spirit grows and gets strengthened. It is an absolute blessing to be here and for me to be able to witness and be a part of the things I'm seeing happen in the world. My faith gets strengthened every day that miracles are real and all we need to do is open our eyes if we want to see them.
I learned something the other day that I had never really thought about before. We, as members of the Church, all know that we have free agency and that it is the only thing that is really ours. Our Heavenly Father has this earth and everything on it, but we have our free agency. That is something He gave us that no one can take from us without our will, right? So with this law being that Heavenly Father cannot make us do things, but rather has to wait for us to choose the right, the same applies for blessings. WE have to choose the right. We have to know what's right. But also, we have to ask for the blessings that we need. We need to ask so that Heavenly Father knows that we are inviting Him to step in and help us out a little bit. The same principle that applies when we are looking for an answer for if something is true or not. We always have to ask. I use the following example a lot here:
You go into a supermarket to buy 3 things: bread, ice cream, and flour. You look for about 10 minutes but realize that in this huge supermarket you're never going to find it by yourself. You decide that you need help. So you find someone who works at the store and start to talk to them. You say, "I came here for 3 things, where are they?" But this will not help at all. You will be in the same spot that you were when you walked into the store. The worker will need to know what 3 things you are looking for before he can help you. The same applies with the principle of prayer and asking for answers/blessings. We need to ask specifically for the things that we are in need of, or else we run the risk of not allowing our Heavenly Father to give us the blessings that He is so willing and ready to give. There are many ways to branch this parable out into other sections of the gospel, but I'll leave it at that for now. :)
So just remember that lesson for this week and know that if we really are in need, and we ask specifically, He will not leave us alone. There is always a way to accomplish the things which He commandeth us.
This past P-Day (Saturday for me) was pretty cool! We were walking around trying to think of where would have the coolest stuff for the cheapest price, and we ran into Fernando Leite! He is a buddy of mine from my 2nd area (Torreão)! He started talking to us and asked if we had eaten yet. I didn't want to lie, so I told him we were going to go eat right then. He replyed saying Oh good! That means I can pay for you! I miss you eating at our house, so I'll give you lunch right now! We were right by the mall, so he took us to the food court and bought us lunch! I really miss him and his family a lot. They are such wonderful people with such good standards! We talked a ton that day about missions, life, after the mission, and everything in between. It was really nice to see him again and I'm greatful for the hand of the Lord in my life. It seems as if He always puts people there right when i need them.