Preparation in the CCM is still going strong. Unfortunately, I didn't write in my journal for a couple of days, and when I went back one night to try to write what happened, I couldn't remember many specifics. I am going to try to write at least something in my journal everyday from now on because it's tough to remember everything after it has passed. I'm kind of glad I learned my lesson now in the CCM instead of out in the mission field where it could have been worse.
We've just been working, studying, eating, and sleeping this past week so I don't have too much fun stuff to talk about. I did, however, learn a lot spiritualmente.
During my personal study one day, I studied and pondered on D&C 121:34-46. I've read it before, but it just kind of hit me even more this week that priesthood power is only manifest when the holder is using it righteously, and it's more than just keeping the commandments. Melchizedek Priesthood holders MUST turn outward and focus on blessing others instead of focusing on themselves. The promise in verses 45 and 46 are pretty awesome:
Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
The Lord promises us some amazing blessings, but these blessings won't come if we focus on ourselves. If we're too focused on how we will look with these blessings, we will never get them. Those who receive these promised blessings only get them after living principles of righteousness, and they will in turn use them to bless others.
Since President Pratt is out of town for the next couple weeks, Elder Octaviano Tenorio gave the MTC Presidency Class these past two Sundays. Last week he talked about personal revelation and being guided by the Holy Ghost. I will not share those stories at this time. This week, he talked about specific prayers. Together, we studied Genesis 24 where Abraham commands his servant to go find a wife for Isaac (or something like that more or less). In the chapter, the servant gives a very specific prayer in verses 12-14 in order to find the right wife, and long story short, everything he says in verse 14 comes to pass. Presidente Tenorio then shared several stories of people having similar experiences. 1) There was an Elder who left his backpack in a taxi that had money and ALL his pictures from the last year and a half of his mission. He was devastated and prayed to the Lord with a specific prayer. Long story short, he finds his backpack with everything with it. 2) A companionship of sister missionaries prayed one morning with a specific prayer. They prayed and asked God that the first man that asked for help they would help. They would then say that they were missionaries and they had a message for that man's family. Finally, they prayed that this man would have a family of 8. And it came to pass, that they helped a man with his car, they told him they had a message for him and his family, they went to his house later that night and found 10 chairs - 2 for them, and 8 for the family. 3) There was a young woman who had two boyfriends. She was getting very serious with one - nearly engaged - but didn't know what to do with the other. She prayed specifically and asked the Lord that whoever she should marry would do the following things: the "chosen one" would call atand tell her that he was reading his patriarchal blessing. He would then say that he knew it was talking about her and that they should marry. Well, it came to pass. One of the boys called, but it wasn't the one she was hoping for. Nevertheless, she dated him and are now happily married. When it is necessary, make specific prayers and have faith that they will come to pass.
I enjoyed our reunión sacerdocio (Priesthood Meeting) this pastas well. One of the Branch Couselors, Presidente Garduño, chastened us a lot for not using the mission language as much as we should be. He told us a story (en Español) and here is the basics in english: Once there were some chickens who wanted to learn how to fly. They found an eagle and asked him to teach them. The eagle accepted and began to teach the chickens how to fly. However, after the lessons were over, the chickens walked back home to their homes. Presidente Garduño said that we were being taught how to fly, but instead of flying home, we were still going back to our old ways and not applying what we learned. He committed us to use the mission language more this week, especially on Sundays during church meetings. He also went over the First Presidency Message for January 2014 which talked about goals. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the next best time is now. The best time to learn the gospel was in seminary, but if we didn't, we need to learn it now. The best time to learn Spanish was in high school (con Señora Olga Chandler, que horror), but if we didn't, then we need to learn it now. President Uchtdorf also talked about New Year's resolutions in his message. After reading the FPM and learning more from Presidente Garduño, I kind of wish that the world would get rid of New Year's celebrations. Too many people rely on this holiday that comes once every 365 days to create goals and when they don't follow up on January 2nd, they go back to the old bad habits. Goals should be created daily. Every day is a new beginning, and we don't have to wait until January 1st to change our lives for the better. I personally need to do a better job at pushing myself temporally and spiritually with effective daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
The MTC Devotional was given once again by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. He is awesome. He's so passionate about missionary work and he inspires us all. To quote a favorite of mine, his address wasn't great...it was fantastic! I'm going to copy my notes for all of you. They may not make sense since you didn't see the address, but hopefully you'll get something out of it:
- You're going to have a great 50 year ride after your mission
- It is a great time to be a missionary: hastening the work
- Prophets have written about our day...study it
- No dispensation ever succeeded including the Meridian Church
- this is the dispensation that WILL NOT FAIL! No, not this time!
- The Second Coming began in the spring of 1820
- you're in the middle of it
- You have to be a better missionary than I was
- you have to grow up overnight, be mature and bold
- you have to be your best...bring your A game
- You are COMMANDED to have at least one convert
- it better be YOU!
- you can't blame it on anybody if that doesn't happen
- Don't see me in a dark alley if you're an inactive RM...(I'll chasten you) (Everyone started laughing after he said this)
- I can't take this halfheartedly because it means so much to me
- Invest in yourself for your sake and for God's sake
- Teach the lessons from your heart
- You have to teach the gospel His way...It's Preach My Gospel, not preach your gospel
- Don't whine why you have to follow the rules
- The only way you can Preach His Gospel is through the Spirit
- The only way you can have the Spirit is to KEEP THE RULES!
- "They taught with power and authority"
- You are God's investigators...keep the rules and if not, REPENT...the mission rules are primary level
- Helaman 5:17-19...power and authority
- Mosiah 27:11,18...astonished
- Go out to the mission field and astonish people!
- Astonish = tondra or thunder
- it might not be thunder for you, but it will be thunder for your investigators
- Preaching His Gospel by the Spirit takes your best effort
- Convert yourself, obey the rules, strive for the spirit, work hard
- if you do these things, then you're successful
- Adison Pratt, Dan Jones, Matthew Cally
- perhaps the 3 greatest missionaries in this dispensation
Elder Holland's address was from a year ago, and at the end he said the dedicatory prayer for the three MTC buildings named after these three men. Even though it was said a year ago, you could feel the spirit so strongly and feel the power behind his words. It also led me to think how organized this church is and how much work that is behind everything: creating PMG, Distribution Centers, MTC's around the world, Temples, Temple Visitors Centers, Ward and Stake Chapels, etc etc etc etc etc. This is truly the Lord's work, and we are instruments in His hands.
We finished night by watching the Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration. If you haven't seen it, I invite you to watch it. It's amazing to see what great service Joseph Smith has performed for everyone, but this isn't the church of Joseph Smith; this is the Church of Jesus Christ y por medio de Su Expiación, nosotros podemos ser limpios de nuestros pecados y regresar a Nuestro Padre Celestial. (I had to try to get at least some Spanish in)
I hope all you have a wonderful week. I invite all of you to make personal goals (for whatever aspect of your life) and take the relevant steps to achieve them. If you don't live up to your goals, you don't have to wait until January 1st...everyday is a new day to become the person both you and your Heavenly Father wants you to become.