Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week 53!!!

Hi, Mom. We didn't have a lot of "Work" this past week, because of our Zones Conference on Monday and Tuesday, as well as General Conference on Saturday and Sunday. However, the Conference Talks (despite how we were kinda forced to watch them in Spanish instead of English) got me really fired up to give it 110% this coming week. I have to admit, it's feels extremely different not seeing President Packer, Elder Perry, and Elder Scott on the stand. It's hard to believe that President Packer had served alongside President Monson for nearly 50 years. I believe that he indeed both sanctified and fulfilled his calling as an Apostle and a servant of the Lord. To have had the blessing and privilege of shaking the hand oh such a remarkable man (even though it's a little hard to remember, me being so young when it happened) is something that has blessed my life. I look forward to hearing the talks of the three new Apostles throughout the years to come as they sanctify their callings as Divine Seers and Revelators, as President Packer, Elder Perry, and Elder Scott have done before they passed on. I especially love how these men all had such powerful, touching testimonies of the infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Many don't know this, but before my mission, I had a very small testimony. I used to feel almost ashamed, especially being surrounded by all these missionaries with all these amazing stories of how they had obtained the testimonies that they have now. So, I spent hours each morning studying, meditating, and pondering the significance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the purpose that it had of my life, personally. Up until now, I cannot say that I do not feel worthy enough to testify of the Atonement. The reason I say that is because I have come to know and feel the cleansing power of the Atonement, and how it has been able to help me see how my Lord and my God has called me as His respesentative and His messenger for two years. To sacrifice two measly years of my life here on Earth in exchange to be a representative of Jesus Christ during that time is something that I don't believe I will ever forget. Looking back at some of the talks, I remember hearing a talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks about the Atonement. Broken down, the Atonement says "At-One-Ment", which defined by the Latin Roots means, "The process of being 'at one' with". Some believe that the reason that Jesus bled from every pore in the Garden of Gethsemane is because He took upon Him our sins, imperfections, and infermities all at once. This isn't true. Jesus Christ bled from every pore, because ONE BY ONE He took upon Him EACH of our sins, imperfections, and infermities. Through analyzation, our Savior made this sacrifice for (what I have found to be) three reasons: (1) To complete the Law of Moses AKA the Law of Sacrifice, and make it so we, as His disciples, no longer have to offer physical "blood" sacrifices, but rather spiritual sacrifices of a broken heart, a contrite spirit, and sincere desires to Come Unto Him. (2) To overcome Spiritual Death, and allow us to have the privilege to repent of our sins, and be forgiven, as opposed to simply believing that "if I have faith that Christ will save me, that He will save me". (3, which I find to be the most important) To fulfill His role that He had accepted before coming to this Earth as our SAVIOR, and our REDEEMER. Through this sacrifice, He showed His Father and each and every one of us that HE KNOWS US. He knows our hopes, our dreams, our fears, and through the Atonement, our sins and imperfections. He loves us, and He sacrificed His life here on Earth for us, so that we, as His brothers and sisters, His followers, and His "children" may be able to return to live with Him someday, and be able to return to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father. As I have come to realize this, it's become hard not to cry from how merciful and how loving my Savior and Redeemer is for me, personally. Despite the sins that I have committed, despite my limitations, my imperfections, and my weaknesses, He still loves me, and He still believes that I am able to sanctify the calling that He has given me at this time, as a representative and messenger of His Restored Church. I'm so very grateful for the extremely strong testimony that He has blessed me with, and I'm grateful for how much He trusts me to hasten His Great and Marvelous Work. I love you guys so much, and I'm so thankful for all of your guys' prayers and help throughout this past year that I've been in Ecuador. I have plans to buy an SD Card Reader-Adaptor in a couple of weeks, so be sure to look forward to some awesome pictures!!! Thanks so much guys, I love you a ton, and keep waxing strong in the Gospel!!!

Con Sinceridad y Amor,

Elder Conner Duane "Poderoso" Parke

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