Hello, and how is everyone doing? I can’t believe it is the middle of October! I just love the Fall; it is DEFINITELY my favorite season, and I hope you are all enjoying it.
Last week we had Concilio! I love meeting with all of the missionaries from the mission and the opportunity to have this conference with all of them and talk about how we can improve things in the mission, how we can strengthen our testimonies, and how we can be better servants and representatives of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that President Dayton is so inspired and received revelation for each and every one of us.
Our friend, Yubelkis, from Nicaragua finally came to church! Yes! We have been trying to get her to come to church for about two months now, but every time she had something going on or she accidentally missed the bus or she had to work, etc. But she finally came, and she loved the feeling there was in the church and other things that she learned. We have taught her all of the lessons and she is so excited for her baptism on October 31st! Please keep her in your prayers.
This past week I went on an Intercambio in Girona with Hermana Gregory. I love Hermana Gregory! I actually lived with her on Valencia when she first came into the mission and was in training. It was so fun to see how much she has grown! I was able to do an exchange with her in her area and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of the people there. There truly is a special spirit in Girona and I just loved it! We went to a family home evening that night with a Uruguayan/Paraguayan family of 5 girls and 2 boys. They are all members of the church, but a few of the older siblings are a little inactive. We decided to talk about the importance of the scriptures. We had everyone imagine that they were flying in an airplane, but that all of a sudden, the engine went out and they were told from the pilot that the plane was going to crash in five minutes, and that there was nothing he could do. We gave each of them a piece of paper and set a timer and told them that for the next 5 minutes they all had to write their very last words. It could be to their family, friends, other loved ones, future generations … whoever they wanted, and this would be their very last words in this mortal life. Eventually the timer went off, the five minutes ran out; "the plane had crashed" and there were no survivors. News was spread about the accident, and we pretended to be the news crew and the search and rescue recovery team that came to check out the plane. We were saddened by the realization that everyone had died, and as we were looking around, we saw all of the pieces of paper throughout the entire crash site. We collected all of the pieces of paper and began to look at them. We started picking up some of the daughters' papers, the mother's paper and the father's paper, and read of some of their names and their final words. We acted indifferent to the things they had written, and said things such as, "Hmm … who is Perla? Don't know, don't care.", "Look, I found one here that was written by a Hermana Gregory? Oh well, it must not be that important.", "There are so many random papers here, I don't want them, I don't have time for this … what should we do, just toss them?". We began to crumble and rip some of their papers. As we did this, you could see the shock on their faces and the pain in the eyes, their hearts breaking. They all immediately started shouting out, "HEY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! That's mine! That was very special and sacred to me, and you just act like it's nothing!?" or "WAIT, NO! People were supposed to read those! Those are my VERY last words! Letters to my loved ones, my testimony, my desires and dreams!"
At this moment, we stopped and began to explain. We explained that the scriptures are so very sacred and important; not only to God, but to the prophets and apostles who wrote them. We find that many times in the scriptures, especially in the Book of Mormon, the prophet's final words are written in the middle of a war or when they are close to their death. Don't you think their VERY last words have to be some of the most important things that they wanted people to hear and remember? We shared some examples that are found in the Book of Mormon. For example …
Last words of Enos:
"And I saw that I must soon go down to my grave, having been wrought upon bythe power of God that I must preach and prophesy unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ. And I have declared it in all my days, and have rejoiced in it above that of the world.
And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen." (Enos 1:26-27)
Last words of Moroni:
"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen." (Moroni 10:32-34)
I know that the scriptures are the words of our Eternal Father in Heaven through his called prophets. They are like one big, giant love note from Him to all of us. What a blessing it is to be able to read a little bit from them each and every day. I invite you all to reflect on your own faith and where your testimony really lies. I cannot testify to you enough how vital and essential daily scripture study is in our lives. It has changed my life, and I know it will change your life. You will never lose your testimony if you are at least reading something … every day … I promise you. God loves you and can answer your prayers through His sacred words found in the scriptures.