My Wonderful Family,
I send my best wishes across the miles and hope that everything will go well for the holiday. It sounds like everyone is doing well. I know that the Lord is constantly overseeing my family and it is a great comfort and consolation. Please send my concern and love to the Whitney family. May they find comfort in this time.
Elaine and Oliver as well as another woman named Marcela were baptized this week. Marcela was baptized Friday and we have seen how the family that participated with her as well as Marcela have changed tremendously. They are member missionaries with a load of desires. We married Elaine and Oliver in a pueblito because it was much easier for them as well as us. So Saturday we left at 9 in the morning and returned around 5 with a wedded couple. They were baptized Sunday after church. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is cool! Pictures of Elaine and Oliver. I have to get pictures of Marcela´s baptism so forgive me on that one.
I second what Grant has said about patience as well as faith. We receive line upon line and we are molded day by day. The majority of the time I believe we do not recognize it but as we live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we come to understand in greater degrees what it truly means to be a child of God who is capable of divine help each and every day. I have thought a lot about repentance the past few weeks and I would like to comment about the significance of this topic for me. The purpose of our lives is to prepare to meet God. In order to do so, we stop doing what is wrong and we do what is right. We show our faith by ceasing to do what is wrong in order to do what is right. This process of repentance has hit me very strongly. How many things in my life are not in harmony with the commandments of God? It doesn´t matter what it is, if it does not allow me to do what the Lord has commanded then it is not worth my efforts. The purpose of our lives is to put our will in harmony with that of God through repentance. What an amazing principle!
I realized that many of the things that I pause to think about or the things that occupy the minds of those whom we teach really are of little importance. I have seen people who will not open the door to their heart to hear the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ because their work does not permit it. Or because they have to go to the store to buy new shoes. Or because they have studied the scriptures thoroughly and there is no way that two young missionaries are going to teach them anything. Sure, some may say that it is life. We live in an imperfect world. But this form of thinking never brought happiness to the human family nor salvation. I am amazed at the great pride of this world. I really appreciated what Grant said relative to the story of the tree and his investigators. For us to listen with open hearts, does the Lord have to take away everything that we have? Does the Lord have to bring us to the dust in order for us to notice how foolish we had been with the end that we will turn to Him? We speak to people everyday who for whatever reason, are too busy for the things of God. They are too busy to spend time with their families. They are not capable of change. How hard Satan works to hide the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It is the news that are lives are meant to be filled with joy. What is a job? The means to provide the basic necessities of life. The basic necessities of life. If this alone was implemented in the lives of people across the world, we would have a very different perspective of what is most important.
President Monson says in one of his talks that ¨we should never let a problem to be solved become more important than someone to be loved¨. When the prophet of God says never, I believe that it is an all encompassing word. There is nothing more important than the salvation of the people of this world. We are not working for the salvation of your car, house, dog, food, education, health, or anything else, but rather for your personal happiness and salvation alongside that of your family and the world. I reflect upon how often we truly contemplate the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Are we brought to our knees in great humility as we talk, walk, and live as He did? Do we consider the Atonement of the Savior of the world? Are we brought to a recognition of who we really are when we rise in the morning? For all these questions I respond that I want to be better. I will walk as He walked. I will do what He did. I will become as He is so that I will have the joy that I seek in my life and the eternal happiness in the world to come.
With my thoughts I ask the question to all that read this of ¨what is really most important in this world?¨ Be honest with yourself. Don´t excuse yourself or cast the blame on anyone else. Consider sincerely what is of most importance and if it is not your personal salvation, that of your family, and of the whole human race, you know what is needed. I say this with the greatest admonition of love for I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I know that He was completely obedient the will of His Father. He was resurrected the third day and suffered for our sins so that we would have the ability to have happiness and joy here and in the world to come. The Savior of mankind did not suffer on the cross so that we would piddle away our time in things of little importance. He died to break the bands of death and sin so that we could be happy. He did not die to provide us with wealth, power, or prestige. He died to save us from death and sin. For Him I am eternally grateful.
I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. To bring us happiness, He gives us families and teaches them His Gospel through prophets. I know that if we hearken to what these prophets say, we will always have the peace of the Gospel in our lives. It is my testimony as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ that He lives and leads and guides His Church through Thomas S. Monson, His living prophet. May we always be more resolved today than yesterday to hearken to His counsels and receive the joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer.
Elder Sean Russell