Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Elder May: Chapter 95

As the weeks draw nearer to closing, I have noticed that missionaries are entirely focused.  Elder Hayden has had another baptism and is working with several other towards baptism; time gets away from them on p-day much quicker than earlier on in their mission.  For this week he sent me a talk that he just gave last week.  I was very touched by his testimony at the end especially with his conversion and the reason he decided to go on his mission so I thought I would share.  We miss him and love him but are oh so proud of him… Enjoy!!

Testimony of Jesus Christ
Elder Hayden May - February 18, 2018

Today, like many days of my life, especially being a missionary, I’d like to talk about someone who has changed my life. The man for whom the scriptures are written. 

No possible way that I could present His name would be suitable to help us understand how truly important he is in our lives. He is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He came here with a divine purpose, one that none of us could fulfill.

In the Book of Mormon Christ teaches the people the purpose of why He came to this world. “13 I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. 14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil--15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works. 16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.”

Those four verses from 3rd Nephi 27 teach a powerful lesson about the purpose of the Redeemer. He came for many reasons, but one is that we may repent. Repentance is one of the most misunderstood and most charitable words in all of the Christian vocabulary. In these verses Christ teaches that Him being lifted up on the cross allowed Him to bring everyone unto him so we can be judged and He can allow us to be guiltless before the Father. 

One of my favorite hymns teaches this truth as well (Hymn 101 - "Guide Me To Thee")

“Through this dark world of strife,
Guide me to thee.
Teach me a better life.
Guide me to thee.
Let thy redeeming pow’r
Be with me ev’ry hour.
Be thou my safety tow’r.
Guide me to thee.”

Through the redemptive power of Christ he can always be with us. He can guide us and help us to live a better life. I, like most of you, have personally felt the joy of repentance. I know that this is why Christ came. Without His sacrifice we would all be stuck, stagnant, and the Plan of Salvation would be frustrated. 

Boyd K Packer, one of the modern apostles, spoke of the Atonement of Christ powerfully shortly before he passed away. He said, “The Savior wrought the Atonement, which provides a way for us to become clean. Jesus Christ is the resurrected Christ. We worship and recognize Him for the pain He suffered for us collectively and for the pain He endured for each of us individually, both in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. He bore all with great humility and with an eternal understanding of His divine role and purpose.

Those who will repent and forsake sin will find that His merciful arm is outstretched still. Those who listen to and heed His words and the words of His chosen servants will find peace and understanding even in the midst of great heartache and sorrow. The result of His sacrifice is to free us from the effects of sin, that all may have guilt erased and feel hope.”

My last story I have chosen to speak about is about the purpose and reason of the mission of our Savior Jesus Christ. I speak reverently about His suffering in the Garden. 

“36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” He came back after an our then “42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” Walked back to his disciples, then “he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.” 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, suffered the will of the Father in all things. Only He truly understands what each of us is going through because He felt that pain. Alma taught about this pain Christ felt and why He needed to. “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” 

Again quoting Boyd K. Packer, “The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us, bears no scars. That means that no matter what we have done or where we have been or how something happened, if we truly repent, [the Savior] has promised that He would atone. And when He atoned, that settled that. …

“… The Atonement … can wash clean every stain no matter how difficult or how long or how many times repeated”

Do we honestly believe that? Do we think the Atonement of Jesus Christ can heal our hearts? Do we believe that our souls can be saved because someone else already has come to save us? If not, please know that you can receive help from your spouse, home teachers, priesthood leaders and Father in Heaven. But if we do, then we need to live that belief. We need to allow that change to come upon us. We need to have our sins be remitted by through true and complete repentance. We have the right to do so and God wants us to exercise that right. 

In closing, I’d like to share a story from my life. I, like many missionaries, grew up in the Church and enjoyed the life of Primary, Young Men’s and other activities available as a young Latter Day Saint. As I neared mission age however I started caring less about going to serve. I felt as though I didn’t have a good reason to. About the time I turned 19, my bishop started wanting to meet with me to help me prepare for a mission because he knew I needed to go even if I didn’t know that. Being an arrogant teenager, I told my bishop that I felt sincerely that I didn’t need to go. I could go to school, get married and be happy while not going on a mission. He sort of chuckled and basically told me that I must not understand repentance then and from that point on in our interviews we studied what repentance was and why it is important. We studied together about who Christ is and why he came. We read scriptures and I thought, “well this is all neat but why should I have to go on a mission?” 

One of the meetings, my bishop shared this scripture from the Book of Mormon with me.

“8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah. 

9 Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved. 

10 And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement--“

It was then that I realized how little of a knowledge people have about Christ in this world. Without Him, no one can dwell in the presence of God. No one can be clean. Because of Him we don’t need to feel the guilt and burden and weight of the world on our shoulders that comes with carrying loads of the stresses of life. 

Christ has said, “28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I have a firm testimony that He is telling us the truth. I have felt the lightening of the load in my life.

This is why I am on a mission right now and why I want to continue to do missionary work after the mission. I have felt the power of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ and I feel it daily as I repent for big and little things. I want others to feel this love. I want others to repent. I want others to feel clean from the heartaches that sin can cause. I want them to be lifted up and be baptized so they can receive the sanctifying power of the gift of the Holy Ghost. I want to see my brothers and my sisters of this eternal family of ours, gathered together for a family home evening in the celestial kingdom of our Heavenly Father. He who knows all things and has prepared for all things by using His holy and Heavenly Son, who is our Advocate with the Father. I share this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Elder May: Chapter 92

"Tiny Tie Knots"
 Elder May is closing in on the last transfers.  He will have this one and this is it.  Where he ends up is where he will be for the remainder of his mission.  He is very excited and anxious to learn where he is finishing.  Keep him in your prayers that he will be placed in the best place for him.  Love him, miss him but oh, so proud of him!  

Week 92:
I don’t have much time for a weekly email but I can give an update on some stuff.  

Sandy is set to go for baptism on the 10th! She’s been reading and praying and has learned all that she needs to. What a baller! 

We met a guy this week that was a pretty cool contact. He walked up to us and shook our hands and said “hey guys, where are you from?” I said “Arizona, and the Church of Jesus Christ.” He thought we were cool as we were talking so he asked if he could come to church. My companion told him that we were only in the neighborhood for a little bit while waiting to give another set of missionaries a ride home from a lesson in which they were preparing a lady for baptism. He asked “wait you guys do Baptisms too? I’ve been wanting to get baptized!” We told him we could help with that and he gave us his address. The address was the house we parked in front of to start walking and also the address is the home of a Member we had visited when I first got to this area. He is excited to start meeting with us but went to North Carolina for training for work and then he is wanting to get to learning. 

We did a lot of service this week. One in particular is a Members house that is being overrun with plants and stuff he has kept over the years. It is a huge project that is a nice break from constantly talking to random people about the restoration over and over. It has been fun to go by his house, (plus he buys us lunch each time we go by). 

John “Five Guys” bought us dinner at Five Guys again and came to church like a champion. He had a good time at the third hour meeting. He’s pretty awesome. 

Transfers are next week so I will let you all know what is going on after I hear.  

I love you all and will talk to you next preparation day! Bye!

Beautiful Sunset

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Elder May: Chapter 91

This is my favorite time in the missionary journey.  They are so consumed with what they are doing that their letters are shorter and they are optimistic and self-assured.  Elder Hayden is doing so well and working hard.  We miss him and love him more, but we are oh, so proud of him!

Chapter 91

1) Sandy is excited for baptism.
2) Sandy came to church and so did John.

Things are going well here in Providence! We have a few people that are excited to learn and progress. A few of them are now daily reading the Book of Mormon and if anyone does that they will know it is true and get baptized. One of those people is Sandy.

After a great lesson about the restoration of the gospel she finally understood why the Book of Mormon is important and she is now reading and praying every day. She feels like she has learned Joseph Smith is a prophet and is set to be baptized on the 10th of February. She also came to church and we think she also went to a standards night afterwards. So cool!

Then we had our other really cool investigator come to church. He is really cool because anytime we meet with him he buys us Five Guys, it’s a good burger place, and then we sit and talk for a little while. We think he is reading the Book of Mormon but don’t know for sure. We are going to talk about baptism with him this week. I’ll keep you updated on that.

Other things happened too but I don’t remember all of them. That happens the longer you are on a mission. I am having fun though and enjoying my time.   

My testimony grows stronger and stronger as I continue to see miracles and tender mercies.  God love each of us and know us all.  I love you all.