The Splitting of the Fellowship-- Week 63
Something I forgot to mention last week:
Elders Bradshaw and Lo'Amanu are now living in our house. They're back from Amanu, a crazy island of 80 people, 12 members, 1 car, and lots of rei reis. They have been living with us as we've been sorting out where to put them as well as the creation of a new ward in our stake. Sunday we had a big sacrament meeting with all 3 wards (Papeete 1 and 2 and Fariipiti), and we created the new ward of Orovini; in which Bradshaw and Lo'Amanu will be serving.
My craziest stories for the week were when I was on a split (as usual) with Bradshaw. Taught the most ridiculous temple lesson of my life. Wasn't even a lesson; the investigator would "pose a question" that would turn into an entire story and then the member would answer it with an entire story, and then then another member would spoil the subjects of the presentation, and then I'd be like, "... Well here's this video we want to show you..." It was really silly. Then no sooner have we walked out of the building but we find this lady lying on a bench who was definitely not all there. We asked her if she needed help and she scoffed at us and said that it's not worth asking because she's never alone and was ranting about how close to the Lord she is. She quoted us scriptures every other sentence and said how she was a rebel and held eye contact with us for awkward stretches of time (with big ol' Nicolas Cage crazy eyes), standard really. We said a prayer with her and left. Then we went back to our house and this new convert from another island stopped by to ask us when sacrament was the next day, and then he casually informed us that his son (who was with him) apparently had two hearts (and that's why they were in town; for the hospital and stuff).
Tuesday we watched the Studio C Face to Face that the church did, and it was just really nice. This one lady in there talked about how we don't apply the atonement to enough aspects of our lives, and had a really good quote that I honestly forgot... up to you guys to go watch it I s'pose. But at any rate it ended up coming in handy on Friday...
Wednesday I found a scripture for you guys (the one at the end of the email). I will paraphrase and use the alternate Greek wording, but I must say it was really striking when I read it.
Thursday we went to the temple and it helped me a lot; which is really ironic because...
Friday morning was rather stressful for a few reasons, and I spent like 40 minutes pouring my heart out in prayer (instead of preparing for a 30 minute training I was supposed to give within the hour or so), and that's when the whole Studio C quote came into play. I couldn't tell you guys all of the many things I said, and honestly it would kind of kill the chance that I want everyone to have to study this and figure this out for themselves, but I definitely (through all the praying, scriptures read, and the actual giving of the training) say I understand the atonement in a much deeper sense.
In Mosiah 4:6 and a bit of 7, King Benjamin talks about God's bounty and mercy and power and stuff, and he talks about how if we've been brought to a knowledge of this and the atonement, and we keep the commandments and perservere and all, we'll totes receive salvation. I had read this scripture before and had already marked certain lines in there, but there was a whole new perspective hidden in that verse that I'd never considered.
Benjamin also said, when talking about the atonement, that "salvation will come thusly to whosoever puts his confidence in the Lord in this way" (not word for word, I am translating the sense of this from my French scriptures that are sitting in front of me). The crux of my whole training was Mosiah 4:6-8, and what I found so striking was the fact that not once does he say anything about repenting of our sins or anything like that. And thusly came the theme of my whole thing:
The Atonement is the key to the Plan of Salvation (or rather, the key to Our Salvation), but not in the way we expect.
We're told often that the atonement was done for more than just our sins, it's also for our weakness and our sadness and all that. But how often do we apply that?
Christ suffered all things so that we'd never have to be alone. So do we use it in all things? Do we use it to keep the Lord with us at all times? Do we put confidence in Him and His atonement in that sense? Do we offer up our problems to Him and ask for His help in all things? Do we recognize that no one can be truly happy without these things?
We may think that other people are happy, maybe even really happy, but the fact of the matter is that an actual fulness of joy can never ever be felt by someone who hasn't come to a knowledge of these things. We'll always be missing something that we had before (that is to say, in the life before this one). Part of our salvation is being happy, and no one can truly receive that aspect of their salvation (or their salvation in general) without the atonment. And frankly, no one can receive their salvation without receiving a fulness of joy. Thusly, in a sense, our salvation comes through and can be achieved through daily use of the atonement.
My invitation to you (and to everyone I gave the training to) is to further reasearch the atonement (specifically through prayer) and use it more fully in our lives. The Lord really did this for all things, so use it for all things. Confide in Him all your sadness and burdens, speak more openly in prayer, believe more fully that these problems can be fixed through the atonement (even if you don't fully understand how) and apply the atonement so that you're never alone. Have confidence in Him in this way, and I testify that you will see amazing things start to happen in your life. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
"Go thou thy way till the end... thou shalt rest... and rise unto your destiny."