|Arriving at MLC with the Salzburg Zone Leaders|
Sherry had little time today so she just sent me a quick note and then sent this talk she gave this week. I'm attaching a few photos from Mission Leadership Conference via Sister Miles. Oh, and yes she bought the red lederhosen last week! =)
|Mission Leadership Conference group|
|MLC enjoying breakfast|
|MLC enjoying Hawaiian Haystacks for lunch!|
This week one of the Elder's Investigators was baptized (first baptism she has seen on her mission!) and I had the privilege of giving a talk at her baptism! I thought I'd share it with you for my email home this week.
There once was a caterpillar who lived in a beautiful garden. He loved his life, his friends, his experiences in the garden. Spring turned into summer as he cherished every splendid moment there. Soon the summer melted into autumn and the caterpillar knew he had to build himself a cocoon and spend the winter months tucked safely away in his deep sleep.
As the last of the snow melted, the caterpillar emerged from his cocoon different than before. He had changed. He had become a beautiful butterfly.
But this butterfly, too afraid of what may lay ahead of his comfortable garden, never flew. He spent his days inching around like the caterpillar he once was, never to know the splendid beauties and adventures awaiting him.
In the Book of Mormon we learn that the natural man is an enemy to God. This scripture teaches us that the definition of a "natural man" is someone who chooses contrary to God's will. The natural man is a sinner.
I think the word "sin" has a bad reputation. When I think of sin, sometimes I associate it with hell-fire, torture, sometimes the word damnation comes to mind...
If we don't understand the true notion of sin, then it is very difficult to grasp what repentance and forgiveness really are.
Sin is making a choice contrary to the will of God, and knowing we are doing so. We find the will of God taught to us in many places. We know his will through the commandments, counsel of prophets both ancient and modern, and inspiration we receive through the promptings of the Holy Ghost. When we choose contrary to this knowledge, we sin.
Just as a new mother knows raising her child won't be 100% picture perfect, our Father in Heaven knew we wouldn't be perfect obedient Spirit children on this earth either.
In face in the before-mentioned scripture we learn that not only is the natural man an enemy to God, but he has been since the time of Adam and "will be forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord."
President Packer taught, "It was understood from the beginning that in mortality we would fall short of being perfect. It was not expected that we would live without transgressing one law or another...A mediator, a Redeemer, was chosen, one who would live His life perfectly, commit no sin, and offer 'himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirits and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.' "
A lot of times, we, like the caterpillar I spoke of earlier, don't comprehend that in actuality we are a butterfly. The price is paid, the deed is done, the Savior atoned for your sins.
But just as a butterfly won't attempt to fly if she lives as a caterpillar, we can not live our potential if we don't repent. Though the price was paid and the change was made, we will not utilize that change if we don't repent.
Just as a butterfly must remain in constant motion to fly, we must continue in repentance throughout our lives. What an exciting gift of promise we have to continue in repentance being who we were destined to become. How comforting it is to know that the fresh start at baptism does not only happen at baptism, but can be felt weekly as we partake of the sacrament, and daily as we pray to our Father in Heaven.
Never be afraid to repent, as repentance is not a punishment but an opportunity.
Other than the baptism, there's not much to talk about. Things are moving forward and we are seeing miracles. This really is the work of God and I am so grateful to be a part of it!
I love all of you at home so much! My greatest desire for all of you is to enjoy the sweet blessings that turning around and repenting brings. It's never too late and it's never too great!
Sending you love from Italy & Austria,