This past week did not have much, but those things within were significant. One family who is less active doesn't go to church because they feel hypocritical since they drink and smoke. They have given up hope of changing it. We didn't have much time to teach them since there house was way farther than we were anticipating, but we were able to learn more about them and will schedule another time with them in the near future. I learned a lesson this past week: We are saved by what is in our hearts. We are weak and imperfect, so we stand condemned to the justice and wrath of God, and yet the mercy of the atonement of Christ can heal us. The thing that makes the mercy come is the intent of the heart. If we have challenges and we desire with all our hearts to fight them and overcome the sin, then God's hand will help us along with mercy, but when we come to the point of accepting sin and embracing, thinking that God will overlook such with any allowance, we are wrong, and by our evil desires to embrace sin in our hearts, do we stand condemned before God, fully exposed to justice. The heart makes the difference. I am not perfect, and far from, yet with the desire of my heart to change and forsake can I come unto Christ, the healer, the shepherd, and advocate. We are going to ask them in our next appointment where there heart and lies and if they still are fighting the temptations and doing their best, with faith in Almighty God that He can intervene. We must not accept sin, but accept that we are weak and not perfect, and that through the beloved grace of God are we made whole.
This week we were able also to head up to the Australian Capital territory for a zone meeting, consisting of missionaries serving in a large area of the mission. Great things were taught, including the need of good planning, and not necessarily good plans. It all goes to the effort and intent, having a vision, and planning a way to put forward that vision. That is the essence of missionary work and our growth. General Conference was a great, inspired, wonderful opportunity to hear the words of Christ through His appointed servants, and yet it is vain unless we plan to act on those things taught, and how can we do so unless plans are established. Behold, was not the plan of salvation and the creation of the world and its purposes planned "before the foundation of this world" as stated in the scriptures? What great planning must have been done, and that plan is working perfectly. If God plans out such, should not we, mere mortals, plan out our very actions and ways to achieve that which is ever so important. God gives us the vision through a patriarchal blessing and the plan of salvation. I love the words of Carlos A. Godoy: “If we continue to live as we are living, will the promised blessings be fulfilled?” Now we must live with those goals in mind, and by doing so we destroy the power of the adversary by putting the results in the long run as priority instead of momentary satisfaction, pleasure, and even temporal peace. Effective planning, and not just plans, is what brings us in line with who we can and ought to become.
Also discussed in the zone training meeting was the importance of working with members and how we can improve the relationship between the members and the missionaries, telling them about investigators and their progress. I loved how the zone leaders words were sustained by the talk by Elder Chi Hong Wong called "Rescue in Unity", for we must all work in unity and harmony, putting our faith together and our cause together. The scriptures declare:
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ;
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
Surely, we as saints of the church of God must come in unity, and that unity is not just "Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and this church is the true church", but rather, that we become unified in our actions, thoughts, and labors for Almighty God, unified together even as we are to be unified with Jesus Christ. Missionary work needs the members and missionaries to be unified, for how can a divided house stand, even, a divided missionary effort?
And lastly, evident with the quotations, we had General Conference this weekend, a truly inspired message. I loved the speakers and the topics chosen; they truly prayerfully planned that which they have spoken unto us. It was amazing, and it was interesting how a theme of this conference was to look upon the scriptures of old AND the words of the modern prophets - even an invitation to really focus on the words of Christ spoken in general conference and other published words by them.
I loved the words that showed ways for our personal improvement. I definitely have room for improvement, and to think for a moment otherwise would be a sad day, for such a day is a day of a lie, for the end is still yet to come. I will continually ponder their words and I know that through the spirit great things are made manifest, and that is because God understands all things, and wants us to know it too. I have learned so much as a missionary and I am grateful to have this humbling opportunity to serve the Lord, and to see that man is nothing compared to God, and yet we are everything to Him. Of these things I testify of in the name of our Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ. Amen.