|Elder Coleman LOVES durian!! He says the obsession is real!|
This week was great, as usual. It's way nice to be out here and have the opportunity to study the scriptures/gospel every morning. It's an incredibly revelatory experience. Every morning I get new insights on the gospel I didn't have the previous day. Suffice it to say that thanks to the talks and the scriptures I've been reading lately, my entire perspective on the gospel has changed over the last week or so.
At Zone Conference in February, President Mains challenged us to all read the Book of Mormon and study it focusing on the Doctrine of Christ (see the talk "Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar to know what I mean about reading the Book of Mormon on a topic). This week I had an I had an interesting realization. Repentance and obedience are sister principles, almost interchangeable. We could say the gospel/ doctrine of Christ is faith, obedience, the sacrament/baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost as we live our covenants, then enduring to the end. Repentance is there for when we make mistakes, but in reality repentance and obedience are constantly switching roles as we mortals take steps forward and backward all the time. We live, and naturally make mistakes and then repent and then obey / go forward again. Pretty great.
I'm discovering that, at this point, the Lord uses me very effectively to find people, but I'm not yet up to par with helping people progress. Of course everyone has their agency, but I still need to learn better skills in regards to helping people take steps towards baptism. Every now and then I get a bit discouraged with my own personal faults and weaknesses, but I really love Elder Klebingat's advice from the last General Conference: we should acknowledge but not be paralyzed by our weaknesses. I think that's an important principle of life - to keep pushing on in the face of or in spite of our weaknesses.
My sister goes home from her mission in Russia next Tuesday. My family is understandably excited beyond anything else. It's going to be weird to be the only full-time missionary in the family. I don't really know what to think about the whole thing other than it's making me come to terms with the fact that my mission is coming to its close. I'm going to work as hard as I possibly can, but I think I'm in denial it's almost over. Something that is a major blessing for me, Maddy and I haven't always been the closest, we often times would clash when we were back at home. But my mom sent what my sister's companion said about her last week, and I'm coming to realize that my sister and I have become quite similar missionaries in terms of our strengths and weaknesses!! I think the Lord has changed us on our mission experiences so we can come home and become better friends and be more kind to each other. What a blessing.
This week.... so many blessings. We have really put into practice a training about gratitude. Elder Mikovits challenged our district (which is PUMPING right now) to every time after we see a miracle or blessing, to stop and say thanks to God. That was something I was doing the majority of the time, but now we are especially keen to stop and offer up our gratitude. It's really been effective. God is really working through us!! We see this pattern in Alma 53:10:
"10 And now behold, I have somewhat to say concerning the people of Ammon, who, in the beginning, were Lamanites; but by Ammon and his brethren, or rather by the power and word of God, they had been converted unto the Lord;"
Well, Mormon was definitely writing that line, when he realized that those missionaries were NOT the reason for the success but rather the Lord worked through them and then His power brought them into the fold. So that's one advantage of the gratitude thing. To always remember our role is the pen and not the author! God and Jesus Christ are working through us. That's how success happens, lasting success anyway.
Elder Clay Coleman