|Elder Yang sent these photos to me (Clay's mom) from when Clay and Elder Yang served together in Tawau|
This week my update is going to be some excerpts from my personal study and some thoughts I wrote down in my spiritual journal. Some pretty interesting stuff. I'm learning so much!
From my work, however, it's enough to say that we're starting to see the beginnings of something truly incredible here. It feels like my time in Miri all over again. We've got high hopes with several families we are teaching, and we're starting to involve the local members by getting them to pray for our investigators every night. So my invitation to you would be to meet with your local missionaries, and have them tell you about some of their investigators. (If they don't have any, it's probably a good idea to pray so that they can find some! haha) Then make a commitment as a family to pray every night for the local investigators - that they will receive a spiritual witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and most of all that the investigators might know God's will for them at this time, whatever that may be!!
Please do that. It will mean a lot to the missionaries and your faith will help bring about a change in the investigators' hearts - see Ether 12 :13-16. Also, I can promise that you will have a greater desire to do missionary work yourself and get involved in the work of Salvation.
Now onto the good stuff.
31 December 2014
Faith and Trust
I've been thinking a lot about faith and trust - how they relate, what God understands about their relationship, etc - and I've come to some conclusions I want to record.
When I write the word 'trust' here, you can also replace it with 'confidence'. Another interesting and applicable perspective.
First off, a little tidbit from Bahasa/Malay which sparked this thought initially. Oftentimes, when teaching people new to religion about faith/iman, we say it is "kepercayaan kepada Tuhan" - belief in God. Pretty simple. So the word "percaya" means to believe. Well, here's the part that got me going - percaya also means to trust or to have confidence in. So, faith is defined also as "trust in God." Hmmmm....
The second thought which triggered this pondering came when I got transferred from KK to Klang. It was tough not being a zone leader anymore (something that is normal in the Singapore Mission). Also, I was going from one of the best parts of the mission to one of the "worst" - Kuala Lumpur. Missionary work here is (supposed to be) hard and slow. Worst of all, it was completely unexpected. I thought I would never get sent to serve in West Malaysia. I was struggling with this, and struggling to know the transfer was right for me. I wanted to KNOW it was God's will for me to get sent here. You could say I was struggling to trust God. My will was far off from what was supposedly God's. As I prayed, pouring out my feelings to God, I got the impression to listen - and was consequently directed to read Ether 12 from the Book of Mormon.
I read in verse 6: "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Think also, "ye receive no witness until after the trial of your trust." WOAH.
So when I read these words earlier this month, the thought came to me that though I knew not, or had no witness from God that this transfer was what was best for me, I hoped it was! I honestly hoped President Mains was inspired in sending me across the mission to KL - and therefore I could have FAITH it was inspired. I could TRUST God's will / believe it was God's will - and that faith would allow God to make it exactly what I needed. With that faith, fully aware and realizing it wasn't a perfect knowledge, I could go forth and work diligently to accomplish the Lord's purposes here.
Here's something more. God wants us to press forward, to Go Forth with Faith - with TRUST!!! He wants us to understand that not only does He desire us to push along without knowing everything, or knowing what is going to happen, He expects us to!! That's why He inspired Alma to write verse 21 in chapter 32 - He understands we don't need to and sometimes even ought not to know the whole story or see the full picture from the start! This world will only be the learning experience we need it to be for our eventual exaltation if we move/act with faith, or trust(!!!), and NOT with knowledge.
But let's be honest - that's HARD. Walking to the edge of the light and then, at God's command, taking a few steps into the dark can be hard. Our natural bodies/minds reject that idea, calling it foolish, ridiculous, absurd. But that's what God expects and wants us to do. So, knowing and fully understanding the weakness of mankind, God has revealed Himself to prophets (many times, through angels), specifically His attributes that will help us have faith in Him! Or, in a more applicable way, the attributes that will help/make us TRUST Him, to have confidence in Him. That's why throughout the scriptures He tells us things like the following:
- Romans 8:35, 38-39, and then Romans 8:28! " All things work together for good to them [us!!]". See also D&C 100:15, 90:24.
- Matthew 28:18-20. "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." See also 1 Nephi 9:6, 2 Nephi 2:24.
- Isaiah 55:8-9. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways" SO TRUST ME DANG IT!!!See also Proverbs 3:5-7.
- D&C 101:16. "Be still and know that I am God" and flipping trust me!!
Again and again, "He has revealed himself so as to enable the mind of man to place confidence/trust/kepercayaan in Him without reservation/doubt/lack of faith.... to have faith is to have confidence = kepercayaan = trust in someone or something." (BD Faith)
It can be hard to take a step of faith. However, with faith or trust, it can be so, so easy. Think of this example. You are walking along a path when you come to a cliff. There's a note waiting for you, saying "Step off the cliff. just walk over the edge. Trust me. Love, God." Well, that's HARD! You look over the edge and you can't see the bottom. You try to reach out with your hand in the air over the cliff where the path leads (to check if there's one of those invisible platforms from Zelda), and you feel nothing. You're positive you're going to fall. All you know is that you're trying to do what God says because that will lead you back to Him - but now He's asking you to walk off a cliff? You will worry. You will doubt. You will fear. When you feel this way, it's hard to get yourself to take that step. However!!! If we remember the things God has revealed to us, and have more faith - TRUST - in that which we know, if we remember the times in the past God has supported and upheld us, we can trust God's plan for us and that if we do all we can, all things will work together for our good. We can trust God, and lean not unto our small and simple understanding. We can throw away our doubts and fears by just saying, "God, you've helped me this far. I believe you are all that you have told us you are. I trust you." And with that, you can take that step and turn your all over to the Lord. "Trusting my all to thy tender care, and knowing thou lovest me, I'll do thy will with a heart sincere, I'll go where you want me to go" or do what you want me to do!! Because I trust thee, because I have faith in thee, EVERYTHING ALSO CAN. (Malaysian speak)
To trust is to have faith. We can replace that phrase in the scriptures each time we see it. "To have faith" or "having faith in Christ" is believing, or even more simply, "having trust in Christ." Trusting Christ. According to thy faith/trust/confidence, be it done unto thee.
I know that a mission is among the greatest things I will ever do, and the things I'm learning alonemake it well worth my time. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen!
Love you all!!!