Elder Johnathan Hale's Mission Site
Restoration & AtonementDate: September 06, 2010
Area: Aurora, Alicia Area - Roxas Zone
Companion: Elder Farley - CA - MTC District Buddy
So you always hear stories of missionaries being chased by dogs. I thought that thanks to Bob Barker, those getting chased by dog stories were a thing of the past. The problem is here in the Philippines they don't watch The Price is Right as much as we do. So the place is swarming with dogs and let's just say that I would rather die than pet or get bit by one.
On Tuesday when we were going house to house we found this 80 year old guy. We sat down, taught him and then asked if he had any questions. He started to say some things and then he started laughing. This got me to start laughing too. Soon it was a big "laughing storm" as Matt calls it. My stomach hurt I was laughing so hard. He made my day!
The other day me and Elder Farley were walking and there was this lady walking down the road with a mountain load of bags. We stopped and offered to help her carry them. She said she was fine but we were persistent. We started pulling the bags out of her hands and she kept resisting. Finally we got the bags and asked,"Where would you like us to take these?" She then explained that it was her business to go neighborhood to neighborhood selling the things she was carrying. We felt like a couple of dumb Americans and gave her bags back.
Wednesday was a spiritual feast. It was zone conference in Cauayan City and we had Elder Edwards from the second quorum of the 70 in attendance. Before the conference we had a leadership training meeting hosted by Elder Edwards and then we had zone conference. I am still digesting the things that were said and taught. I don't think anyone could have left without being edified and a better person and missionary.
Before my mission I believe my attitude was much like the young man when given the assignment to read Enos told Ed Pinegar, "I've read that already, I know that story." Ed Pinegar then gave his Book of Mormon class the assignment to read Enos every night for 30 days. It took him a few nights, but the young man then learned the lesson Brother Pinegar was trying to teach and thanked him for it.
The fact is the study of the gospel is a lifelong pursuit. As we continue in daily study things start to come alive. We not only know logically, but we come to know in our hearts, and we want to know more.
Elder Edwards also mentioned that he was in a meeting with some stake presidents, 5 General Authorities one of them being Elder Christofferson and Elder Haight an apostle from good old Oakley, Idaho. Elder Gene R. Cook was teaching and he made the comment, "No one in this room is fully converted." He then remembered that Elder Haight was on the stand behind him, so he looked back at him to see Elder Haight shaking his head in agreement with the statement.
Two things that are central to the process of conversion are the Restoration of the Gospel and the Atonement.
Elder Edwards said that in every lesson we teach we should make the connection to the Restoration and the Atonement. What great advice.
In Lagawe they had an army of "Bible Believing Baptist" missionaries. They went out much like we do in pairs and bigger groups to proclaim their beliefs. Many people in the Philippines have been like those Africans you taught in England dad. They say, "Oh, come in, we welcome all religions because there is one God, and no religion is bad." Hearing this over and over caused me to ask,"What makes us different from the Bible Believing Baptists and other religions?"
The answer came. It is that we are the only religion on Earth that has access to the WHOLE Atonement of Jesus Christ. Our church makes that fully active and our church alone. That access was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith in the events of the Restoration, making the Restoration and the Atonement the two most unique things we have to offer to the world.
We, along with other religions in the world help bad men become good, and good men become better. But it is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ offers more than that. Think of it. We are so blessed.
I know this is the church and kingdom of God on Earth. Jesus Christ stands at the head of this work. His Atonement is a reality. I know almost nothing of it, but I am coming to know more and more with each passing day that it happened and that because of Him, I have hope. He lives. He is the way, the only way "out of the darkness and into the Light."
He appeared with our Heavenly Father to restore full access to His Atonement. Let's do as Elder Maxwell said and "let us, who have been blessed with hope, reach out and lift those who for whatever reason have moved away from the hope of the Gospel."
Love you both so much.
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