Samuel Johnson once said “Hell is paved with good intentions.” How many of us have good intentions each and every day? Do we intend to read our scriptures, say our prayers, serve our family, love our neighbor, forgive our friends and so on. But how many of us actually do it? How many of us actually put forth the effort to fulfill our good intentions? As a missionary every day I intend to do a lot of good things. I intend to study effectively, to exercise, to serve and love my companion, to fulfill all my leadership responsibilities, to find new investigators, and to invite all to come unto Christ. But it’s not everyday that I actually get to achieve all those things. This week I learned the difference between intent vs. action.
We had ZTM this week and one of our Zone Leaders’ trained us on fear. We talked about the various things we fear as missionaries and why we fear those things. He then had us read into the story of Adam and Eve. One of the first effects of the fall was fear. That is the first reaction they had when they were in the presence of God and they realized their own nakedness. We realize our own nothingness/nakedness before the glory of God. And if we put ourselves in their shoes, imagine not knowing how you could overcome that. It certainly would instill fear into our hearts, which is exactly what Satan wants. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read.
God did not give us the spirit of fear and He didn’t give it to Adam and Eve either. The Lord paved the way for us to overcome our fear and that is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
In Moses 5:9-12 we read of Adam and Eve being taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, being taught to understand the Atonement paying the ransom for their transgression.
9 And in that day the aHoly Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the bOnly Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast cfallen thou mayest be dredeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.
10 And in that day Adam blessed God and was afilled, and began to bprophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my ctransgression my deyes are opened, and in this life I shall have ejoy, and again in the fflesh I shall see God.
11 And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had aseed, and never should have bknown good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.
They learned that they could be forgiven of their transgression. They learned that through the Lord’s help they could become exactly as He is. In our lives we have many good intentions, but our fears get in the way because we don’t believe that we will receive the help from Heavenly Father and we rely on ourselves. And that of course instills fear because we think we have to do it all on our own. Then is where the real power of faith comes in. Every morning we must humbly ask the Lord to help us to fulfill all our good intentions, and then turn it over to him, whilst still doing all in our power to accomplish the things we intended to do.
My Core experience with God this week was realizing how much more faith I need to have. I needed to realize that through him, I am who I am. That I can become as He is, as I follow Him in all that I do. Then my good intentions are bridged to good actions which eventuate to a true disciple of Christ. But of course everyday is not perfect and it isn’t everyday that we can do all the things we intend to do. That is part of the test of life, but there in lies why we need the faith in the Savior and the Atonement to carry us through each and every day. We must be patient with ourselves and do all that we can and the Lord will make up the rest.
In that meeting we also discussed keeping the Atonement at the center of our lives. It has been said that men get what they focus on. When we focus on the Savior and His atonement, we then grow closer to him. We are enabled by His grace. We then arrive at the point where we can only speak of Him with sacred reverence. We had a lesson with a wonderful group of people, some active, less-active, and in-active. We shared the Mormon message None were with Him, by Elder Holland. As we spoke of the Savior, the spirit was undeniable. The spirit bore witness not only to my heart, but to theirs as well. The sacrifice that Jesus Christ performed for all of us, is not one that can be spoken of lightly, and I felt very strongly the powerful gift that He gave to me. I felt any fear or problem, lifted from my shoulders. I truly felt the gift of the Savior. I know that He lives, that He died for me and suffered beyond all belief so that I could be healed of any weakness that I possess. I am so grateful to have a living Savior that I can look to as an Example.
Something else that really stuck out to me this week, was in fast and testimony meeting yesterday. One family in the ward has a daughter who suffers from epilepsy. She had surgery on her brain about three weeks ago and she has made a full and grand recovery. Her family was very nervous about the surgery because she had had the surgery before but she didn’t recovery quickly or very well at all. She struggled a lot, having to re learn how to speak and even think for herself. But this time it was different. This time through the power of their faith, their fast, their prayers, and the power of the priesthood, she was able to make a full recovery. It was empowering to me, because her Dad, who doesn’t say much at all, got up and bore his testimony about the Love that Heavenly Father had for His daughter. He was crying and you couldn’t help but cry with him. He said that the first thing she said when she woke up is that she is grateful to be a member of this Church, that no matter what happens she knows she will be able to be with her family again. I am so grateful to know of the doctrine of eternal families, that I can live with my family forever.
Something I learned in my personal study this week really has struck me this week. I was reading in the Book of Mormon and I came across a scripture in 2 Nephi 10:20.
20 And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been adriven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a bbetter land, for the Lord has made the sea our cpath, and we are upon an disle of the sea.
But as I read this I wasn’t thinking about the literal meaning I was thinking of the application to missionaries, and missionary work. As I read it again I felt the great mercy of my Heavenly Father who has given me much knowledge on my mission and through out my life. He wants me to lay aside all problems and be of good cheer. He has literally taken me out of the world and led me to a better place, a place of refuge where I can learn the Gospel in a Spirit filled environment. I can’t thank Heavenly Father enough for allowing me to come and to serve a mission. I am so grateful for this gift He gave to me. I don’t know where I would have ended up without it. I know that through my Savior Jesus Christ all things can and are overcome. I know without of a shadow of a doubt that this Church is true, I know that my Savior lives and loves me. I know that Joseph Smith is prophet of God and I am grateful to be a witness of this at this time.
Love you Heaps and Heaps