Monday, February 2, 2015

Polar Opposites

Dear Family,

This past week was.... polar, if you know what I mean. We had a lot of really great things happen and then a lot of strange, not-so-great things. One of the strange things happened last night when a drunk man offered to buy us a hotel and provide us with a woman of the night. The funny thing was that neither my companion nor I had any idea what he was talking about because neither of us had ever taken the time to study any vocabulary that falls under that subject. When we got home and looked up some of the words he said, we realized what he was talking about. I'm pretty glad I didn't know what he was saying--haha!! Then again, I wish that I had known what he was talking about so I could have steered the conversation in a different direction earlier. Bummer. What can you do?

Another thing happened that made me really sad. We stopped a kid that looked like he was a super depressed university student. He was looking at the ground, shoulders slumped, and his whole demeanor just oozed sorrow and depression. I felt really bad for him and luckily the Spirit gave me a little bit of compassion for him, so I stopped him and started talking to him. As I thought, he was really down. My companion and I felt like we should testify to him about happiness and how Christ can help us overcome the deepest sorrow. I shared stories from my life and I felt the Spirit very strongly and I could tell he was feeling the same. 

In order to explain what happened I have to give a better description of the setting. My companion and I were hurrying to cross a street before the light turned on, he had already crossed heading the other way, the way we were coming from. We had to stop running to stop him and talk to him. So he was well aware of the fact that we had been trying to cross the street quickly. As we were talking to him and bearing testimony to him, he was tense, looking down, and clenching his fists, as if he were actively fighting something. He would point out to us when the light changed to green and when it would start blinking and when it would change to red. He was fighting the Spirit so hard! I could feel the Spirit working in me as if it were the one talking and I could see him fight it. I could see his desire to wallow in sorrow and self pity twist and thrash it's way out of the comforting, embracing arms of the Spirit. As we finished testifying and said goodbye it was all my companion and I could do to keep from crying. For a long time I couldn't shake the sadness that we had witnessed in that scene. We felt the Spirit work through us, we felt a tiny part of the love Heavenly Father has for His child, and we watched that child reject it. I pondered on it for a long time. What kind of person could feel the Spirit so strongly and then go against it?

In the requirements for the prayer stated when conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost, the only exactly verbatim phrase that you are required to say is "Receive the Holy Ghost". In English the tense of the word receive is not especially apparent, but in Japanese it says ukenasai. That is the command form of the verb receive. When we confer that amazing gift, we command the recipient to receive it. We don't say it might just be there all the time or whenever you need it no matter what, we command them to receive it. The fact that we say it like that carries many lessons I can see. One of the first lessons is that the Spirit is always willing to be with you. For something to be received it must first be given. God wants us to have the Spirit with us always. Secondly, the fact that that verb is in its imperative form means that we, the recipients, have to do something in order to carry out the command. (I feel like part of "enduring to the end" is learning how to do that.) Part of it is merely a willingness and desire to feel the Spirit. That young man, though his circumstance was outside of the situation of the actual gift of the Holy Ghost, did not have what it takes to actually receive the Holy Ghost. I don't think he wanted it.

That was a really sad experience. I don't want to see that ever happen again! Anyways, I have no more time. I promise that this week was better than that, we saw some pretty cool miracles and got to have some good spiritual experiences. It was a great week! I love you all! Do your best to receive the spirit!

Much love,
Elder Siebach

No comments:

Post a Comment

I will gladly forward on any comments you'd like to leave for Sterling.