Monday, September 14, 2015

What is the State of Your Heart?

Hello family! 

Someone took a shot of us "dendoing" (street contacting)!
This past week has been great! We had a lot of adventures. On Saturday we had a pretty big earthquake. That was pretty cool. It happened at about 5:50 in the morning and woke all of the missionaries in the mission. Elder Cook and I were actually already outside getting our bikes ready so that we could go to a stake meeting. We felt the ground shake and then looked up at our building and watched as it swayed. It was pretty cool to watch! We also went on splits twice. Once with the APs and once with some missionaries in our zone. It was really fun. I got a little taste of what it is like to be an office elder. Seems like a lot of time cooped up writing emails and planning. Certainly not the life for me! I would rather be talking to people outside than stuck in there! We only had about 30 minutes to go finding, but in that thirty minutes we taught two lessons on the street! It was pretty great. There are some companion sets that can go weeks without teaching a single lesson (my first transfer). We were very blessed.

Another fun part of the week was yesterday. One of our investigators didn't show up to church. Haha--that doesn't sound very fun, right, so we went and tracked him down. Found him sitting near the train station and so we called him to repentance! It was awesome! He knows exactly what he has to do to come unto Christ. He wants to come unto Christ, but sometimes he can't bring himself to actually act. Reminds me of myself in a big way. I (and probably a lot of other people) sometimes have the same problem. What I have come to realize is that faith in yourself is important. You can believe the gospel all you want; you can even know it's true. You can desire to follow it all you want, but unless you believe in yourself--believe you can do it--then you will never be able to use the atonement in your life.

The fact that he lacks that belief in himself tells me that there are some very basic facts about God that have not sunk in yet. Number one, that God is his Father. It goes to follow that he is God's son. When this man is tempted to not go to church, or pray, or read the scriptures he fails and succumbs. He needs to remember his divine nature and the fact that God doesn't give us commandments without a way to accomplish them.

We had a lesson with a different investigator earlier in the week were we also taught him about his divine nature and his relationship to God. We sang I am a Child of God in Japanese (listen to it here) and then testified to him. It was awesome!

I noticed something in my studies this week that I want to share. I love the story in the Book of Mormon of the prophet Enos, and I was reading actually in Jacob 7. In he final part of the chapter, Jacob says something along the lines of "I know I'm going to die soon so I am going to give my son Enos all of these records and command him to continue writing and protect them and stuff."

When I read that section it kind of hit me. This is a big moment for Enos. He suddenly has a lot more responsibility on his shoulders. If I were to go through that in my life I would certainly have a lot to think about. I might feel un worthy, unclean, un prepared, in sufficient, etc... It is no wonder that the first thing that Enos writes is that while he was in the woods he was thinking really hard, and the Spirit carried the words of his deceased father (see verse 1 where he talks about him in past tense) home to his heart. The words had a lot to do with happy things: joy and eternal life, and stuff, and these caused him to "hunger" for them. He wanted them. The setting, his feelings of pressure and responsibility, along with the Spirit bringing words to his remembrance, created the perfect situation for him to kneel before his Almighty Maker and pour out his soul in "mighty prayer and supplication". In other words they created in him the perfect heart for effective repentance. That repentance led to him being forgiven and changed. In verse 26 it says that he was "wrought upon by the power of God that [he] must preach and prophesy". Then we see that he got what he hungered for when we read the beautiful words in his final verse.

27 And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of
my Father. Amen.

I love this verse, I love this chapter! The story of Enos can be very easily applied to our lives. Often, at least for me, my repentance isn't very fruitful until God calls upon me to grow, to come closer to Him. When that happens, when I am uncomfortable like that, I notice the disparity between what I am and what I am expected to/should be. In other words I see my weakness. That feeling automatically generates humility, which leads to sincere repentance, to real change, and to real strengthening. The Book of Enos is an application of Christ's words found later on in the book of Ether:

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them (Ether 12:27).

I know that God is calling us to Him. I know that coming unto Him can be a hard road. I know that it can cause a lot of introspection and sometimes disappointment in yourself. I have felt that feeling on and off for the entire span of my mission. I know that though it is tough, there is no more rewarding road than the one that leads to our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. I know that He loves us and helps us. I know that He gives us challenges and hard things to experience so that we can grow. I have grown a lot on my mission. I love you all!

Elder Siebach

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