Monday, July 18, 2016

Week 54: The Fundamental Principle

Hello Everyone!

This week was AWESOME as always! First, updates on a few people.

Brother O is looking great for Baptism! Pretty sure he is keeping all the commandments now! The only thing that might hold him back is that he has eye surgery this Wednesday... Not sure if he can put his head under water after a week and a half. However, he is excited to be baptized! My favorite quote from him this week:

Me: "Will you live the law of tithing after you are baptized?"

Brother O: "I feel that I would be denying my faith in God if I did not. Obviously, I will pay my tithing!"

So... He is pretty solid. :)

Next, Jacob is doing great! He is starting to read scriptures on his own again! And he only smoked once or twice this week, which is definitely progress! We helped him clean up his room this week (I've never seen a room so messy before!), and we're going back tomorrow to help again. He will soon be much more in tune with the Spirit! :)

Then, Brother I, the high school student (there are two Brother I's... This is not to be confused with the one coming to church on 9/4 that I told you about earlier. He is a college student, and I still think he is golden, just busy) met with us on Tuesday! He told us he wants to hear about other religions. We committed him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it first - to go straight to the source of truth (God). He said he'll try that and meet us again in two weeks to talk about whether or not he gets a confirming witness. When he does, we will continue doing lessons with him. :) If you want to pray that he gets his answer, I would appreciate it. :)

Brother P didn't come to church. :P That's rare. But we got to meet with him and teach him a lesson, which is also rare. He wants to learn, but focuses on small questions, like why were the gold plates gold, instead of are they true? We're working on it, but I don't speak Nepalese, so it can be hard. :P

Then, we met with our good friend Brother M. We ate donuts together (we ate pancakes last week, Mom), and watched part of the 2016 Young Adults devotional by Sister Nelson. Highly recommend it! Then, he came to church. He is starting to read everyday, and I'm hoping that he starts recognizing the hope of the Gospel again soon! :)

So... Life is awesome. :) That pretty much sums up the best stuff I did this week. I did give a talk yesterday - which was my first full length talk in Japanese. I thought I would share with you a few of my thoughts.

Recently, when I met with Brother P, he told me that I always talk about applications - commandments, prayer, church, reading the Book of Mormon, Eternal Families. However, he said I didn't testify much of the Savior. So I decided to testify of Him and His Atonement.

Joseph Smith taught the following:

"The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. But in connection with these, we believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost, the power of faith, the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts according to the will of God, the restoration of the house of Israel, and the final triumph of truth."

Eternal families, joy, happiness, forgiveness, are all appendages to the Atonement. It is not that they are not important, it is simply that if we forget the Atonement and it's power, we forget that they are possible. The Atonement is essential because it effects all we do, and allows us to have the Light of Christ.

I cannot, in my own words, describe the suffering that the Savior went through for us. So I will use His words to do so (Doctrine and Covenants 19:15-19)

15 Therefore I command you to repent--repent, lest I smite you by the
rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings
be sore--how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how
hard to bear you know not.

16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they
might not suffer if they would repent;

17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to
tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer
both body and spirit--and would that I might not drink the bitter cup,
and shrink--

19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my
preparations unto the children of men.

The Savior suffered EVERYTHING. He knows your pain perfectly. He can heal you. Because of Him, you don't have to suffer even one day. So repent, so that we don't suffer. Repent, so that we can enjoy the Spirit. I see many miracles daily as a missionary, but my favorite daily miracle is the miracle of God's forgiveness. There could be no greater miracle. It astounds me that our Heavenly Father reaches out to me in love and mercy daily, regardless of the fact that I am making the same mistakes again! Never go a day without repenting. Doing so is wasting a portion of that beautiful gift that the Savior gave us through His suffering; through His Atonement.

As I think about how the Savior was able to do the Atonement, my mind is drawn to this scripture. 
Mosiah 15:10-11.

10 And now I say unto you, who shall declare his generation? Behold, I
say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin he
shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed?

11 Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the
prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning
the coming of the Lord--I say unto you, that all those who have
hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem
his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of
their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the
heirs of the kingdom of God.

He saw each of us! It is not written what vision He saw, but I imagine that He saw us using the gift He was giving. He saw us taking the Sacrament. He saw us repenting. He saw us going through the temple, becoming Eternal Families. He saw us feeling the cleansing effects of the Spirit that come as a result of His Atonement. In essence, I imagine that He saw that His sufferings would put an end to our suffering; He saw that His suffering would become our joy. Though perfect, I think He needed to remember the why of what He was doing in order to endure that pain. And, in the greatest demonstration of love in all mankind, He finished His preparations unto the children of men!

My friends and family, I have used the words of Prophets in describing the Atonement and love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. However, know that I have had a confirming witness that they are true through the power of the Holy Ghost. I have seen the reality of the Savior's power in my own life. I testify that Jesus is the Christ. He has all power, and loves us perfectly! What could be greater comfort! Rely on Him, learn of Him, walk beside Him by repenting daily!

Know that I love each of you, and I love my Savior. For that reason I am serving a mission. I hope you feel His influence daily in your lives as I do!

This is the testimony, last of all, that I give, that He lives!

Love you all!
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

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