April 25, 2016 {Week 45}: God is Love

Hello my wonderful friends and family!  I hope all is well stateside or wherever you may be at this point in time.  I’m doing well, returned here to Riberalta and getting geared up to prepare for some baptisms and the wedding this weekend.  It’s gonna be a hectic week, so we need to be perfectly planned everyday to have lessons and do some decorating and baking haha.

Hermana Azabache had amoebas fueeeerte this week, but with vomitos too!  So glad I didn’t have votimos(almost a year and I still haven’t thrown up here on the mission!) oh yeah!  And for those wondering, Hermana Vegas’ family was not affected by the earthquakes in Ecuador as they live in the center of their country.

We felt the Spirit a lot this week in our lessons, like a lot.  I loved being able to teach with the Spirit.  As a result of this we finally saw Hermana Yankarla back at church!  She hasn’t attended since March so we’ve been thinking a lot about her!

The meeting with Elder Calderon was really good and uplifting– we learned that it takes more to just be a “good person” to be saved in the kingdom of God.  It requires baptism by the proper priesthood authority.  Without it the door to the heavens isn’t opened.  If it’s without the authority, de verdad, no vale nada.  It’s SUMAMENTE importante that people are baptized and that is why I am here in Bolivia as a missionary and that is why I am here writing YOU as a missionary for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I worry so much about the investigators we teach sometimes.  I just want them to have open hearts to feel the Spirit and have the determination to follow what the Spirit teaches to actually be saved at the great and terrible last day.

Mark 12:30
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”

But I love what elder Holland said in conference about this verse….”the first great TRUTH is that God loves YOU with all HIS heart, soul, mind, and strength.”  Imagine the Lord of all Creation, the Father of our souls loves US, loves YOU, with all the powers of heaven, with all the undying love of an eternal father.  THATS incredible.  He loves us so much he sent His Only Begotten Son to die and to suffer for us in an infinite atonement for our weaknesses, and sins.

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

But in the words of Elder Calderon this week in Trinidad– BELIEVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE. If you truly believe that God sent Christ here for us, you have to LIVE like you believe, not just say you believe and then continue sinning and not actually live what He taught.  Believe what you believe, so that His death wasn’t in vain, so that one of the drops of blood wasn’t because of something you did.

John 15:13
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

He died for me because He loves me….  I haven’t seen Christ face to face for the almost 20 years of my mortal life…. But I know that when I see Him again I too will cry for joy and gratitude and love to see the wound marks in his feet and to feel them in His hands.  He died for me, He died for you, He died for even those who don’t believe. That is perfect love.

John 16:22
“…but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”

John 16:33
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Life can be hard and difficult at times…  Sometimes we feel like we suffer or like we are alone but He knows, He knows it all…

Doctrine & Covenants 122:7,8
“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?”

Remember that God loves you.  Despite all the things that happen and all the troubles we might face and even when we fall and say mean things or do things we shouldn’t or when we feel utterly and helplessly alone and unloved.  God loves you.  And He does it with all HIS heart ,might, mind and strength.

Thinking of each of you in prayers and in fastings,
Hna E Butikofer

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