November 14, 2016 {Week 74}: Pucha! (wow, jeez, darn, shoot)

Well hello friends and family! I have a ridiculous amount of time today on the internet so I hope you can learn a little bit more about life in Bolivia and da mish from what I’ve got to say today.

So last week we were walking along when some kids lost their soccer all so I kicked it back, and then bajajaja, they passed it to me again saying “let’s see what la Cristiana Ronaldo’s got!” BAJAJAJA I died giggling afterwards, I passed it back like 2 or 3 times with these kids before we turned the corner. It was fun and funny.

So the other day one of the sisters was making eggs for breakfast– well she cracked opened one of the eggs….. but realized it was really heavy and like dark on the inside….. we opened it afterwards completely in a plastic bag AND THERE WAS A DEAD BABY CHICKEN WITH FEATHERS IN IT. It was absolutely gross. We all gagged.

Last week we did an American churrasco(bbq) with the elders– we bought some really sketchy ground beef and doctored it up and served it up to all the latinos in the zone. And made floats and smores! They were all super intrigued, and it turned out good where we just hang out and chatted en el parque pantanal.

I heard about Trump…. In God We Trust.

We were inside for one day this week because Hna Ipson got a pretty rough stomach bug. haha story– when I woke up that morning and she wasn’t in her bed my first thought was– THEY TOOK HER. BECAUSE SHE’S CHOCA [I think choca means fair haired/fair skinned]. bajajaja, we had slept with the inner doors open for the first time and I got scared, but no she was just in the bathroom poor thing. And then 2 of the other sisters are having stomach problems that they are all worried about, but I just tell ’em “heck I had diarrhea for 10 and a half months and I turned out alright!” Hna Ipson told me about a pill they call “the bomb” for missionaries that come home from countries where they may have picked up intestinal parasites. It is supposed to clean out all the parasites… kind of scared about that…. jijiji

Speaking of those 10 and a half months, I saw la familia Chavez this weekend here for Stake Conference!! It was the best!!….

Now that Im ending the mission everyone keeps asking me the same questions– “do you have a boyfriend? Are you gonna get married? You’re gonna get married so fast! What are you studying? What are you gonna do?” oiga it’s getting obnoxious. I am just going to avoid boys and go study even though I dont want to. Study that is.

Anyway we also had a small intervention with the sisters last week. 2 of them in particular are just getting very difficult and think they are still at home living as little princesses with air conditioning and everything [air conditioning hahahahahahahaha] They want what they want, when they want it with no one guiding them or trying to help them to improve…

Okay then I have some thoughts to share with y’all before times up….

So I was reading in Alma 5 this week which has some totally BOMB questions to get us thinking– in fact there are 48 questions that will give you the shivers in only 62 verses. It’s totally intense. And this question really caught my attention, as it has for many people I do believe, and especially caught my attention because I’ve been finding A LOT in my readings about retaining a remission of your sins and how we can keep our metaphorical swords bright and shiny for judgement day so. It says–

26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

Can you feel so now? How we still truly converted to the Lord can we feel and sing alabnazes(praises) to the Lord as Lehi did way back almost 3000 years ago?

1 Nephi 1:14 And it came to pass that when my father had read and seen many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as: Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is highin the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!

Or the people of righteous King Benjamin?

Mosiah 4:1 And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.
2 And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
3 And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which King Benjamin had spoken unto them.

These are the feelings that we should ALWAYS try to have in our heart so that we can answer with a resounding YES I CAN FEEL SO NOW. That is what a true conversion is, when we have truly been born again and become more like our Saviour Jesus Christ.– Im gonna be throwing in a bucnh of quotes here so bear with me–

It is not surprising that some in the Church believe they can’t answer Alma’s question with a resounding yes. They do not “feel so now.” They feel they are in a spiritual drought. Others are angry, hurt, or disillusioned. If these descriptions apply to you, it is important to evaluate why you cannot “feel so now.”

Many who are in a spiritual drought and lack commitment have not necessarily been involved in major sins or transgressions, but they have made unwise choices. Some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants. Others spend most of their time giving first-class devotion to lesser causes. Some allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some have immersed themselves in Internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and, in some cases, invent shortcomings of early Church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony. Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed… The word of God inspires commitment and acts as a healing balm for hurt feelings, anger, or disillusionment.
When our commitment is diminished for any reason, part of the solution is repentance.
Commitment and repentance are closely intertwined… The Prophet Joseph pointed out that before your baptism, you could be on neutral ground between good and evil. But “when you joined this Church you enlisted to serve God.” When you did that you left the neutral ground, and you never can [go] back.

When we decided to become converts unto Christ we made that decision that we will NEVER GO BACK and we can’t. To go back would be to drink damnation unto our own souls…. however that does not mean that repentance is then out of reach, but I can’t imagine that it would be an easy process.

At baptism we promise to take upon us “the name of [Jesus] Christ, having [the] determination to serve him to the end.” Such a covenant requires courageous effort, commitment, and integrity if we are to continue to sing the song of redeeming love and stay truly converted.

Life isn’t easy, it’s not and it’s NOT SUPPOSED TO BE. There must be an opposition in all things if we are to learn and grow and to actually understand what joy is. If weve never been in the depths of despair we can’t undertsand the heights of joy and pure happiness.
In our journey through mortality, as glorious as our intended destination maybe and as exhilarating as the journey may prove, we will all be subject to trials and sorrow along the way. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught: “The dial on the wheel of sorrow eventually points to each of us. At one time or another, everyone must experience sorrow. No one is exempt.”
“The Lord in His wisdom does not shield anyone from grief or sadness.”
BUT the Lord has given us a set of tools to conquer these things and to keep moving forward and these tools are the principles of the Gospel!

It struck me how the foundational principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ can affect our life’s direction for good, if only we will apply them. There is nothing mysterious about the principles of the gospel… These divine principles and values are straightforward and clear; they are beautiful, profound, and powerful; and they can definitely help us to avoid future regrets.

If we want to be truly happy and become our best selves and continue progressing we must focus EVERYDAY on applying the principles of the Gospel to be happy, the more we are obedient to such things the happier we will be. It’s a simple equation. Ademas, the more we trust in the Lord the more we will be guided to do good.

Our Heavenly Father sees our real potential. He knows things about us that we do not know ourselves. He prompts us during our lifetime to fulfill the measure of our creation, to live a good life, and to return to His presence.

Why, then, do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential, and so superficial? Do we refuse to see the folly in the pursuit of the trivial and transient?

Would it not be wiser for us to “lay up for [ourselves] treasures in heaven,where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal”?

How do we do this? By following the example of the Savior, by incorporating His teachings in our daily lives, by truly loving God and our fellow man.

This is how we can become disciples of Christ if we FOLLOW HIM. That was the covenant we made to be baptized, to become humble disciples of Christ, to walk in His paths and to become more like Him. Which is our divine potenial, to become like Christ.

Discipleship is the pursuit of holiness and happiness. It is the path to our best and happiest self. Let us resolve to follow the Savior and work with diligence to become the person we were designed to become. Let us listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As we do so, Heavenly Father will reveal to us things we never knew about ourselves. He will illuminate the path ahead and open our eyes to see our unknown and perhaps unimagined talents.

The more we devote ourselves to the pursuit of holiness and happiness, the less likely we will be on a path to regrets. The more we rely on the Savior’s grace, the more we will feel that we are on the track our Father in Heaven has intended for us.

We are the ones that will determine OUR destinies, no one else. No one else can do it for us. We have to choose to be happy or choose to suffer(side quote- One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.). The Lord doesn’t MAKE us suffer, we do or sometimes the unjust actions of others do.

But with the bountiful blessings of our Heavenly Father, His generous plan of salvation, the supernal truths of the restored gospel, and the many beauties of this mortal journey, “have we not reason to rejoice?”

We do, we have great reason to rejoice in the Lord and walk on that divine path. I really love President Uchtdorf’s closing testimony about the subject. The path toward fulfilling our divine destiny as sons and daughters of God is an eternal one. We must begin to walk that eternal path today; we cannot take for granted one single day. I pray that we will not wait until we are ready to die before we truly learn to live.

But to continue, if we really are to walk int his path we must ask ourslves “Do I Believe?” Because if we actually believe we will be able to put our faith into action(faith without works is dead!) and we will be able to walk in the path.

We have a knowledge of these things, but do we believe them? If these things are true, then we have the greatest message of hope and help that the world has ever known. Believing them is a matter of eternal significance for us and for those we love.

To believe, we need to get the gospel from our heads into our hearts!… True conversion is a process that takes place over a period of time and involves a willingness to exercise faith.

I like how Bonnie L. Oscarson says “a WILLINGNESS to exercise faith.” This is what Alma also says in chapter 32 about faith–

27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart,behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

If we have faith then the things we claim as the Church of Jesus Christ will be apart of our testimonies not just something we simply know that exists–

Think for just a minute about the profound claims we make as a religion. We believe that the same Church Jesus Christ established while on the earth has been restored once again by a prophet called of God in our time and that our leaders hold the same power and authority to act in God’s name that ancient Apostles held. It is called the priesthood of God. We claim that through this restored authority, we can receive saving ordinances, such as baptism, and enjoy the purifying and refining gift of the Holy Ghost to be with us at all times.We have apostles and prophets leading and directing this Church through priesthood keys, and we believe that God speaks to His children through these prophets.

We also believe that this priesthood power makes it possible to make covenants and receive ordinances in holy temples that will someday enable usto return to the presence of God and live with Him forever. We also claim that, through this power, families can be bound together for eternity when couples enter the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in sacred buildings that we believe are literally the houses of God. We believe that we can receive these saving ordinances not only for ourselves but also for our ancestors who lived on the earth without having the chance to participate in these essential saving ordinances. We believe we can perform ordinances for our ancestors by proxy in these same holy temples.

We believe that, through a prophet and the power of God, we have received additional scriptures, adding to the testimony of that in the Bible declaring that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.

We claim that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God and the only true Church on the earth. It is called the Church of Jesus Christ because He stands at the head; it is His Church, and all these things are possible because of His atoning sacrifice.

We believe that these distinguishing features can be found in no other place ororganization on this earth. As good and sincere as other religions and churches are, none of them have the authority to provide the ordinances of salvation that are available in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We make the choice daily to doubt or to have faith. It is on OUR shoulders to make the decision to be faithful disciples, or are HAPPY disciples or not. But we should always doubt our doubts before we doubt our faith. We need to pray and search for answers in the scriptures, seek truth from the Lord and from no one else. What are we willing to give to gain our souls? Or the reverse quesiton what are we willing to give to lose our souls?

To the question, “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Satan would have us sell our lives for the candy bars and championships of this world. The Savior, however, calls us, without price, to exchange our sins, to take upon us His countenance, and to take that into the hearts of those within our reach. For this we may receive all that God has, which we are told is greater than all the combined treasures of this earth.

Can you even imagine?

Sister Oscarson echos this in her talk with her testimony as well– I bear witness that our membership in the Lord’s kingdom is a gift of immeasurable value. I testify that the blessings and peace the Lord has in store for those who are obedient and faithful exceed anything the human mind can comprehend.

There are also some basic suggestions on how to be more Christian from Robert D Hales.

I testify that through His infinite love and grace, we can become more Christian. Consider the following Christlike qualities. How are we doing in strengthening them within ourselves?

Christian love. The Savior valued everyone. Kind and compassionate to all, He left the ninety and nine to find the one, for “even the very hairs of [our] head are … numbered” to Him.

Christian faith. Despite temptations, trials, and persecutions, the Savior trusted our Heavenly Father and chose to be faithful and obedient to His commandments.

Christian sacrifice. Throughout His life the Savior gave of His time, His energy,and ultimately, through the Atonement, gave Himself so that all of God’s children could be resurrected and have the opportunity to inherit eternal life.

Christian caring. Like the good Samaritan, the Savior was continually reaching out to rescue, love, and nurture people around Him, regardless of their culture, creed, or circumstances.

Christian service. Whether drawing water from a well, cooking a meal of fish, or washing dusty feet, the Savior spent His days serving others—lifting up the weary and strengthening the weak.

Christian patience. In His own sorrow and suffering, the Savior waited upon His Father. With patience for us, He waits upon us to come to ourselves and come home to Him.

Christian peace. Throughout His ministry He urged understanding and promoted peace. Especially among His disciples, He taught that Christians cannot contend with other Christians, notwithstanding their differences.

Christian forgiveness. He taught us to bless those who curse us. He showed us the way by praying that those who crucified Him would be forgiven.

Christian conversion. Like Peter and Andrew, many recognize the truth of the gospel as soon as they hear it. They are instantly converted. For others it may take longer. In a revelation given through Joseph Smith, the Savior taught, “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day,”the perfect day of our conversion. Jesus Christ is “the light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth.”

Christian endurance to the end. In all His days, the Savior never gave up doing His Father’s will but continued in righteousness, goodness, mercy, and truth to the end of His mortal life.

These are some of the characteristics of those who hear and heed the Savior’s voice. I give my Christian testimony that He is calling to you today, “Come, follow me.” Come walk the path that leads to eternal happiness, joy, and everlasting life in the kingdom of our Heavenly Father.

Okay, okay I am almost done there’s just a couple more things from Jeffrey R Holland that I am obsessed with that are found in his talk ‘Tomorrow the Lord will do Wonders among you’.

We dont have to be PERFECT to merit the kingdom of God.

When there was a controversy in the early Church regarding who was entitled to heaven’s blessings and who wasn’t, the Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Verily I say unto you, [the gifts of God] are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep … my commandments, and [for them] that seeketh so to do.” Boy, aren’t we all thankful for that added provision “and … seeketh so to do”! That has been a lifesaver because sometimes that is all we can offer! We take some solace in the fact that if God were to reward only the perfectly faithful, He wouldn’t have much of a distribution list.

Satan would have us think that we have to be perfect to keep going to be saved but we know that that is not the case.

Only the adversary, the enemy of us all, would try to convince us that the ideals outlined in general conference are depressing and unrealistic, that people don’t really improve, that no one really progresses. And why does Lucifer give that speech? Because he knows he can’t improve, he can’t progress,that worlds without end he will never have a bright tomorrow. He is a miserable man bound by eternal limitations, and he wants you to be miserable too. Well, don’t fall for that. With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed.

AND we have the Lord on our side, if we are one HIS side He will be on ours. Heck, even if we don’t love Him he still loves us. The first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—that’s the first great commandment. But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. That love is the foundation stone o feternity, and it should be the foundation stone of our daily life.

It is daily living that makes someone a disicple of Christ.

Now, with that majestic devotion ringing from heaven as the great constant in our lives, manifested most purely and perfectly in the life, death, and Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can escape the consequences of both sin and stupidity—our own or that of others—in whatever form they may come to us in the course of daily living. If we give our heart to God, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do the best we can to live the gospel, then tomorrow—and every other day—is ultimately going to be magnificent, even if we don’t always recognize it as such. Why? Because our Heavenly Father wants it to be! He wants to bless us. A rewarding, abundant, and eternal life is the very object of His merciful plan for His children! It is a plan predicated on the truth “that all things work together for good to them that love God.” So keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.

“Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard?” Isaiah cried.
“[God] giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. “… They that wait upon [Him] shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.”
“For … the Lord … God will hold [their] right hand, saying unto [them], Fear not; I will help thee.”

May a loving Father in Heaven bless us tomorrow to remember how we felt today. May He bless us to strive with patience and persistence toward the ideals we have heard proclaimed this conference weekend, knowing that His divine love and unfailing help will be with us even when we struggle—no, will be with us especially when we struggle.

If gospel standards seem high and the personal improvement needed in the days ahead seems out of reach, remember Joshua’s encouragement to his people when they faced a daunting future. “Sanctify yourselves,” he said, “for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” I declare that same promise. It is the promise of this conference. It is the promise of this Church. It is the promise of Him who performs those wonders, who is Himself “Wonderful,Counsellor, The mighty God, … The Prince of Peace.”

Boom cachow you can’t say it better then an apostle, have a fantastic weeeekekkkkkkk!

Love y’all, (went wayyyyyy OVER on time tchau tchauuuuuu)

Hna E bUTIKOFER

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