Monday, January 12, 2015

The Power of the Words of God

Dear Everyone,
I hope that before reading my letter you can be edified feasting a little bit on the talk my sister gave in sacrament meeting on the 11th:
As a 17-year-old, I’ve been going to school almost my whole life. 13 years of school means 13 years of tests, 13 years of assignments, and 13 years of homework. It took me until around my sophomore year, though, to realize the point of homework. Homework is designed to reinforce things learned in the classroom. So that by the time I come back to class the next time, I have either mastered the previous lesson’s skill, or have specific questions I can ask my teacher. Now, I’m not saying all homework is like this because I’ve had plenty of homework assigned that I felt was a waste of my time. But the general intent is there- learn the basics in class, go home and practice them, then come back and we’ll move on. Last year I had an AP Calculus class that had homework almost every night. We would go through a section during class, then have homework with problems specific to the material we had learned in the class before. So the wise kids would go home after school, do their math homework, and not worry about it again until the next class period. I’m not that wise. I’d often be in the library during lunch two days later rushing to finish my homework before it was due the next period. Then something wonderful happened. Our teacher adopted a new grading system, so we were no longer graded on homework. He will still give us problems to work on and encouraged us to do it, but there was no longer any accountability for whether or not we had spent the time studying that we needed to. It was great. I thought, “This is perfect. When I don’t understand something, I’ll do the homework, but if I get it, I won’t have to!” I’d like to say I’ve learned a lot about myself since then. For about the first few weeks I kept doing my homework. But then I got busy... and had homework for other classes... and basically stopped doing my math homework altogether. Consequently, I failed quizzes, then did poorly on the unit tests. It goes without saying that I got worse grades in that class than in any other ever.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “[the sacrament] should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage spiritual feelings and impressions... This is the real purpose of the meeting.” So if the sacrament is the key portion of our meetings, what are we doing to prepare to get the most out of it? Are we actively seeking to gain spiritual light and understanding from the few minutes we are here, or do we simply show up to Calculus class, mostly pay attention, take a few notes, then leave and not think about it again until our schedules place it in our laps? I learned a lot from AP Calculus. But I could have gained so much more knowledge (and gotten better grades) if I had done my homework.
So spiritually speaking, what is our homework? What can we do during the week to prepare for the sacrament so we are not only worthy for, but open to the revelation, peace, and light we can gain from taking the sacrament? May I offer just a few suggestions that you may recognize as the primary answers.

Reading your scriptures is excellent. But opening my math textbook and glancing through the problems is also excellent. They say no matter how slow you run, you’re always lapping the people on the couch. So if you’re at the point where you’re just reading a few verses a night, that’s great. Keep doing that. But once you’ve mastered that, start studying! Write in your journal, mark things, and pray as you read to understand and internalize the truths of the scriptures. As you search the scriptures, you will find answers to questions, insight to problems, and an increase of the spirit in your life throughout the entire week.

In a New Era article entitled “An Hour to Watch With Him”, a young man tells of reading the story of atonement and taking it to heart to benefit his sacrament meeting worship. He says, “I realized that the way I could “watch with Him one hour” was in the way I approached sacrament meeting each Sunday. Since then, I have learned that this is an hour in which we can pray to our Heavenly Father in a more meaningful way.” 2 Nephi 32:9 reads, “ 9 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.”

The third ‘primary answer’ is “Go to church.” But ‘going’ to church and ‘being’ at church can be very different things. Some days I showed up to my Calculus class and texted, daydreamed about the weekend, or was too tired to pay attention. By the end of the lesson, I didn’t even know the homework problems I wasn’t going to do.

“Upon instituting the sacrament during His visit to the Nephites, Jesus stated, “He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled.”11 They had been promised that if they hungered and thirsted after righteousness, they would be filled with the Holy Ghost. The sacramental prayer also promises that if we live up to our covenants, we will always have His Spirit to be with us.12“ (Elder Marvin J. Clark,“Blessings of the Sacrament) Being prepared with enough sleep on Saturday and truly hungering and thirsting after righteousness during the meeting can give us one of the greatest gifts of all- the Holy Spirit to be with us.

Just like my Calculus class, our Sacrament homework is not assigned. We are accountable to no one but God for the preparation we put in to get the most out of our Sabbath day. But I know that if we put in the effort, we will be rewarded with blessings and find Sacrament meeting becoming the best part of the week. I’m grateful we have the opportunity to take the Sacrament each week and hope that I can do my homework and find blessings and truth in our Sacrament meetings.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

So this week was Fantastical!
Firstly, Hery was baptised and confirmed this week.  He was super excited.  There are many good things happing these days. I attached pictures of the baptism.  Giovani also passed the sacrament for his first time which was awesome.  Church was super great.  We had 53 people which is a new reacord and 13 of them were our investigators.  We had young womans seperate from the relief society for the first time which was awesome too!  It will be very good for them, and the young womans president is awesome.  The male leadership is a little bit weaker.  We have 1 worthy melchesidic preisthood holder who was called 2 weeks ago as the secritary.  He is awesome and preparing for a mission.  We also have 1 teacher and 1 deacon as of yesterday.  One of the other Elders in our house is the acting branch president.  We need some more male leadership.  The Law of chastity is a big problem here though.  We are working on that. 
In my studies though today I read a great quote that impacted me.
President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Often we spend great effort in trying to increase the activity levels in our stakes. We work diligently to raise the percentages of those attending sacrament meetings. We labor to get a higher percentage of our young men on missions. We strive to improve the numbers of those marrying in the temple. All of these are commendable efforts and important to the growth of the kingdom. But when individual members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and consistently, these other areas of activity will automatically come. Testimonies will increase. Commitment will be strengthened. Families will be fortified. Personal revelation will flow” (“The Power of the Word,” Ensign, May 1986, 81).
The Great thing here is that we can recognize this an work for getting better.  Another quote I loved is:
President Spencer W. Kimball declared: “I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns. I find myself loving more intensely those whom I must love with all my heart and mind and strength, and loving them more, I find it easier to abide their counsel” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 67).

I urge every one of us to become less casual in righeous things.  I know that this will enrich our lives.

I also recieved my Christmas Presents this week along with some of my other stuff so Merry Christmas.
Also this week is my dear Grandma Deanna´s birthday, so Happy Birthday!  I love you!!!

I think this letter is long enough, and the words of others are better than mine.  I will try to make next week´s letter more edifying.

I love you all and hope that this week can be full of revelation.

Elder Sampson

Hery's baptism pictures

Displaying DSCN8793.JPG

Displaying DSCN8808.JPG

No comments:

Post a Comment