Thursday, July 10, 2014

July 2, 2014

Hey Everyone,
   This wast week was good! We found a new investigator. In fact it came from the least expected source too. I decided to fast on Sunday for more people to teach. That night, a less active member we have trying to teach called us. She said her best friend had a few questions about the temple and asked if we could come over. As soon as we heard this we flipped our bikes around and booked it over there. They directed us to the back porch and we sat down and talked with her. Immediately she started throwing questions at us. After answering a few, I told her that all her questions would be answered if she would let us teach her the lessons in a more organized way then just Q&A. She agreed! Now we have a new investigator. It's interesting to me how The Lord waits for us to prove to him that we need blessings. I really don't have an answer yet as to why he does it so I'll have to think about it and get back to you later.
   The Hermosa Vista stake continues to amaze me. People here live in castles. Although it makes it near impossible to find people to teach, it's a lot less disturbing at night than the Baywood ward. It's an area densely populated with politicians, professional athletes, dentists and doctors, extremely successful entrepreneurs, etc. People live very comfortably here. Let's just put it that way. There is absolutely no one who is being compelled to be humble. It's a tough area. Luckily for us, the members are spectacular. We just need to help build their faith in the fact that if they invite, things will start rolling here. I'm excited for when that day comes. Its a very similar situation to the Groves ward. Hopefully it pans out with the same success.
   Since this week is Independence Day, obviously, my thoughts have been directed towards our freedoms. But what I really focused in on was hope and faith. In my mind I really couldn't figure out the difference between the two. It made me think of a scripture in the Book of Mormon. Ether 12:4 to be exact, which reads, "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."
   As I read that I came to this conclusion; hope is the righteous desire for blessings, faith is the hopeful action to obtain them. To me, freedom is very intertwined with these two gospel concepts. I look back to our forefathers and I know for a fact that they had a hope for a better world, even a literal place at the right hand of God. Because of their hope for this change, they showed their faith through what we know as the revolutionary war. In the end, their hopes came of their faith. Their hopes were brought to a reality as they faithfully stood sure and steadfast, and made sure that they were abounding in the good works they were performing.
   Now what they did was great, but we still have the battle between freedom and captivity today. It is important to remember that God is all about freedom while Satan is always about captivity and addiction. God, in his infinite love for us, gave us the right to choose for ourselves who we will serve. He promises us that if we choose him, we will be free. But if we choose the devil, what may have sounded like freedom at first will quickly turn to captivity and addiction.
   On my mission, I run into both situations every day. I run into wonderful people who help me to know that I am on the right path. They help me to know this because of the blessings of freedom that they have experienced through obeying the Lord's commandments. I also meet wonderful people who help me to know what path I don't want to be on. Even here in Hermosa Vista, what looks like freedom and luxury quickly turns into a scene of captivity and false compensations when the ingredients of the devil are added.
   I could most likely go on for days on this subject but I don't have the time. However I do have a few last thoughts. Everything in the gospel comes down to one principle; God loves you. God loves you and wants what is best for you. Even if you don't see it right now, even if it seems like he is too restricting, he is not. Satan is restricting. Satan is all about captivity and addiction, God is all about freedom. Because God wants you to be free, he lovingly commands you to stay away from things which will ensnare you in the fetters the devil so willingly provides. If you think that you are already ensnared and that this advice is too late for you, let me assure you it is not. You still have a savior named Jesus Christ. He suffered for every pain and affliction you could possibly feel. If you are addicted to cigarettes, he knows exactly what it is like for you specifically to be addicted to cigarettes. If I am missing Oregon right now he knows exactly what it is like for me specifically to be missing Oregon right now and he can help me be better because of it. He suffered in the garden of gethsemane and then died on the cross so that you and I can repent and come back to live with him again. Please do not procrastinate that day of your repentance. God wants you to be free, satan wants you to be captive. Make your choice.

    Elder Earl