So, this week, we were able to teach some new people, and I'm really excited to be able to work with them. One day, we were over at a less-active members house, and we had gone there because of another member who brought us there. The less-active member's name is Lucia, and she wasn't home. However, a neighbor was there, named Thatiana. So, we were thinking about going somewhere else to visit, but we ended up staying, and talking with Thatiana. We taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel, and how this Church is totally different than other churches, and that we find the complete truth in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the end of the message, she told us that we had been attending the Universal Church, a rather common Evangelical church in Brazil, and that she had felt something missing. She had felt like her needs were not being met by her current church. So, we had come at just the right moment, to someone who was looking for something more, searching for the truth! We will go back there this week, and I pray that we can help them to know for themselves that these things are true.
As I ponder about the things that we teach every day, I have realized that we receive power to influence and teach others insomuch as the things we are talking about have truly impacted and changed our lives. When we bear our testimony, it has as much power as the changes it has brought about in our hearts. If we want to teach about the Restoration with the power of the Spirit, our lives need to have been truly changed by it. As we testify of the effect of the Atonement in our lives, we will help others to feel the Spirit as we speak from our personal spiritual experience, and as the Spirit has changed our hearts. This gospel is not about accepting the truth and being saved, it's about accepting the truth and being changed. That is our purpose here on Earth: to gain a body, to be tested, and to learn and grow through our experiences. As we seek to strengthen our own personal testimony of the truth, and to change our lives, and to awake in ourselves the desire to know the truth, we will have a greater capacity to help other people in these areas. If I have never felt the influence of the Spirit, how am I going to help someone else to feel the Spirit? If my life has not been changed by what happened in the Sacred Grove, and the account that Joseph Smith told, how is my retelling of his words going to help the lives of others to be changed?
I like what President Monson said during the Priesthood Session of this past General Conference. He said, "There is absolutely nothing in this world that will provide more comfort and happiness than a testimony of the truth. Although to varying degrees, I believe every man or young man [or woman or young woman] here tonight has a testimony. If you feel that you do not yet have the depth of testimony you would wish, I admonish you to work to achieve such a testimony. If it is strong and deep, labor to keep it that way. How blessed we are to have a knowledge of the truth."
Every one of us has our own testimony, to varying degrees. What we seek is that our testimonies can become strenghened to the point of being "steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works" (Mosiah 5:15), and President Monson tells us that each of us can get to that point. So, if you're struggling, please follow the advice of Kriss Kringle in "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town": "Put one foot in front of the other and soon you'll be walkin' 'cross the floor, just put one foot in front of the other, and soon you'll be walkin' out the door!" As we seek to continue to move forward, even pressing forward with a "steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men....wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life" (2 Nephi 31:20).
He will help us, as we seek to "keep moving forward" (Meet the Robinsons), get up after we've been knocked down, and seek always to have our will be submitted to His, for He can make much more out of us and for us than we can even imagine:)
I love you all so very much! Have a wonderful week!
With love and hugs and kisses and more,
Elder Reid Powell Empey