Monday, September 27, 2010

My dear family.

Live is INCREDIBLE. Like absolutely marvelous. If I was to rate my happiness from 1-10 it would be a 3423. Its SO TRUE when you really give all your time to God, live the commandments, and serve people, there is soooo much happiness waiting to be received. My companion and I are trying our hardest to see miracles and we are.

Mom, you sent me some interesting statistics about children from RMs. I am getting emotional even thinking about my life without my mission. I feel like my investigators are my children and I am helping them understand why they need to apply the gospel. Its such an eye opener to study out the commandments then study how to help my investigators understand the commandments. I think about my own children, and I am so grateful for my mission in teaching me how to simplify the gospel for others. One thing that I have realized is that with every commandment there is a principle behind it and a promise. This is so key in understanding, or else people will not keep the commandments. For example a recent convert told me, that now that he's been baptized he now has the obligation to go to church. Although he has not been attending church weekly. I've pondered this words for quite some time and its been eating at me. My mission president said that the misunderstanding of church attendance is one of the main reasons why people become less active. SO Lately I've been studying this topic real hard to try and understand how to help others and myself figure out regular church attendance. We don't just go because its a commandment or obligation. and being parents (or missionaries) we cant just tell our children, you go to church because its a commandment or we have to. Sure some children may follow because its a commandment, but that's not enough for most. We need to internalize the princible. We govern ourselves by principles and not laws. I've stopped and pondered on the scripture Alma 6:6 and that part that says that the people gathered fasted and prayed OFT for the welfare of the souls "who knew not God" Interesting that it relates people not of the church to not knowing God. One of my investigators concerns is that she thinks she can stay closer to God through just prayers and she doesn't need church in her life. I thought about what this scripture is saying and then thought about how long my investigator could go without church. In my opinion, she will lose her testimony of God, until she has to go search for higher help. and where do you think she will find that help?

So many investigators, members ask the question "why should I go to church?" and if we don't attend church weekly, we probably don't understand the principle behind it.

The commandment of church attendance is given in D/C 59: 9-11 (yata sorry if thats wrong I dont have scriptures with me)

But I love how it talks about feeling away and spotted from the world. In my opinion church is an opportunity to relax and forget about worldly things, and learn about God.

Moroni 6:4-6 is such a neat scripture about church attendance. Verse 4 talks about how the church will nourish us and will help us endure to the end. That is why in my opinion my investigator cannot rely on her self for spiritual nourishment. Next in verse 5 it talks about fasting, praying, and speaking about the welfare of our souls. I realize that each week is given for us to evaluate our former week, hopefully remember before Sunday to repent, and set goals for improvement for the next week. Then in verse 6 it talks about the sacrament. What a beautiful reminder we have to constantly repent and feel clean.

Jesus Christ taught the Nephites about the importance of church attendance in 3 Nephi 18:11-13 when he ministers the sacrament to them. Within these 3 verses the commandment, principle and promise is given for the sacrament. It states that we partake of the sacrament to remember Christ, and we will have his spirit to be with us. Through partaking of the sacrament we are building a strong "rock" foundation, for the times when we have trials.

So to summarize, the principle is in partaking the sacrament, remembering to constantly repent. Though repentance we stay humble, and enable ourselves to be teachable. We will be able to evaluate ourselves and our standing with God and learn at church how to draw nearer to God with nourishing words. The promise is that our foundation will be firm and we will have the Lords help through out our week.

There is a lot of people out there that feel distant from God, and Blame Him for their distance. But what they don't realize is that they are distancing themselves and that He is always there for them. He has given us a church with commandments, to understand how to feel and receive Gods love and help in our lives. I LOVE the scripture Alma 12:9-10. It talks about Understanding the mysteries of God. This could mean a lot, but for now I'll just compare it to "knowing God". These verses talk about receiving a lesser portion of the word because of the hardness of our hearts and lack of diligence. What I notice, is that we NEED church in our lives to keep our hearts soft, through repentance, remembrance coming from the sacrament, and evaluating. Now the diligence plays a role for when we're actually at church. Are we there just because its a commandment? Or are we there to actually benefit and learn. God knows the real intentions or our hearts, and he gives us understanding and enlightenment according to that desire. So if its up to our own diligence and the hardness of our heart to "know God".

I feel so scatter brained right now haha. I had so many thoughts about church attendance, and random scriptures pop in my head. Im sure that may have been rather boring to read, but it was good for me to get some of my thoughts out, so I can start organizing them, and helping people maintain weekly church attendance. Each week I wait for my investigators and less actives to show up at church. When they don't, my heart breaks. When I see them walking along the pathway about to enter, my joy is so incredibly great I cry EVERY time. I think I get to feel a little portion of how our Father in Heaven feels when we return to his church each week. I am so blessed to be a missionary and feel some or that joy. I will always remember this feeling, and it will help me return to church every week. Because I'm sure God is looking for each one of his children at his church. I have felt that joy so strongly I am determined to do absolutely Anything for my investigators to come to church. My companion and house mates tease me, because maybe I am a little too determined. But there is fruits in determination. For example, this last Sunday, we have an investigator who is 9.5 months pregnant, and she hasn't gone to church in 4 weeks. Well, we went and visited her on Saturday, and I noticed she had loads and loads of laundry. Well missionary work is all about meeting needs, and helping people come unto Christ. And her need was for us to serve her and do her laundry. I told my companion there was no way we could teach her anything, because her need at this time was service and for us to do her laundry. So we spent some of Saturday evening doing her laundry, and then we woke up early Sunday morning and finished it before church. Well, I think the whole congregation was shocked to see our 91/2 month pregnant investigator hobble into the chapel. But I feel like she felt the love of Christ for her through us, and was able to strengthen her testimony to go to church. I am so willing to do anything to get people to the true church. I am so grateful to God for this confidence and positive attitude. Yesterday one of the members husbands dropped his wife off at church. He's not a member, but I just got this overwhelming not let him leave, and do what ever you can to get him inside that chapel. I thought, he came this far so when he started walking away from the chapel, I ran after him, grabbed his hand,and then held my other hand firmly on his back. I expressed how happy I was to see him at church. I told him that there was a spot next to his wife and I ushered him in. The other missionaries said it looked like I almost carried him into the chapel. Well we went to his house later on to talk about his church experience. Tatay said that he was really scared to go to church. He didn't have enough courage to go in with Nanay, and they were so thankful for the extra push. He felt the Holy Ghost so strongly, and Tay started crying. He said he doesn't know much, but his church experience was so peaceful, and he received a testimony right away. After our lesson he accepted a baptismal goal date. It was truly a miracle. After his baptism, this family will be able to be sealed for all eternity. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost to help testify to tatay of the truthfulness of this church.

Anyway. Love you all.

S. Hancock

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