Serving an LDS Mission in Vina del Mar, Chile.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

El Fin Se Acerca.... [The End is Near]


I can't believe that this is my last letter. I never thought that this day would come so soon. It literally feels like I was a new missionary yesterday.

During my time here in Chile, I have learned many things and how to start talking is something that I have no idea how to do.

I have come to know and love my Savior here in Chile. I thought I knew Him before because I could recite stories from the scriptures and knew all of the answers in Seminary and Sunday School. I now realize that the gospel isn't a list of things to do, nor is it a list of things not to do, rather it is a way to live and to be. In order to really come to know and love our Savior, we must first come to know and love His teachings. There is no other way because He is His teachings.

There have been many times during the mission that I have wondered exactly [why] many people can't realize that true happiness is found only through whole-hearted and consecrated obedience to the laws, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel. If at any time we are unhappy, we lack 1) conversion and 2) consecration. Sure, at times we will feel sorrow for the choices of others but even in the midst of such sorrow, the joy of righteous gospel-living will radiate through our souls.

This life is a life of change. Whether we are changing for the better or for the worse is ultimately our decision. God cannot mold us without our permission - such would be contrary to the principle of agency. As we lay aside our weapons of our rebellion that keep us from rendering our hearts fully to God, we are allowing Him to take control and make of us the servants He wants and needs us to be. In the end, we can do many things by ourselves, but without the enabling power found in Christ, we will never be able to achieve all of our divine potential. Everyone has at least one weapon of their rebellion that is keeping them from fully rendering their heart to God; whether it be a desire to listen to music with inappropriate lyrics, the excuse of being "too busy" or "too tired", annoyance or frustration with church leaders, etc. At some point we will need to bury those weapons; so why not now? In the end, the only way to truly "win" is to lose; lose yourself in the Lord´s will. When He wins, we do, too.

I have seen miracles in the lives of the people I have taught. Watching them change their lives completely just to have something that I have always had, has made me realize just how grateful I am to loving parents who taught me in a gospel-centered home. Many times I have had companions or members or investigators ask me how I know what I know. The only answer I have ever been able to come up with is that my parents taught me. Now I realize why Helaman made a special effort to emphasize that the 2060 stripling warriors were taught by their mothers. That had to have been backed up by fathers and the faithful examples of both parents. Forever more I will be grateful to the faithful example of my parents, for they have shown me the higher way to live.

Above all, I have learned that nothing is worth it if it makes you lose the Spirit. NEVER do anything that would endanger you from losing the Spirit and falling from the grace of God. As long as we have the Spirit with us, we will be okay. Think of it for a moment. God blesses every baptized and confirmed person with the gift and opportunity of having the constant companionship of a member of the Godhead. Wow. Now, answer me this question. What in the world could be more important than living worthily of that companionship? The answer, nothing! The Spirit purifies and sanctifies us. It seals and guides us. The Spirit is the key.

One last piece of random advice. If you ever are praying for an answer and it doesn't come while you're on your knees, please get up and get moving. The answer will almost always come while you're on your feet. A prayer of faith implies action. Now go and ACT.

I love you all. See you soon.
Elder Groneman #2

1 comment:

  1. A very wise and powerfully encouraging Testimony Parker! Thank you for sharing it with us and motivating us to wake up, stand up, and walk taller as children of our Heavenly Father!
    Looking forward to seeing you and hearing from you soon!
    Safe returns! Much love!
    Aunt Sheryl