Jan 11 at 10:53 AM
What a wonderful week of teaching repentance! We did not have our car, and were able to pull our bikes out! (It was a great review of the importance of angular momentum. By the end of the night you really have to focus on keeping that up or you'll fall over. Did I mention that I still love physics? Haha!) Many miracles happened as we were out on our bikes with our lines constantly in the water.
One stands out in my mind. We were without our car and rode our bikes to a referral's apartment complex in hopes that she would be home and we could deliver the item she requested and teach some repentance. When we got there, the gate was locked and we did not know the code. Never to be discouraged, we realized that the next complex over was the home of a part-member family. We walked over and as we were going up the stairs to their apartment, a man stopped us before we could stop him and told us that he has family in Mississippi who are members. He immediately turned around and called his wife, who came out of their apartment and said "You were supposed to come months ago!" Apparently they had met missionaries a few months back and scheduled an appointment, but they never followed through. They excitedly listened as we taught repentance and then eagerly scheduled a return appointment. We are excited to return and baptize a convert family!
Incidentally, the part-member family was not home, and as we walked back to the other apartment complex to retrieve our bikes, a man walked out of the gate and, assuming we were headed inside, held it open for us. Of course we talked to him and he told us that he was lined up for baptism many years ago, but it never happened. We asked him why and he said that he didn't know! We told him that we could make it happen, and he was excited to have us teach him. Exito!
I love this area because I get to pretend that I am fluent in Spanish (just like Zilker Park!) Just yesterday, we were walking in a neighborhood and saw that a family was moving into a house down the block. We rushed over and offered our help... but they only spoke Spanish! We quickly slipped into what little Spanish we know. "Necesita ayudar?" "Aqui?" "Podemos compartir una tarjeta con usted?" "En este pagina de web, puede ver un video sobre Jesu Cristo. Ha nacido un Salvidor!" "Buenos noches!"
Mi Espanol es muy malo y hablo muy poquito, pero es muy divertido para declarar la palabra de Dios en este idioma!
I was studying more about repentance this week, and I came across this verse in 3 Nephi 9:
"O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?"
I love the Savior's three invitations to us.
1. RETURN UNTO ME
We were recently teaching a returning less active member who did not want to come to church. We could not get her to agree to attend. She told us that she was afraid to return to church after breaking a few commandments. She felt that she was not good enough to worship her Savior at church on Sundays. That just about broke my heart. Then, one miraculous Sunday, she walked into the chapel. She stayed all three hours and when we saw her later that week, she told us that she felt so wonderful and she was never going to miss a Sunday again. She has since attended every Sunday, and is making steps toward the temple. We love her so much.
The Savior's first invitation in this verse is to return unto Him. He does not ask us to make ourselves perfect before taking steps toward Him. His arm of mercy is extended toward us now (see 3 Nephi 9:14)!
2. REPENT OF YOUR SINS
This is the step that we make seem the hardest of them all. We live in fear of the day that we will have to put forth the effort to change and repent of our sins. We feel as though we are not strong enough to do so or that we do not have enough time. We fear falling back into sin, and so we do not even try to repent in the first place. I think that we sometimes make repentance too complicated in our minds.
Elder C. Scott Grow said: "When we repent, the Lord allows us to put the mistakes of the past behind us." Isn't this what we all yearn for? It is available through repentance!
Elder D. Todd Christofferson reassured us all when he said: "Christ died not to save indiscriminately but to offer repentance... and we do not need to achieve some minimum level of capacity or goodness before God will help--divine aid can be ours every hour of every day, no matter where we are in the path of obedience."
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland adds: "It takes exactly as long to repent as it takes you to say “I’ll change”--and mean it."
It does not take a great effort or a great amount of time to repent, as long as we truly mean to change. Then repentance and all that comes with it will be sweet to us as we feel ourselves becoming better.
"There is never a day in any man's life when repentance is not essential to his well-being and eternal progress." -President Spencer W. Kimball
3. BE CONVERTED
This one can also be a little discouraging if thought about in the wrong light. Too often we think of conversion as a single moment of time when we suddenly have an unwavering testimony of truth, but this is not the case. Conversion is a process. As we increase our faith in Jesus Christ and our faithfulness to His gospel, the depth of our conversion will also increase. In order to withstand the devils shafts in the whirlwind, we must build upon the rock of our Redeemer (see Helaman 5:12). As we do this, we are becoming converted. There will not be one single moment when we suddenly know, but rather one long journey of discipleship until we reach our final goal!
As we accept these invitations, the Savior promises that He will heal us. He will heal us just as He healed those to whom these invitations were originally given (see 3 Nephi 17:6-10).
May we all heed our Savior's invitation and come a little closer, change a little more, and be a little better!