Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014-- Email #38

July 14, 2014
Santiago, Philippines

Dear Fam,

I think I can second that motion; this was a great week for learning. It was a lot of praying for charity, changing of heart, and begging for forgiveness. But as you know, we need tough things to come so we can get a little tougher ourselves. Thank you for all the advice on Mentoring! I'll definitely be able to implement that. 

Rodolfo Nolasco is still on for being baptized this coming Saturday! He's still a reading rockstar in the Book of Mormon; He's in Alma 35 now! He passed his baptismal interview with flying colors. What an awesome guy. If only the rest of his family wasn't so busy! I'm confident their time will come as well. Sadly, the rest of the people we had set dates with to be baptized in July haven't followed through with their church attendance, so they're looking at August now for their baptisms. It's a miracle we've been able to pull this off at all, considering some of the setbacks we've had in our companionship. That's a great thing me and Elder Espanto share: we've learned how to forgive quickly. I don't feel keen to go into the details of what has happened between us, considering I'd be running the risk of being critical towards him... Needless to say, the miracle of forgiveness, and the healing power of the Atonement, are things we should always be turned to in gratitude for. 

You know, our Heavenly Father feels. He has emotions just like you and I. Of course, His emotions have reached such a perfect state as to be beyond all comprehension. However, this does not mean our emotions are not deeply dear to His heart. When we're happy, He is happy. When we cry, he cries. It doesn't matter the reason, or the choices we make, as to how deeply our Father in Heaven loves us. His love for us is always there. You could imagine, then, His deep sorrow when we choose wrong; when we deliberately sin, and choose a path other than the plan we had accepted in His presence. Why does He feel this sorrow when we sin? Because He knows it brings pain to us, and He knows us so well, and sympathizes with us so intimately, that anything that brings us lower causes Him deep remorse for our deviation from the right. Don't you know He intends to save all of us? Why would this plan exist in the first place if it was His intent to save only a few? 

I had an interesting conversation with Jethro's father the other day. We've gotten to be good friends through a mutual interest in Led Zeppelin. We started discussing lyrics to a few classic songs and he expressed something I've been pondering recently. He said that people will always change, and there will always be a new fad, and that he himself did not have the desire to join the church, but that it was fine if Jethro was a member, based on the premise that what we've been taught to believe in is what we should stick to. There were a few things that I wanted to expound to him that unfortunately time prevented. One, Jethro was raised a Catholic with the rest of his family, but when the missionaries began teaching him, he came to know by the power of the Spirit that the true and living God has restored a true church once again upon the earth, and that the Catholic church, to be frank, still worshiped a dead God. Of course, the words of prophets in all ages are true, but why would we worship the shadow of our God when we could follow Him Himself, as He is alive and well, and continues to speak to His children? Second, people do change, but God does not change. He has one way of doing things, and that is the way we ought to do it. He always calls prophets, and apostles, to lead His true church, without exception. I can't remember the direct quote, but essentially it was revealed to Joseph Smith that this is how the government of Heaven is conducted; by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. I testify that is true. 

If we've found ourselves worshiping a God whom we can't bear our hearts to, and that doesn't answer our prayers, we've fallen into our own little apostasy. Find faith in the living Christ. Search, ponder, and pray, 'til we know Him personally, just as He knows us, and we come into an open environment for truth to descend upon us. The truth is a powerful tool, offered to all of us through the prayer of faith and the Holy Spirit. Don't miss your opportunity! This life is the time! I leave these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Kocherhans 

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