Monday, April 20, 2015

Living Testimony

My last blog post, to wrap up the two years...

Whenever missionaries in this mission go home, they have the opportunity to share their "dying testimony." Dying has too many negative connotations. I like to think that what I'm sharing is a "living testimony". Because that's exactly what it is; vibrant, alive, growing, deepening, real, and tangible. Something you can nurture, support, and strengthen, or neglect and lose. So, this isn't my dying testimony, this is my living testimony.

There are things that I know to be true, there are things that I believe to be true, and there are things that I'm still working on.

I know that God, Our Father, lives. He lives, and He loves us; He loves me. He knows His children, and He is doing everything that He can to help us to return to be with Him. I know that His work and His glory is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39), and that His purposes are eternal and complete. He is our Father. And we can know Him. I truly believe that I have grown closer to Him, and that I know Him better.

I know that His Son, Jesus Christ, is real. I know His love is real; it's tangible and personal, and everything you could possibly wish for. I know He came to Earth to teach us, to lead us, and ultimately to die and be resurrected for us; for me. I know He suffered for my sins and died, and I can't comprehend that, I don't know all the details, but I know it happened, because I have felt it. I have seen it work in the lives of others, and of myself. There is a cleansing and a sanctification that comes only in and through Jesus Christ. He lives. He truly overcame death, and He conquered the enemy of all righteousness. I know that my Redeemer lives.

My father sent me this picture, it was painted for the family of a missionary who passed away on his mission. It has become one of my favorites, because of the truths that it displays, and the feelings it evokes.

I'm eternally grateful for what my Savior has done, is doing, and will continue to do for me. I love Him, and I have come to know Him better as I have served Him. The relationship that we cultivate with the Savior is the most precious, personal, and sacred relationship we can have. It is so important to me, and I strive to build it every day.

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly the Lord's kingdom established on the Earth. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and as Joseph Smith, I know that "a man would get nearer to God by abiding by it's precepts, than by any other book." I love this Church. I love the temple. I love our prophet, President Thomas S Monson. 

My testimony fills me with incomprehensible joy and peace. It's something that anyone can develop, if they will try. If you need help, reach out. My testimony has moved me to become someone different, someone better, than I was before I had it. It's become a driving force in my life, a fuel for conversion, a fuel that will never run out. 

I love being a missionary. I love it so much. And as the Three Nephites in the Book of Mormon, I "have desired that [I] might bring the souls of men unto [Christ], while the world shall stand. And for this cause [I] shall have fullness of joy" (3 Nephi 28:9-10). It doesn't end, it continues, and I can continue to strive to be a better missionary, a better representative of Jesus Christ, every day.

I have read the Book of Mormon several times since I have been on my mission, and my favorite verse of scripture is found in 3 Nephi 9:13-15, and invitation from the Savior, and it reads:

"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? Yea, verily I say unto you, if you will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me. Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God." (emphasis added)

I know these thing are true, "and for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ... and also that ye may believe the gospel of Jesus Christ... and I would that I could persuade all ye ends of the earth to repent and prepare to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ" (Mormon 3:20-22).

In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.