Monday, March 9, 2015

This Kid is Awesome! (Janine's title)

Hey guys! Skiing sounds fun! Man the climate is so different here in England - but it has actually been getting pretty warm this week, which is nice!
(He asked James a little bit about his work and his practices).  Man it's only now that I'm seeing other people and their lifestyles and their jobs and the way they run their lives I realize how good you set yourself up. Like man - there are so many people here who just do nothing - or don't have any set career or job, but somehow you just got it set up. 
This week we had a tea appointment every night. And mama they feed us stuff like chicken curry
 or Shepard's pie or one family fed us lamb, with potatoes and veggies and gravy and stuff, oh and Yorkshire puddings which are delicious! But I am learning so much about people and how their lifestyles are and it's kind of showing me what sort of a career I want to follow -kind of- if you know what I mean.
Like dad I remember talking to you once about how I have no idea what the heck I want to do in terms of a career, and you told me that that was okay, that I was still young and that I would see the example of people on my mission and how their lives work and that would help me decide what sort of a career I want to go into. And you were TOTALLY right. In this ward there are a bunch (like maybe 6 or 7) young returned missionary couples with young kids. Our ward mission leader is named Andrew Mayor and he fed us along with Lindsay (who btw was baptized on Saturday! More on that to come..) and he has a wife and two young kids. But just the way they were this couple. Two young kids - both have super strong testimonies, both returned missionaries, they just are happy and know who they are and what they want to be! They don't know everything - but they're living life the right way, the way that I want to live it. Get home, go to school, get married, get a job, have kids, hold a calling, be temple worthy... just be happy! Be happy because I will know that I am doing the right things - that I'm doing what God wants me to do, that I'm living in the family unit - ordained of God - in which I will find the happiness God has promised for me there. 
I know that it starts now though. I can't just sit back and cruise through life without a care in the world and just expect everything to fall into my lap. No. I am learning how to work hard. How to set goals. How to work to make myself better. How to identify my weaknesses and how to use the atonement of Jesus Christ to eliminate them - or I guess just make myself less bad at those things. I understand now that this pattern is something that I need to carry with me throughout my life. Always have my feet firmly planted on the rock of my redeemer and rely on Him to carry me through the trials, but try my absolute hardest to become like Him and follow his example. 

In my patriarchal blessing it says paraphrased that 'if I keep myself worthy I will be sealed in the temple to a worthy companion of my choice and raise up a righteous posterity in Israel. Do you remember that day mom and dad? Do you remember that I cried like a baby when I heard that? It's because it is exactly what I wanted then - and it is still exactly what I want now.

I don't know if I told you about this story in a previous e-mail ( I may already have) but it's about the last night in the MTC. The last night there we went to do one last session in the Temple. I had decided that I would go through the session this last time with a question in mind. Now you remember that in the MTC I was struggling hard to get along with my companions there, but I learned a lot about how to deal with people. But for kind of that reason the question that I went through the temple with that day was: ''how can I be a better missionary companion?''. 

I was enlightened that session. The answers poured in to my mind. I've been using the things I learned that night with all my companions and they're helped so much. 

But after the session, I sat down in a chair in the Celestial room and I thought about my question. And the answers came again - but this time they changed. They were changing from ''how can I be a good missionary companion?'' to ''How can I be a good eternal companion, a good husband, a good father?'' and my mind was opened to those answers as well. 

But as I sat there in the celestial room, I was sitting across from a sofa - and I saw, in my mind's eye - my eternal companion and I sitting there together, enjoying together the unity and the love that was between us and our Heavenly Father. I KNOW that one day I will be sealed in the Temple. That we will raise up a righteous posterity. I saw it then, and I know it now. 

Also this Thursday I got a text from the bishop asking me if I could prepare a back up talk about ''why do we invite people?'' in case one of his speakers didn't show up. So I thought a lot about it. And I kind of just want to share like a brief outline of what I was going to talk about (I didn't end up having to give it - but I'll be giving it in a few weeks time).

Why do we invite people? - was the topic. So, what people are we talking about? Does that mean friends, family, neighbours, homeless people we meet on the street? what does it mean by people. 

The answer is: All of the above. 

All of us as people, as human being here on earth share at least one thing in common. One important trait in our identity that joins us all together eternally. What is it? We are ALL CHILDREN OF GOD. (see Psalms 82:6)

So why is that even important? Let me see if I can explain. A lot of religous bodies believe that we are spiritual creations of a God in heaven. Whereas we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe that we are the literal spirit offspring of our Heavenly Father.

Now imagine that I - a normal man - create two things. One of them is a painting, a picture of a beautiful baby boy. The other is an actual beautiful baby boy - my son, my offspring. 

Is the painting ever going to grow up? Is it ever going to become a man? No. But the boy - my son - will. My son has the potential in fact to gain in his lifetime as much knowledge and experience as me. Maybe more. HE can receive eventually everything that I have. Will the painting? No. A mere creation can never become like it's creator. But a child can become like a father. Get the point? So it is with god.

If we were to believe that we were just creations of God, then we are limiting ourselves in our potential. But we are NOT mere creations. We are children of God - and we therefore have the potential to become like Him, to return to His presence and receive everything He has.

In 3 Nephi 32:28 (in the Book of Mormon) Jesus commands: ''I would that ye should be PERFECT, even as I or your Father who is in Heaven is perfect.''

Are any of us perfect? No. But God has commanded us to be perfect? 

Nephi enlightens us in 1 Nephi 3:7

''I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded. For I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the Children of men save he shall PREPARE A WAY for them that they may accomplish the thing which He commandeth them.''

So God ALWAYS prepares a way for us to keep his commandments. SO if He commands us to be perfect, and He always prepares a way.... then what is the way?
...the answer to those who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints should be obvious. He is the founder of our Church - the head of it. HE is the savior of the world, our redeemer, the Mighty God, The Prince of Peace.
He is Jesus Christ. He is the way. Only because of His atonement can we become like our Father. Jesus Christ is also our exemplar. If you want to know how to be perfect: study his life. Learn who he was and how He behaved. Study Christlike attributes (Preach My Gospel has a whole section about them), develop those attributes within yourself.
''If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will MAKE us perfect''
It's no excuse to say: ''Oh I'm just lazy, that's just who I am''. CHANGE is an eternal law. That is what the atonement of Jesus Christ is all about: change. Changing our hearts. Changing our wills to be more in harmony with the will of God our Father. So GET OFF YOUR LAZY BUTT and start being more like Christ. I know that wasn't a very Christlike way to put that, but I'm still learning too ok.

If we do this - follow the pattern outlined in the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Faith and repentance - we can become perfect through Him, and return to live with our Eternal Heavenly Father AND receive EVERYTHING THAT HE HAS - to become for ourselves, a God.

SO we know this. As members of the Church we know this. But NOT EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS. They should! 

As members - it is our duty and responsibility to share this knowledge with everyone. Not to judge others, but to freely invite them to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and help them along their journey to Godhood and perfection. 

C.S Lewis says this:
''It is a strange thing to live in a society of potential Gods and Goddesses. TO realize that even the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day... be a creature which you would be strongly tempted to worship. THERE ARE NO ORDINARY PEOPLE.''

He's right. Only potential gods and goddesses around us - they just don't know that yet. So we need to let them know. That is our duty. That is our purpose - the same as God's purpose ''To Bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man'' (Moses 1:39). When we start with ourselves - start by making ourselves as Christlike as we can be, then we will find that our will is aligned with God's and we will want to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of others by inviting them to learn about Jesus Christ for themselves. 

So I actually never wrote out that talk I just had it all in my head - so I kind of just spewed out a lot of information there out of my mind - but that is basically what I have been thinking about all the time everyday. Those two things: 1. I want to be a righteous husband and father in Israel one day, and 2. the whole potential god's inviting others stuff. So yeah.

Also mama - I hope you go through these are correct the spelling mistakes in them - because I type them out really really fast so there are probably lots.

Umm. I had a lot more stuff to talk about but I'll go through them fast. 

We spent 22 hours knocking on doors and talking to people in the street this week, and because of that we have a bunch of new people to go visit this coming week yay! Hard work pays off! 

WE had a baptism this weekend! First one on my mission! Yay! Lindsay Rosetti. She is great.
Otley is beautiful, I love this ward and this area. Elder McBride is great - we're going to play ping pong at the chapel today haha.

Love you all!


Elder Thompson

PS On Saturday night we took my guitar around the streets and sang Ed Sheeran and hymns for people on the streets haha

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