Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 29 in Veracruz City

The past two weeks have been awesome. And brutal. Let me talk about brutal first.

So Mexico is like, really hot and stuff. Which sucks. We're always dying and sweating. I'm used to being drenched now. It's kinda comfortable. Except the smell and the crustiness. The bad part is that last week, we lost electricity TWICE!!!! Which means our air conditioner (yeah, this is a rich area, we DO have one of those) wasn't working and so we passed the night sweating to death. It was easily the most miserable night I've ever had. In my life. Which just makes it hilarious for me now that it's over. Then, two days later, we lost power AGAIN! But this time it wasn't at night so we only half died. Then, this week, we dont have water!!!!!! So we can't wash all the nastyness off. It's like football practice x5. It's wayyy sweatier down here. 

All that aside, I would like to share something this week. This week I've learned a lot about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is many times called the gospel of repentance, even though it's faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We, as human beings, are "carnal and sensual", fallen, thanks to the fall of Adam and Eve. In that state we cannot return to Heavenly Father, because we are unworthy to be in His presence. In order to redeem us from our fallen state, so that our carnal minds may become spiritual, He "sent His only begotten son, so that whosoever believeth in Him, might not perish, but have everlasting life." So if we believe in Christ, we will have everlasting life. But only if we have true belief, which means that we also understand that one day there will be a day of judgement. If we truly believe, then we will understand that we must prepare ourselves for this day of judgement. We must turn our hearts from carnal to spiritual, become like God, and not like the natural man. This change from carnal to spiritual is called conversion, and is brought about only through repentance. The atonement (the sacrifice and death of Christ) does not redeem us IN our sins, but rather, FROM them. This is what missionaries teach.

Repentance is the process through which we change. This leads to the ordinances, or covenants, that we make with God when we are fully repentant. Like baptism, which cleanses us from our sins when we repent. If it weren't for repentance, we would never be able to change, and thus never be able to have eternal life, because we could not bear to be in the presence of God.

Without repentance our faith would be in vain, and therefore not real faith. Without true repentance, the ordinances of baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the sacrament would be void, dead works, "having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof", and peace, or the feeling that God gives us as a confirmation that at judgement day we will be saved, would be denied us forever.

That being said, we are all human and we all make mistakes. If we are with sin, we cannot enter into God's presence, nor have peace. So I invite you all to repent. The results are so rewarding! The peace you will feel can be lasting. To repent, first recognize that you did something wrong. You must confess to God through prayer, and then to whoever you have wronged or hurt, and then (if it is a serious sin) to a church leader ordained of God to be a judge in Israel. This is often the hardest step in repentance, but be humble! Don't fear what man can do. Fear the judgement day and your God. It will be hard, but with the help of the Lord and prayer and a plan, all is possible. If you have wronged someone, stop doing it, then analyze the situation and see what you can do to fix it. Then, show your heartfeltness to the Lord by keeping His commandments and giving service to others. Trust in the Savior that you can be forgiven. You will know that it has happened when you cease to feel guilt and feel at peace with yourself. Sometimes it is a long process. Don't worry! It has an end!

The best of all the scriptures that I have found about true repentance is in Alma 36. There you can identify all of the steps. 

I leave you my testimony of repentance. I am human, and have made many mistakes. But I know they have been washed clean through the blood of Christ. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be as crimson, they shall be white like wool." I know peace is possible in this life and that it is through true repentance that we reach it. I know that the Savior Jesus Christ died for each one of you, and that it doesn't matter what you may have done, you can be made clean through the merciful process of repentance. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June 16 in Veracruz City

We've been teaching this one young couple named S and M. M recently recieved her answer that the Book of Mormon is true and so we're super excited! S is still working on it but they're both super good investigators and I'm so grateful to have taught them! They're not married even though they have 3 kids, so this week we're going to work on that, and prolly next week we'll get them married. 

Being a missionary is a super sacred calling. We are literally entrusted by God with many of his sons and daughters. Every person we teach is super important and has literally divine potential. I feel so blessed to be trusted with the people that He has given me to teach.

"Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the children of men, that they might know that no flesh can dwelll in the presence of God, only by the merits, mercy, and grace of the holy Messiah, who gives His life, according to the flesh, and taketh it back by the power of the Spirit, in order to bring to pass the ressurrection of the dead, being the first to rise." 
2 Nephi 2:8. 

Sorry if the verse is a little off, I have to translate from Spanish to English in my head (don't really use English much anymore), and so there are probably minor errors, but I like this verse a lot because it talks about what I am doing. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and that by and through Him we can be happy! I'm happy to know this, just as I am happy to live His gospel and do what He asks of me. Why? Because He knows all, loves me, and whatever He has in mind is for my good. I love him, because He loved me first. And I'll glady go and take this message to the rest of the world. It is what He has asked of me, so that more people may be blesed as I have been.

Monday, June 8, 2015

June 8 in Reforma, Veracruz City

Well, today I don't have much time, but I do want to share something special very quickly. We've been teaching for three weeks a young woman named (V). She's 23. We couldn't figure out what her thing was! Normally when we teach people, they have a "need." Like, they need to hear about why are there so many religions, or what happens after death, or how can they find peace. Normally we can find out by what they tell us pretty fast. But with her, we couldn't. This week we finally did. We taught her and it became apparent that she felt nobody loved her, and she would never have the things one needs in life to be happy (family). We told her she should go and pray and ask if god loved her, if he was her father, and to make her understand the way he felt about her. She came to church this week, whereas before she wouldn't come. She knows about the truth of these things now, I guess you could say. I'm sure that somebody who's reading this has at some point felt the way that she has. I want to testify that when you think those things, you are thinking lies. Lies that Satan puts in your head to try to destroy you. I know that God is your Heveanly Father and that he is only a prayer away. Put your trust in him, do his will, and all will be well.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June 1 in Reforma, Veracruz City

Wow so this week was crazy. First off we've been having a ton of success here. But I don't want to talk about that. I want to talk about conversion and what it really is. This ties into the gospel a lot. Conversion is when our desires change, and we become more like Christ, desiring to do good and not evil.

In a nutshell, conversion in the only way we can be saved. We must be converted and become clean from all sin, because nothing impure can dwell with God. So then Christ taught us his gospel, which is how we can do these things.

The gospel is composed of 5 principles and ordinances (an ordinance is just a promise we make with God, like signing a contract).

They are: First, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That means we believe that He is the Son of God, and that he atoned (paid) for our sins. We must believe that only in and through his teaching and sacrifice for us can we be saved.

Second, repentance. Repentance is one of the principle ways that we become converted. Faith brings us to realize that in order to have any hope to be saved, we must keep God's commandments. And when we don't, we must repent, or change. That means we recognize that what we've done is wrong. (That's why pride is bad, because then we cannot recognize that.) We confess to God and we make restitution for what we have done. Then, we don't do it again, and we keep God's commandments.

Third, baptism. This is the first ordinance of the gospel, and the third principle. In baptism, we promise to keep God's commandments, remember Jesus always, and be representatives of Him. God, in turn, promises us that we will be made clean and sanctified by His Spirit and have the same to guide us. Repentance converts us, and baptism prepares us for purification, which comes in the following.

Fourth, the Holy Ghost. This is like the key to everything. If you pull out this pin then the whole gospel falls apart. it is the 4th principle and 2nd ordinance. The Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit and can communicate to us the will of God. He is also the third member of the Godhead. The Holy Ghost is both what cleans us and converts us. Repentance allows Him to enter our hearts and to change them from the natural man to a spiritual man, and thereby be saved. His touch is also sanctifying and purifying, and can bring to us, through the atonement of Christ, the remission of our sins. We have the right to receive this prized gift from God only after baptism, though we may feel His presence occasionally before, as He may visit us to witness to us.

The 5th and last principle is persevere to the end. This also embodies the first two, continually repenting daily and growing in our faith and knowledge of Christ. Basically, keeping ourselves clean after baptism and the reception of the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

This is all made possible through the atonement of Christ. Were it not for Him, there could be no forgiveness, and thus no redemption, and repentance would be in vain. There would be no change of heart, and all mankind would remain fallen, unhappy, cut off from the presence of God.

Adam fell that men might be, and man is, that he might have joy. And the messiah cometh in the fullness of times, to redeem men from the fall.....2 Nephi2:25-26. I testify that Christ came to save us from death and sin and that through His perfect gospel, all mankind may be saved.

Until next week!
Elder Thompson

May 25 in Reforma, Veracruz City

This is the weirdest change in my mission. So first I get taken out of Carlos A. Carrillo, then now guess what? The dearly beloved Elder B (He's an AWESOME missionary, companion, and friend) gets changed our of here on MORE special changes! He left today in the morning. He's going here close by in the stake Veracruz (the first stake to be established here) and my new companion is Elder C! I just barely met him but he appears to be pretty cool. I'm super excited to work with him. The bad news is that I hardly know anything about my area. I only have two weeks here, so we're almost in something called whitewash, which is when they pull all the missionaries out of an area and put in 2 new ones that don't know anything. Anyways this week was awesome. We had 6 less active members come to church and 1 investigator! But this week we could have something like 5 or 6 investigators! This one lady that we are teaching that I talked about last week, she's probably in her early 30's and she is married with 2 kids. All her life she's been searching for the true church. She prayed about the Book of Mormon and asked to know if it was true. She got the answer yes. Now she wants to get baptized as fast as possible! How cool is that? Anyways I don't have much more time and I want to respond to some individual emails but I want to tell all you guys that I know that this church is true. I've read the Book of Mormon and I know it is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today and that Jesus Christ, the very son of the living God, guides and leads this church today and is the path to salvation. I hope you can all come to know it too by having an open mind and open heart and a sincere desire to know. If you have those things and pray and ask, the answer will be eventually made manifest to you. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.