First off, Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on the 15th and 16th of September here. So on Tuesday and Wednesday we had to go to our houses early because of all the partying and something called El Grito (the shout). What they do is, in the middle of the night they all congregate around the central government building of the city or of the town, and then a representative comes out on a balcony and starts shouting: "¡Viva!" (Followed by the name of one of the Mexican revolucionists.) For example, "¡Viva Juarez!", and then the people shout it back. They go down the list of names of basically all the Mexican founding fathers and then they shout "¡Viva México!" over and over again. As you can imagine it's loaded with drunks and partiers, and we missionaries are strictly forbidden to go. But I got to see what it looks like on the news the next day when we went to a sister's house to eat. :)
Anyways, another super cool thing this week was that 11 investigators went to church. We were obviously super happy. About 8 of them have to get married before they get baptized, but I don't care, I'm helping to unite families, and it makes me happy to see them get happier and change to put their lives in accordance with God's will. These people are really trying, and I know that Heavenly loves them, and I do too. The missionary work is the best thing in the world.
After church on Sunday, I got a call from President Cordoba, the president of my mission, and he's like, "Elder Thompson, we're going to do the interviews of you guys today, but seeing as how you have appointments all day, I'll just come with you guys to a lesson and then afterwards we'll do the interview."
We cleaned the house fast as lightning.
Then we went to go see (a family of three) and we had a super awesome lesson with President. The father knows that the church is true, but basically didn't want to get baptized because of his pride. So we talked with him and helped him out. The mother was a huge help. The father is now getting baptized in early October (happy birthday present for me) and I learned a lot from President. I learned how to listen, and how to ask questions, and how to teach clearly. It was an awesome and humbling experience for me.
One thing I really saw this week is how pride is a stumbling block. Pride is like a dam. It seals up the flow of water, and progress, and though that may be desirable sometimes with rivers, the only thing it does to a human soul is stop it from reaching its full potential. The Bible states mnay times that we may inherit the Kingdom of God. It also says that we are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.
Let's put 2 and 2 together. When a king tells his son, the prince, that he may inherit his kingdom, he clearly means that his son may also be made king one day, and that it is the desire of the king that it be that way. But, if the father is a good king, then he will not give the kingdom to his son unless he knows that his son will be a good, just and righteous king. If he sees that his son may be otherwise, then he will bestow the kingdom upon another. It is likewise with God, our Heavenly Father. He truly is a great King, and His kingdom is so great, and His dominion so important and so loved by Him, that He will only let perfect beings, such as He is, inherit his throne.
We are naturally imperfect, and thus not fit to rule. Actually, we have transgressed, every one, the very laws that of the kingdom that we are meant to govern. We've sinned, breaking the commandments of God. Therefore we must be subject to justice, just as anyone else would be, because our Father and King is perfectly just. That means that there is a price that must be paid. Spiritually, our wrong choices leave us imprisoned, and separated from the presence of our King and God.
But because our Father loves us, he sent us Mercy, in the form of his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Christ suffered and payed for our transgressions. Every. Single. One. He "bailed us out of jail", or ransomed us from the consequences of our choices, all of us. The work and the toil to be able to pay the price, the excruciating pain, was so much that even He, the greatest of all, trembled, and bled form every pore. He payed the price of the bailout. We are all free to choose now, in this mortal life. It is our probation. Our testing time, where our father will watch us to see if we will repent of our sins, to see if we will abide His law. He understands that we won't be perfect in this life, but if we pass the test, through sufficient reptentance and obedience to his commandments, then He raises us up, to be with Him after this life, to continue to progress until we become like Him, and are able to inherit all that He has.
On the other hand, the children that still do not obey His law, the ones that mock the suffering and the love and condescension of Christ and of God by their abiding disobedience, they are not fit, and must pay the price of their own sins, because they were too proud to do what was neccessary, too proud to change, to become who their Eternal Father wanted them to be through the grace of Christ. They consider a life of crime against the Most High better than a life of obedience to His Law, when they might have inherited the kingdom of their father through repentance. They literally "dam" themselves, sealing themselves away in a spiritual prison, stopping all eternal progess, and limiting themselves to a fraction of the life they could have had, had they just humbled themselves and done what was necessary.
I invite all of you to do a self-examination, to look for being proud and cast it out. If you have feelings of hate, envy, anger, or even fear of what other people might think of you, this is pride, and it is Satan trying to stop you from reaching your divine potencial. Please do what is necesary to cast it out. Christ already paid the price. Come out of the prison cell and come to Him and change. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
- Elder Thompson