Hello!! This week was another really good week! We spent the week in our sector and we are seeing some really good things.
We had two exchanges this week! So the first exchange was with the Lausanne ZLs and I was with Elder Wilkey! He is from England and has been out for a little over a year! He is a big stud and we had a great time. We had a few lessons with some of our amis including Mama Helene who is progressing very well now! The second exchange was with Elder McKee from Montpellier! We saw some pretty cool things and it was a great exchange. He is also incredible. I love exchanges because I learn so much from whoever I am with.
This past week was a great week but I'm having a hard time remembering everything that we did haha! But all in all we have spent the last few weeks in our sector and it has been so great and we have seen so many cool things.
Well because I'm having such a hard time remembering everything, I'll just post something that Elder Menzel and I wrote this past week! So each week in the mission we send out a little mission email that has words of the week from President and Sister Brown, words from Elder Menzel and I, the stats for the week, and a few other things. So here is a little excerpt from what we wrote this past week. Sorry it's not a summary of the week but it's the only thing I can think of to put! So here you go:
"During our companionship studies we often do a type of role play in which one of us asks the other a question and then hits a countdown timer of 1 minute, giving the person responding to the question a maximum of 1 minute to respond. It is a fun way to roll play simply and clearly answering those “hard questions” that we sometimes get as missionaries! This past week a question was posed, a timer was hit…but an answer didn’t come. What was the question?
“I don’t need to go to church to believe. Why do I need a church?”
To find the answer to this question we decided to go back to the October 2015 General Conference where Elder D. Todd Christofferson addressed this topic and gave apostolic answers to this question! So we went through his talk and bolded and italicized his answers and then gave a few side comments of our own.
"How does a Church accomplish the Lord’s purposes? It is important to recognize that "God’s ultimate purpose is our progress. His desire is that we continue “from grace to grace, until [we receive] a fullness” of all He can give. That requires more than simply being nice or feeling spiritual. It requires faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism of water and of the Spirit, and enduring in faith to the end. One cannot fully achieve this in isolation."
-As it could potentially be true that someone could progress to a certain point in the gospel alone, they cannot progress and attain the FULLNESS (key word) of Heavenly Fathers blessings all alone (ex. we can’t baptize ourselves). Because of this fact, He has given us a church system by which we can progress and receive all of his promised blessings that lead to eternal life. (Ephesians 4:13)
"Without the capabilities of His Church in place, the Savior’s commission to take the gospel to all the world could not be realized. There would not be the apostolic keys, the structure, the financial means, and the devotion and sacrifice of thousands upon thousands of missionaries needed to carry out the work. Remember, “This Gospel of the Kingdom [must] be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.”
-Through missionary work, ALL of Heavenly Fathers children have the opportunity to partake of and accept the blessings of the Gospel. If there was no structure on which the church was built, we would not have the means by which we could carry the “Good News” to all the world!
"In the Church we not only learn divine doctrine; we also experience its application."
-We not only LEARN, but we DO. We not only LEARN about what Christ did, but we BECOME his hands in accomplishing his work among his children. In a “church” organization we learn, and then we become. Beautiful isn’t it?
"Church offers a weekly gathering of respite and renewal, a time and place to leave the world behind--the Sabbath. It is a day to experience the spiritual healing that comes with the sacrament, and to receive the renewed promise of His Spirit to be with us."
-With all of the craziness and stress that life can sometimes offer, how would someone feel if you told them that there was a day set apart every week where we relax from our labors and ‘recharge’ spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally?
"One of the greatest blessings of being part of the body (church) of Christ, though it may not seem like a blessing in the moment, is being reproved of sin and error. Repentance is individual, but fellowship on that sometimes painful path is in the Church."
-Not only did Christ walk the lonely path of sin, heartache, sorrow, grief and remorse utterly alone for us…but in His church we have Brothers and Sisters who “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” (D&C 81: 5) Another absolutely beautiful blessing that can only be received in His church.
"His Church is used to achieve needful things that cannot be accomplished by individuals or smaller groups.”
-How many lives have been saved through the Church’s charities, humanitarian aids, natural disaster recovery program, food drives, or self-reliance courses? And the list goes on and on.
"The Church can build and operate temples, houses of the Lord, where vital ordinances and covenants may be administered. If one believes that all roads lead to heaven or that there are no particular requirements for salvation, he or she will see no need for proclaiming the gospel or for ordinances and covenants in redeeming either the living or the dead. But we speak not just of immortality but also of eternal life, and for that the gospel path and gospel covenants are essential. And the Savior needs a church to make them available to all of God’s children--both the living and the dead."
-Through His church and Holy Temples, the Savior makes his Gospel possible to the living as well as the dead! If Heavenly Father didn’t establish His principles, teachings, and ordinances into a church setting…there would be no such thing as a Forever Family. Without Holy Temples in which we perform ordinances for ancestors, eternity with our loved ones couldn’t possibly exist. How is that for a sad thought?
"As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was being established in the 1830s, the Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Lift up your hearts and rejoice, for unto you the kingdom, or in other words, the keys of the church have been given.” In the authority of these keys, the Church’s priesthood officers preserve the purity of the Savior’s doctrine and the integrity of His saving ordinances. With the keys of the kingdom, the Lord’s servants can identify both truth and falsehood and once again authoritatively state, “Thus saith the Lord.”
-What a blessing! With the Restoration of the church through the prophet Joseph Smith, there was no longer a need to question doctrines and saving ordinances because Christ had once again called upon someone who could say, “Thus saith the Lord,” thereby revealing the will of God to us all!
"In this discussion of the Church as the body of Christ, we must always bear in mind two things. One, we do not strive for conversion to the Church but to Christ and His gospel, a conversion that is facilitated by the Church. The Book of Mormon expresses it best when it says that the people “were converted unto the Lord, and were united unto the church of Christ.”
-The whole goal of the Church is to convert us unto the Lord. We become converted unto the Lord as we have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, are baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end! The process by which we become converted to the Lord is in following those steps through the organization of His Church.
"Beginning with Adam, the gospel of Jesus Christ was preached, and the essential ordinances of salvation, such as baptism, were administered through a family-based priesthood order. We must remember that in the beginning, the Church was the family, and even today as separate institutions, the family and the Church serve and strengthen one another. The point of gospel teaching and priesthood ordinances administered by the Church is that families may qualify for eternal life."
-It is amazing to think about the perfect love that our Heavenly Father has for us all. “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) He provides us with all of these blessings that are found in the church so that families can be eternal and can qualify for eternal life! Does this remind you of May 21st, 2017? (Paris, France Temple!!)
So, why a church? Because it is the way by which Heavenly Father shows us, his children, his perfect love. We testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In this church He has once again restored all of the necessary doctrines and saving ordinances that allow us to return and live in His presence with our loved ones again."
Okay so now that you're probably asleep after reading that I will say goodbye for the week!! This next week is transfer process so we will see what happens!! Have a great week!