Well this week has been quite exciting. On Sunday we were able to talk with Elaine again (one of our investigators) and she has been reading the Book of Mormon. She hasn't quite been praying yet but I am sure that this week she will start. We also invited her to be baptized on October 16th and she said okay :D She is so awesome! She takes the bus by herself to church and after the first lesson she started reading the Book of Mormon. She has no questions so far which is great but sometimes can seem almost too easy. But, I have been counseled never to constrict the faith of your investigator and if I start saying she won't make it I put a restriction on her ability. She has a great spirit and I am certain that she knows that this is a good church and she believes that what we say is true so what else matters? She is progressing.
Just yesterday we had a wonderful meeting with Elder Christoffel Golden Jr. who is in the First Quorum of Seventy. He is from South Africa :) I don't know why but I feel a special love and connection for all who come from Africa. They are such an amazing people. He and his wife came and he had a great accent too. He taught me a couple great principles that I really needed to hear. I will only have time to share one though.
Personal Righteousness = Faith.
If we want to increase our faith then we increase our personal righteousness. I have been wondering how I can better increase my faith and allow it to grow faster and I received this answer to my prayers. All I need to do is see the areas in which I can improve my personal righteousness and then work on those areas. I have a confession to make, I prayed for more humility ;) Well, it has come and I am grateful for it and now I can work on those weaknesses that the Lord has shown unto me and allow Him to build them into my strengths (Ether 12:27).
I was able to ponder more on these things today in my personal study and I read Alma chapters 4 and 5. Alma chapter 4 talks of the how the church grows then people become proud and persecute the saints. The saints are described in the latter verses of the chapter by their constant service to those in need and I thought of how Mosiah 5 talks about being "steadfast and immovable always abounding in good works." How did these people do this? Why did they continue when all around them even their own were persecuting them? How did Job do it? Why did Job continues?...How? Why? those were my questions. Then I read Alma 5:12-13, "And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true. And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved." Why? Those people suffered those things because they had received a mighty change of heart. How? Because of their faith in Christ, following and living His example. Personal Righteousness = Faith. If you want to know that this gospel is true, if you want to change yourself for the better, all you have to do is start living the way God has asked. Read the scriptures daily, pray daily, attend church weekly, and follow His commandments. As we do these things we will become humble servants and we will put our "trust in the true and living God." I have often prayed for a mighty change of heart. I have often prayed that I would be changed but "faith without works is dead" and we need to start living a righteous life to be able to receive that mighty change. I know that because of faith miracles happen and it is when we are living the laws of God that we receive blessings. There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated -- And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Another little thought, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain..." Exodus 20:7. When we live unrighteously after baptism is another way we take the name of God in vain. Not only swearing.