And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
- D&C 18:15
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Monday, July 4, 2016
Building the Kingdom
Happy Fireworks everybody! Independence Day comes around again. Last year I enjoyed the Fourth of July in the Missionary Training Center, which was a shame, because I was sure that having the
Fourth of July in Texas was going to be great. So far, it's felt like any other day in the field. I guess when
you do the same thing day in and day out, the holidays seem to glaze over. I find it truly American that we celebrate the birth of our nation before we could make sure that we existed. We celebrate the agency we expressed when we declared freedom and sovereignty, not when we made the treaty of peace that ensured our country's safety. But that is what makes America America. We celebrate the risks,we honor the faithful. This week we were blessed with two excellent baptismal services, and we have two more planned in a few weeks. The baptisms that we planned for were both for part member families. One of them was for the
C girls, who should have been baptized long ago, but sometimes things don't work out. Many missionaries
have been teaching this family, and their efforts have finally paid off. It was a great service, filled with the
spirit. I am very proud of that family and the progression they have made.
The other baptism was for I R and his sisters, S and C. It will probably be the fastest baptism of my mission. Two and a half weeks ago we got a referral from the bishop of the Pflugerville Ward letting us know that a
less active family wanted their children to be baptized. We had to to teach them all the lessons before the
interview, which had to be before the Sunday of the baptism, and then we had to establish expectations with
the family to be active in the church. They are coming to church in the Spanish branch as of now, and it seems
that they are enjoying it. It was great. We are excited every to teach the new member lessons to that family.
This Sunday was highlighted by three excellent sessions of church, which was spiritually filling, to say the least. The wards here are fantastic, and I can't help but feel like this is where I was meant to be. We all have these
moments of clarity where the Lord lets you know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. It is profound, it is simple, it is true. The Lord has a plan for all of us. He is waiting for us to recognize it. And perhaps,
recognizing means exactly what it says. We re-cognize the plan that God made for us at the beginning. We
re-member ourselves as his children. We re-collect the knowledge that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and his words
of truth. It is not that we are learning truths made from the air or the earth, we may very well be re-learning that
which was known by us before. That is why the spirit is familiar, it makes us feel confident, it makes us feel at
home, because at one point before our lives we were already there, already knowing, already repenting, already
living. The gospel is nothing new, it is simply re-stored here on this earth. We now can partake of an atonement
that has been applicable since the very beginning.
We also received a new mission president this week. He is a giant teddy bear. Can't wait to meet him some more.
I also ran into someone from my home Ward! Brother Ellis from the Round Rock Ward. He's lived there for two
years and I remember him moving from Jerome Idaho to somewhere in Texas. I've been serving around him for
the past six and a half months. I've seen him many, many times before, but it never hit me that it was him, because
that's too crazy to happen- until Elder C was talking to me about a man who gave him some essential oils on an
exchange in Round Rock. He pointed at him in the hallway and said, "That's Brother Ellis." And then it all clicked.
This man who looked exactly like Brother Ellis actually was Brother Ellis! I now cover every Ward that surrounds
his own Ward. Who would have thought.