Monday, October 6, 2014

The Blessing of Prophets

I hope you had a lovely Conference weekend like I did!  All the things that happened this week were miracles and General Conference was the absolute best way to top it all off.  When I was trying to think of what I could write to you, the reoccurring theme of Prophets from General Conference kept coming back into my mind.  As I thought about it, I realized that a lot of the lessons we taught this week were centered around the blessing of having Prophets, so I thought I'd give you an example of that from this past week.
This particular lesson was with a Guatemalan man named Jose (One of the 5 Jose's we are teaching).  Last week we met this family and they let us in and we shared a quick message with them and got a return appointment.  During that whole lesson I noticed Jose was really quiet and his girlfriend did most of the talking, so when we went this week and only Jose was home, I got kind of nervous that this would be a potentially awkward and silent lesson.  
My worries weren't necessary and Jose opened right up and talked to us as much as he could.... the thing is that he's from a part of Guatemala that speaks dialect so he speaks a little less Spanish than I do.  So while we were teaching him, we had to use very easy words, very simple ones, and compare parts of the Gospel to things that he uses everyday, like a light switch or his glass door.  The Gospel is simply beautiful and beautifully simple though so it wasn't too hard.  One of the questions that came up a lot with him and his girlfriend was if the Bible says that there will be lots of false prophets in these last days, how are we going to know if a prophet truly is a Prophet of God.  We told him there's a couple ways.  
#1 Christ always taught that "By their fruits ye shall know them."  If a tree sprouts apples, its an apple tree, right?  Bananas to a Banana tree?  Pineapples to a Pineapple tree?  So if something brings forth something good, then by following what Christ says, we can know it is good as well.  So if Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, his "fruit" would be the Book of Mormon, you could say.  So if the Book of Mormon really is from God, then Joseph Smith would've been a prophet.  The Book of Mormon is something we can read, we can search it and then take it to God in prayer and ask Him if it really is true.  Which brings me to way #2
#2 James 1:5 says "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God..."  That's exactly what we should do if we ever have any doubts or questions or we don't fully understand why something is the way it is.  Doubts, questions, and misunderstanding are completely normal things that happen, so we should take those things to God in prayer.  Ask him personally if things are true.  Ask Him if Joseph Smith was a Prophet, if Thomas S Monson is the Prophet of God in these days, if the Book of Mormon is true.  God's promised that He will answer.
At the end of our lesson, we all knelt down and Jose offered the prayer.  For the life of me, I have no idea what he said in his prayer due to the fact that it was in his native language, but the Spirit was strong and told me that he was receiving answers to prayers.  That's all we care about.
This weekend in Conference, couple of topics kept appearing as the inspired men and women that lead and guide this Church spoke to us.  One of these themes was how we, as members of the church or non-members, should strengthen our own personal testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ and the men that He has called to the office of Prophet.  I don't know what is coming in the future, but I do believe that there will come times in our lives where people, maybe that includes ourselves, will question our beliefs.  I, along with many of the General Authorities of the Church, would like to invite each of you to strengthen the testimony that you have. Doubts and Questions will come, but answers never come with out questions.  Spiritual Questions deserve Spiritual Answers.  Pray to God and ask Him.  I want to share my testimony that I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, called to restore the true church of Christ.  I know that Thomas S Monson is that man called of God to hold that sacred office of Prophet in these days and that we should always strive to follow his counsels as he receives them from the Lord.  
I love you all and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.
Lots of Love,
Elder Zack

We're having a baptism this week!  and next week!  
If you could please keep Jonathon and Barbara in your prayers, that'd be much appreciated.  I love you! 

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