Monday, January 25, 2016

One more week in Galway....?

January 25, 2016
     Well Elder Carmichael and I are looking to finish strong here in Galway. We had a pretty decent week this week! Definitely much better than last week!
     We taught so many great people. The Brazilian woman, Claudia, who came to church last Sunday we met with a couple of times and she is incredible! She was able to recognise the Spirit in our lesson and it was so powerful. She wouldn't accept a baptismal date because she said she didn't feel quite ready, but she accepted a baptismal calendar and is praying about what date she would feel ready for. We are so excited to see her again tomorrow! Unfortunately she wasn't able to come to church again because of work, so hopefully next week! There a few others that we are excited to continue to work with that we just found as well, so it should be a great upcoming week. Elder Carmichael and I decided that we are going to have the best week we have ever had with it more than likely being our last week in Galway together! It will be exciting to receive our news this coming Sunday!
     On Thursday this week we had our Zone Interview training (zone conference) in Limerick. It was wonderful, however it was quite a long day! We left fairly early to be up there at 10am for the conference and it went until 4. Then afterward, there was a world-wide missionary broadcast that we watched that lasted a couple hours. So we had a lot of sitting and a lot of instruction throughout the whole day, but it was really great! The broadcast and much of the conference was about teaching more simply and allowing those we teach to recognise the Holy Ghost. 
     Sunday was a great day again because we had branch conference. So the whole district presidency was at our branch for church which made it pretty great. The President of Limerick District is President Roy, who is such a great leader and such a knowledgeable man. After church we had a long meeting with the district presidency and the branch presidency and the branch mission leader about how we can improve the branch mission process. I definitely think that it will create some improvements with the member missionary work, so we are very excited to see what happens. Unfortunately, I will probably be gone soon, so I won't see all the effects that take place...
     So I have been really focusing on studying the Atonement recently. There is a quote from Preach My Gospel that says "As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase." So I hope that the more I understand the Atonement, the more I will desire to become a greater missionary. Luke 22: 41-44 is quickly becoming my favorite scripture. Luke's account of Christ's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane is so powerful! Christ knew he had to atone and suffer, it was the only way to fulfill Heavenly Father's great Plan of Redemption. The whole salvation of Heavenly Father's children depended on Christ's foreordination to willingly perform the ultimate sacrifice. And Jesus knew what was at stake here. Luke's account begin with "And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast,and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me:..." 
     At this point, it appears that Christ perhaps failed. The terror of the act he would perform would have surely overcome Him (He even being a perfect human being) and He pleaded with the Father to allow the bitter cup to pass. If this was all, then surely the Great Plan of Salvation would have been corrupted. Heavenly Father's children would have no hope to return to Him. But that was not all. Christ continued (and I imagine with probably a whimpering voice): "nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." This perhaps could have been the most important phrase uttered in all of history. With Christ's willingness to then perform the most excruciating and terrifying, yet most loving and merciful act in the history of mankind, we are all given a chance. We all have the opportunity to return to our Father in Heaven. Let us not take for granted the miracle of the Atonement in our lives. Let us repent and use the Atonement to be made clean.

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