Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Lord is With Us

Spanish Steps of Rome
Ok.  I have to write super velocemente (fast) because the internet point we are at to use computers has decided to close early. Ugh.  So this post will be brief.

This week was yet another week of miracles.  We had 4 investigators in Church yesterday, plus 2 less actives and several other people (and that was just for me and my companion, not including those of the other missionaries).  Just today, we set up an appointment on the phone with a ragazza (youth) who wants to take lessons.  Cool.  She said a girl named Arianna would be there with her.  If I am not mistaken, I think that is the same Arianna that we had as an investigator in the past.  We'll see.

Sorella Vickers and Sorella Perkins came over to do an exchange with us.  Vickers is the family history buff. So Sorella Udall officially got PUMPED for family history work.  We are already formulating plans to get our wards excited about it.  One way to kick it off is an international day of Indexing in a week or two that we hope to invite others to participate in.

Faith in the Power of Christ
Jesus Christ by Heinrich Hoffman
In efforts to find the right words to help my companion, I have been studying the Grace of Christ, digging through the writings of Paul especially and throughout the Book of Mormon.
Basically, what it came down to is this:
•  To make it back to God, we must be sanctified, clean, and holy.
•  We become sanctified, clean, and holy through the Holy Ghost, who 
     is a cleanser and purifier.
•  We get the Spirit by making Covenants - such as baptism, and 
     those made in the Temple.
•  We make Covenants as we are Willing (see Sacramental prayers).
•  Willingness to make/keep Covenants comes when we have Faith.

Faith in what?  Faith that:
1.  We must follow God's commandments.
2.  Christ is powerful enough to help us do it.

That's the bottom line.  An integral part of the gospel is keeping the commandments, but the gospel operates by Faith.  Faith that Christ's power is enough to save us, enough to help us change.  We can only change by Christ's power.  Otherwise it is not lasting change.

Change with the Savior's help is enduring change.  Which is why Paul and Alma and the Anti Nephi Lehies didn't relapse and fall into old ways.  They changed and remained changed because they had Faith in Christ.

Christ Saves Us
Keeping the commandments is not how we are saved.  What, you are shocked by this statement?  Living a Christ-like life includes keeping the commandments, but the commandments themselves do not save us. Christ saves us.  His Atonement saves us.  Obedience to commandments prepares the heart to be Christ-like and prepares us for life in God's presence.

I shared this with Sorella Udall and something clicked.  It all made sense, and she has been a lot happier since.  It all comes down to faith.  If we really believe in Christ, if we believe that His grace is sufficient, then we will be saved because:
     Believing leads to making/keeping Covenants
     Covenants lead to having the Spirit
     Holy Spirit leads to cleansing/purifying
     Cleansing, purifying makes us worthy for God's Presence.
It all begins with Faith.  And every time we mess up (which will be often) we will know where to look to get us back on track.  That's the good news.  And that is why the gospel is so important.

Speaking of Faith and Miracles...
Sunday I gave a talk in Church in Rome 2.  With my studies on Christ's Grace and the Temple coming, it was the perfect time to speak on the subject of Faith and Miracles.

I promised the ward they would see miracles because God has always been, is, and always will be a God of Miracles.
And now, O all ye that have
imagined up unto yourselves
a god who can do no miracles,
I would ask of you, have all these things passed of which I have spoken?
Has the end come yet?
Behold I say unto you, Nay;
and God has not ceased
to be a God of miracles.
Mormon 9:15

I talked about how those miracles are the natural result of Faith.

And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles
until after their faith;
wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.
For if there be no faith among the children of men
God can do no miracle among them;
wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.
Ether 12:18, 12
Faith in Christ invites His interaction.  His interaction produces miracles.

These miracles can be something as small as: receiving an answer to prayer, the letter in the mail, and inspiration in your calling, on up to the larger miracles of healing, help, or a faith in Christ that moves mountains, parts seas, and (greatest miracle of all) changes hearts.  I promised them that if they have that kind of faith in Christ's power, they would see miracles every day of their lives.
"Miracles are manifestations of divine or spiritual power...
They are the natural result of the presence of the Messiah among men."
Bible Dictionary, 732-33
I like how it says miracles are the "natural result" of the Messiah's presence among men.
The Lord is with us.  We see miracles.

Other Miracles this Week:
Had lessons with both Alice (the exchange student) and Violetta (member's friend who felt such love in Church).  Both accepted to be baptized when they feel these things are true.  They are reading the Book of Mormon and praying and coming to Church.

Today (Monday) is French Independence Day. Vive la France!  We will probably eat a croissant today in celebration.

Our week is PACKED with appointments.  We have no time for anything else, it seems.  No complaints here!   I have to go.  The internet dude is waiting for me to end!

Il Signore e con Noi  (The Lord is with Us),
Sorella Ashley Nef

Editor's Note:
Ashley was made Sister Training Leader (STL) in the Rome Mission.  That means she will be responsible for all sister missionaries in her Zone, working closely with the Mission President, Zone Leaders, and District Leaders in training meetings and Zone Conferences.

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