Saturday, November 28, 2015

Week 90: "God´s grace is not only what ultimately saves us, but it is what truly changes us"

Hello everyone!

What an awesome week! I just looked over my wittle sisters letter from her first week in Tegucigalpa and it made me so happy! I thought back to my first few weeks in the mission and I can sooo feel for my little sister when she talked about being so exhausted at the end of each day, struggling to cope with so many new aspects of life. The first few weeks fly by (actually the whole time does) because you are forced to be engaged in every aspect of every day. How jealous I am of where she is! AND her companion is from the Dominican Republic! They are the best. I have met a handful of people in my mission that are from there, and they are the most loving, humble, and hard working people. Izzy got reallllly lucky. 

Speaking of the beginning of my mission, this last week I was able to go make a quick day visit in Guaymas, the city where I started my mission. I was working with two other elders for the day, and unfortunately it wasn't in the same are that I had started in, but just being in Guaymas again brought back so many good memories. I had a funny realization though. Everybody says that the mission flies by, and its true it really does (see above), but when you go back and think about all the things that happen, you realize, "woah, I have been gone a long time!" Honestly, when I left, Frozen had just barely came out in theaters..... Anyway, so you realize that a lot of time has gone by since the beginning, but then after I went back to Guaymas, and seeing the things I had seen a year and a half ago and being in places I had been prior, I thought to myself, "Well this is all the same. I feel like I was just here." So even though more than I year had passed by, everything was brought back to my remembrance and I suddenly felt as if I had never left. That same kind of feeling, I imagine, will probably happen when I come back home at the end of my mission. After a few days of all the excitement, I will realize that I am back to the same place I was at before, and it will all go back to being normal. When that happens, I will have to look back on what I have done in the time that has passed. As Sister Bernal has said it in her last email, missionaries have the rest of their life to look back on 2 years of service. So it is up to me decide how I want to feel when I take that look. Will it be one of gratification and pride for what I did, or of regret and shame for not doing what I could have? If these are to be the determining factors, then I look forward to such a moment, for I believe that I have lived my mission experience in such a way that this reflection will be for me one of the most gratifying and satisfactory memories of my entire life. And indeed, this same example can be applied for all of us, when one day not too far away from now we will all return back to our heavenly home.

I spent a good deal this week thinking about Grace. I reread an amazing talk titled "His grace is sufficient" by Brad Wilcox, and I sure got a lot more out of it this time. I have come to realize that grace really is what moves everything in this world. God´s grace is not only what ultimately saves us, but it is what truly changes us. As said in the talk, Christs sacrifice "is not only a huge favor he did for us," but also "a huge investment he made in us." Grace is what allows us to love as God loves, it is what allows us to be patient with the imperfections of others as God is patient with our imperfections. Even though he expects us to be perfect (Matt. 5:48), his grace is what compensates for our deficit, and he can do that because he has already paid the price for what justices demand on imperfection (Alma 34). And since that is done, he can be completely merciful and loving with us, and in turn, we can be the same with everyone else. The scripture I chose to "ponderize" this week is in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most Gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

It seems that if we really can get a hold on grace, we will never have a need to be down. Every weakness or imperfection is simply a chance to see the power of God. 

Les amo a todos!
Elder Bernal

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