Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Awesome Atonement

I'M SO EXCITED FOR AUNT DINNY!!! That is so amazing that she has been able to make those changes to her life and to qualify to enter the temple! I can't even imagine the blessings that are going to come to her life as she strives to live righteously!

Making those kind of life changes can be so difficult because of the expectations placed upon them by others. People have the tendency to make a judgment, often a just judgment, and to hold people to it. Anyone who has tried to change something about themselves has faced this problem - thank goodness for the atonement.

Sometimes it is hard to let people change, but that is our duty. As followers of Christ we are blessed by his atonement. He will take our sins from us and place them upon Himself. Often I have struggled as one who was offended by another, who hasn't been? We are all subject to the injustice of the agency of others. I have found myself at times struggling to forgive others, but because of the knowledge that Christ takes their sins upon Himself, I have learned that I am not forgiving them, but forgiving Christ. And that makes it so much easier! Understanding that If I act like Jonah, and try to hold the Lord to correct this justice, then I myself forsake my own mercy that is brought to me by the merits of the Savior. If I refuse to forgive Christ, then he will return my sins to me.

It is so important that we allow others the right to exercise their agency and change their lives through the power of the atonement. This is one of the biggest things that I notice members struggling to apply to their lives. Perhaps it is only amplified here in Valdez because it is such a small town that everyone's reputation precedes them, but looking back on my own life it is apparent that I have struggled with it as well. Many people have been turned away from the church only because the people of the wards they were trying to join had previously hardened their hearts towards them. Hardening our hearts is a defense mechanism that is sometimes necessary to prevent us from allowing others to hurt us, but it is important to understand that as useful as it is here in this mortal existence to preserve our joy, it is not an attribute of Christ. Christ's heart was open always, constantly filled with charity towards everyone. He allowed others to change. I feel that it is important to protect ourselves and our emotions, but it is our Christ-like calling to forgive and allow others to change. Most of all, I know that if Christ will help anyone who desires to change. But we must allow them to change. We must not be the burden of additional adversity upon our Brothers and Sisters as they go thru the delicate process of the Atonement. We must seek their desires and support one another as we work together to become one thru Christ. I am so happy for Aunt Dinny! The blessings of the gospel in its fullness and the blessings that the temple brings to the lives of those who live worthy to enter are beyond comprehension. Frequent temple attendance is one of the things I miss most about being on the mission. Alas, it is my duty at this time to work to share the gospel with those who are living and in due time I will be back home in the temple. I love this work! I love Valdez! I'm so happy I didn't get transferred! I'm sure that the Lord has a lot more in store for this area and for me.

I'm glad you got that email from Sis. C.! We had dinner over there on Sunday and right before desert we saw a bear!! No less than 20 feet below us on the hill below the deck that we were standing on! It was pretty cool! Just a little black bear cub! It was pretty cute!

Well I love and miss you guys! I'm gonna be shipping some stuff home that I don't think I need.

I love you guys, talk to you later!

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