Monday, January 4, 2016

The New Year: 20 Sick Teens for 2016

At last, we meet again! In a very non-literal way. Or even a figurative way. I guess I should have just left it with: "At last, we communicate again", or something along those lines.
In any case, this week has been very... interesting.
The joyful balloon of elation and ecstasy I had last week in preparation for the baptism was transformed into a mass of hideous, bulbous pimples that marred the face of the week. The inconsiderate finger of life then decided to scratch the acne ridden wasteland until the clump burst, and a confluent flow of pus oozed out over the week, covering it with the viscous, filthy flow of discouragement and despair. Fortunately, by the end of the week, the pus had been wiped up by  the baby wipe of hope and faith, and the horrendous blight of acne had been healed by the Band-Aid of the Atonement, leaving only minor scarring upon the final countenance of the week. 

Descriptive enough for you? 

Well, what I was getting at is that the baptism of Susan did not happen due to some unhelpful, inconsiderate and seriously distressed son, a funeral, some fear, the adversary, and an early plane ride to Virginia. Hopefully, that description was sufficient for you, because I'm not going to go into details, because I might start crying. It is one of the saddest things in the world to watch someone you love make bad decisions that lead them away from Jesus Christ and the path of happiness. I can't imagine what it's like being a parent. It must be so hard. Even more than that, I can't even begin to imagine how hard it must be for God to watch his children go astray.
However, all is not over. Last week we were dropped (more like "they decided not to meet with us". We hadn't actually taught them anything yet) by the Jones family, but we begged and pleaded with them to let us come by one more time, and so we did, and guess what? Over the phone, the father had told us that as a family they had decided to stick with the baptist faith after much discussion. However, when we got there, it turns out that only the parents had talked about it, and the children (ages 12, 16, 18, and 20) were all still interested. The parents told us that they were okay with us teaching there kids, because the just wanted them to believe in Jesus Christ! Their sons and daughter are so excited to continue learning! I am so excited for them. They are very in tune with the Spirit and have a great love for the Lord! I love being a missionary. So, despite our trials this week, God blessed us with some wonderful, solid investigators. I was also really helped and strengthened this week as I studied Ether 12. 
I'd just like to share verse 4 with you: "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."
I love this verse. There is so much to learn from it. What I wanted to focus on, however, was the part where it says that hope "maketh an anchor to the souls of men". Hebrews 6:19 also calls hope the anchor to our souls. Our hope comes from our trust in the promises of God. It comes from our faith in God. It is the opposite of despair. Because of God, I have hope for a better world. I have hope that as long as I work as hard as I can on my mission, and have faith in Jesus Christ, whatever happens will be the Lord's will.
I beseech you, my friends and family, to gain that hope and faith in the Lord if you don't have it, and to strengthen it if you already do. Never, never, never give up. Have that faith and that hope that keeps you steadfast in Christ. Anchor your souls in him and his Atonement. If you do, you will never go astray. I love you all! Be nice to people who knock on your door (unless they try to kill you or someone you love, or in a similar scenario)!

Elder Benge

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