Monday, December 28, 2015

The Atonement and Goals

Dear Family,
This week was wonderful. I loved talking to you all and Im happy to know everyone is well. I want to tell a few stories.
1. I tried a fruit called Merei. It wasnt as good as it looked. 
2. This sunday a dog got into the Chapel. I had to repent when I got home because I lost my patience and several times forced it out.
3. We met a family. His name is Jose Luis and hers is Marlene. They were getting home in a taxi when we stopped and talked to them. They let us in and from the moment we said the first prayer, we could tell how spiritually sensative they were. We talked with them, shared personal feelings and experiences and they both opened up a lot. We felt that we should talk of the Atonement with them. Their eyes filled with tears as the Spirit testified to them of the pure love the Savior has for them. We invited them to be baptized, set a return appointment, and listened as Jose Luis said a beautiful prayer kneeling next to his wife. I was touched by their ability to recognize spiritual promptings. They taught me so much. Pray for them. 
4. We talked about the importance of working in church yesterday. I love Bolivia because everyone always has something to say. Its one of my favorite things to listen too. One brother in our ward raised his hand and shared such a humble and beautiful comment. He stood up and said '' You know what!? The only thing we need to teach our kids to do is to sew shoes. Shoes are the first thing that get worn out and if they know how to sew shoes, they'll be fine for the rest of their lives.'' (Something like that). I couldnt help but smile. It made me want to learn how to sew shoes. I love Bolivia. 

5. In Elders Quorum we talked about setting goals. Then the teacher gave us a half sheet of paper and told us to write 5 categories for our goals. Personal, Familiar, Church, Work, Studies. I started thinking of these areas and was able to better set goals for this next year. I want to develop more some talents I think I have neglected. I want to be a better student here in my mission as I learn from my companions and leaders and also when I return to the Y this next year. I want to work like Elder Peñaranda works- both right now in my mission and when I get home. He has taught me what work is. I have several other goals- run a marathon with you dad :), write more spiritual things in my journal instead of just what happened, learn portugese, etc. But the one goal I want to share came this morning as I studied the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

I was reading in the Nov 2015 Liahona the talk by Elder Oaks. I have always known that the Atonment saves us from mortal and spiritual death that came as a result of the Fall. I also have always known that through faith, repentence, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, we can be clensed of all of our sins thus being saved from the second spiritual death. The condition is that we take the sacrament every week and truly repent. But I was reminded of a special truth of the Atonement as I searched the words of Elder Oaks. The Atonement not only saves us but gives us comfort, divine help, support, and relief in the darkest, sadest, and most weighed down moments in our lives. The condition is simply that we ask. I always try to use the Atonement fully in my life. I try to repent daily, be better, find my faults, take the sacrament worthily, etc. but I realized this morning I have neglected many times before this beautiful part of the Atonement. I knew He could comfort me and support me and carry by burdens but I sometimes dont ask- which is the only condition. Elder Oaks said: ''Alma taught that the Savior would 'take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people' and 'succor his people' '' His people, explains Elder Oaks, means anyone who asks. My goal is simple. 

I will more fully use the Atonement in my life by humbly asking God in my darkest hours- with faith, hope, and love that His Son will heal, protect, comfort, bare, carry, and replace my burdens with joy and peace. And I know I will have, as Elder Oaks testified, ''the assurance of immortality, the opportunity for eternal life, and the sustaining strength... if only (I) will ask''

I love you all and hope you all can set new goals for this new year. Elder Ballard helps understand why.

“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.”
Happy New Year.

Lots of love,
Elder Gehring


Monday, December 21, 2015

Come, Let us Adore Him

Dear family,
These past weeks have been wonderful. I have learned and I feel I have grown. I simply want to share my love of the Savior and the happiness I receive from the glorious event in a humble stable over 2000 years ago.
For the Christmas conference we had with President Willard and his wife, we prepared ourselves by looking for something that reminded us of Christ. He called it the 12- Ways of Christ- Más. (12 ways to have Christ MORE in our lives) Each of us chose one of the 12 ways to remember Him and the decorated an ornament with what we had learned. I chose part of the Hymn Jesus Lover of My Soul and a title used in the book of Hebrews. ''Capitan of My Soul''. I learned more though as I searched the scriptures for what I wanted to decorate my ornament with. I hope you all can do the same- look for a new way to remember Christ this Christmas.

What a wonderful time of year to remember Him. President Willard, Sister WIllard, and their 2 daughters sang Away in A Manger in the end of the Conference. These words touched my heart. 

I love thee, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
After the conference, President invited us to do one thing. Worship Christ in a new way this year. We talked about what it means to worship, how we worship Him, and how the Wise Men worshiped Him. We read as a mission in Mateo 2: 9 - 12.

9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Read these verses and look for a new meaning of worship. Think of how you personally worship Him and how you can better worship Him.
I just want to share my goal for worshiping Him this Christmas. I found something that has touched me and made me realize that everyting points to Christ. In Mosiah 15:5. ''And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God...'' I realized a new and more perfect way of following Him. As I yield my flesh to the Spirit, I am following the example of Christ yielding to His Father. Christ showed us everything and everything shows evidence of Him. His perfectness in doing the Father's will is what we should do with the Spirit. Christ's yielding to the Father is like our yielding to the Spirit. I feel I have falied more than once in this. I hear the Spirit but many times I lack faith to follow it. I have set the goal to follow Christ's example more by following the Spirit. I want to worship Him as did the Wise Men by following the Star (Spiritual promptings) in my life to make my way to the manger where He is laid. 

This Christmas I hope to be humble enough, as were the Wise Men and Shepherds, to go, adore, and worship ''...her firstborn son...wrapped... in swaddling clothes... (lying) in a manger...''
Merry Christmas with love,
Elder Gehring
Here's the Family who is going to be baptized. Leoncio and Aida Cabrera

These are the missionaries in the stake after a Christmas Missionary Activity


Monday, December 7, 2015

Just A Few Thoughts on Giving A Talk

Just a few thoughts on giving a talk. 

1. Love the topic you choose. Let the members feel that you love with all your heart what you talk about. This can come through personal stories and testimonies

3. Simplicity. Be careful not to complicate your words, and don't feel like you need to put flowers on everything. You never know who is in the congregation for the first time, who is visiting, etc. There is beauty in simplicity. Both in words, and in testimony. I have learned this a lot here on my mission. Its hard for me still but it will help you.

2. Teach Doctrine. Based on the topic you or they choose, teach doctrinal principles that can bless the lives of those who listen. Teach new things, don't just share what everyone else shares. Find personal meanings of the doctrine and share how you apply it. Here's and example. Im still not very good at it but maybe this can help with this principle of ''teaching new things''. 

This is something I wrote to my President last week:  ''I learn a lot which is good but I sometimes feel like there are just too many things I need to do better and I lose sight of just fixing one thing at a time. I read a talk by Elder Christofferson about repentance this week and I realized the importance of repentance for our eternal progression. Baptism is not a step after repentance. It IS repentance. It is the last step. It doesn't cleanse us either. It is the promise of our personal repentance that we will be more obedient than before. It simply qualifies us for the reception of the Holy Ghost. Then the Holy Ghost purifies us, and gives us the spiritual confirmation that God remembers our sins no more. Even after being baptized, repentance is not complete until we take the sacrament, promise again that we will be more obedient than before, and qualify ourselves to receive the Holy Ghost again. The miracle is that God promises to heal us, cleanse us, and even forget our sins if we truly repent. I sometimes don't repent well enough I think. Maybe there will be tears, heartache, sadness, pain, but as Elder Christofferson promised: ''Any pain entailed in repentance will always be far less than the suffering required to satisfy justice for unresolved transgression.'' The Holy Ghost will purify us and replace all pain with a feeling of love and comfort. I hope to do this more this week.'' 

You can take any topic and really study it and find the new things there. You and the rest of the congregation will learn more if you dig deeper into the personal purposes of the Doctrine of Jesus Christ.

3. Living prophets are more important to us than dead prophets. President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet. . . . “. . . God’s revelations to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the Ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore, the most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us. Therefore, the most important reading we can do is any of the words of the prophet . . . contained each month in our Church magazines. Our marching orders for each six months are found in the general conference addresses, which are printed in the Ensign magazine''

 I would encourage to always always quote teachings of some modern day prophet. Maybe look for the most recent teaching and stories by the prophets. But the scriptures are always a help. I like to use them more for doctrinal digging (point number 2) but you're the best mom, you know how to do it better than I. 

4. Trust in the Spirit. The Spirit is a powerful gift God has promised us that are baptized. Use his guidance as you choose the things you will say. Pray for help, revelation, and comfort. 

5. Christ is the center. Jesus Christ should always be the center of our thoughts and words. Teach about Him, share your testimony of Him, and discover the relation He has with the topic you teach. Luckily your topic will most likely be CHRISTmas related so putting Christ in the middle shouldn't be too hard. He is our Savior and Because of Him we are here. Make your testimony of Him the foundation, light, and life of your talk.  

I hope this helps. Im not great at giving talks either but I thought these might be a few helpful points. I love you lots. Let me know how the prep goes.

Your son,
Elder Gehring
Here are some wonderful Bolivian Children. 

Also, I think when you Chelsea have your first kid, you should keep him in a wheelbarrow like this.