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 PeƱaranda 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


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