This week we had an awesome zone conference and it was focused on the Atonement and the grace of God. This was so interesting because yesterday at church many talks and gospel doctrine classes were focused on grace and love. We even shared a scripture this week with a sweet new active member ....
1 John 4:16-21
...and we did an activity with them where we gave them 1 minute to think about 3 things they love about each other. It was the sweetest thing ever! Especially because they are two little grandparents ;) Okay, so we visited Liliana this week and when we got to her house, we caught her reading "Gospel Principles" book which I gave her last Sunday and she just loves it! She came to church once again yesterday and she asked to see if she could be baptized the 22 of August! She's been putting so much effort into quitting smoking and has only smoked 2 cigarettes this week! She also went to the dentist 2 days ago and when you have a new cavity, they usually just pull your teeth out. Well she had to get all of her top teeth pulled (permanent). And now has to have replacements. The doctor said, "try not to smoke for 15 days because of all the procedures they have to do", so my companion and I were shouting for joy! haha We called to remind her about church and she said, "I'll come but I won't smile and I won't laugh and if it do, chow!! Haha, poor think! She came to church with us yesterday without teeth and with tanto pain, but had tanto will power to stay and finish all three hours of church. She is such a sport and a huge example to me. I couldn't believe her faith. After church, I thought wow, she came to church without teeth, severe pain in her jaw, and was suffering from cleaning out the nicotine from her system. A woman with her eyes directed in the right direction. We also had such a wonderful lesson with Cristian, always rapping! I'm trying to help him learn English to rap in English ;) Haha We taught him lesson 1 about Joseph Smith and he absolutely loved it. He is now reading and praying every night! Whoo Hoo! This week we've also been teaching a family that we found in the streets. About 3 years ago they had lessons from the Elders, but need to be married and the Dad, Jose, smoked. Well guess what???? Married and smoke free!!! We are so excited to visit them this week and work with them!
As our conference was focused on the grace of God, it reminded me a lot about a talk given in General Conference by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, as he shared a story about Simon the Pharisee:
It Teaches that Simon was always a worthy upright man who followed and obeyed the commandment, but didn't fully do it with his whole heart like the women did. I love the questions asked in this talk, "Which of these two people are we most like?" "Are we like Simon?" "Are we confidant and comfortable in our good deeds, trusting in our own righteousness?" "Are we perhaps a little impatient with those who are not living up to our standards?" "Are we on auto pilot, going through the motions, attending our meetings, yawning through gospel doctrine classes and perhaps checking our cell phone during sacrament service?" or "Are we like this woman who thought she was completely and hopelessly lost because of sin?" "Do we love much?" "Do we understand our indebtedness to Heavenly Father and plead with all our souls for the grace of God?" When we kneel to pray, is it to replay the greatest hits of our own righteousness, or is it to confess our faults, please for God's mercy, and shed tears of gratitude for the amazing plan of redemption?" This week, I want to study more of grace and the love of God, but to act and make it a part of my life. To be more like the woman by giving my heart and mind to God. I learned that obedience is a huge key to love/humility. As we follow God and His commandments, we become happier and we find freedom to our burdens. We feel a new physical and spiritual well being inside us. I know that as we follow the Lord's steps and be obedient, we understand more fully His atonement and after God gives a gift, "grace" comes after all that we can do.
Homework: Read the talk, "The Gift of Grace", by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf