What can I tell you all. I am doing so great! Loving the opportunity that I have to be serving here in Cusco.
Yesterday in church I had to give a talk on Sacrifice and it made me do some real thinking about the principle… and especially how it applies to missionary work. As I was preparing the talk, I began to think about the many things that missionaries need to sacrifice… Yes I thought a little bit about you guys, and how much I miss you… the things I left at home… my studies, but none of these things stood out as much as one particular thought that I had. The greatest thing to sacrifice as a missionary or member who desires to share the gospel are our own selfish desires to hold onto the natural man. I thought back to all the many people who I have taught and how important it has been that I could lose my own selfish desires and give all to help them gain a testimony of the gospel. One of the greatest ways that we can honor the Savior is through testifying of the great sacrifice that He made for us and not just being satisfied that the power of the Atonement has had an effect on us, but that it can have an effect in many other people and bring them the peace and happiness that so many desire to have in this life.
The other day we had a lesson with a recent convert that is a member of our ward. She is a great convert and always asks very interesting questions. She began to ask us questions about the difference in religions and how she had been to a religious panel the other day where they talked openly about religion and different beliefs. She expressed to us that the feeling from the panel was that in spite of our differences, we all try to reach the same God who loves us and wants us to be happy, and that in the end we would all be united in the same belief.
To me it seemed like the conference was full of a lot of “feel good talk” about how we all need to be one. Great, I love it. We do need to try to be unified, we do need to love each other in spite of our differences… but a thought came to my mind exactly in this moment of an experience that Elder Packer shared in “Our Search for Happiness” about when he visited a similar religious panel. .. and I think perhaps a similar feeling was present… but Elder Packer was able to testify boldly of the truth in spite of the fact that perhaps there would be a little of resentment or discussion on the subject.
I applied this principle with our recent convert. I told her that we could be tolerant, but that it is ALWAYS important to say the truth… we might have to sacrifice some friendly feelings, but the important thing is that we can be TRUE friends and show that true friendship by helping others understand the one and true way to happiness.
She was really impacted by what I said. And we saw that change in her this Sunday. She came up to me and started talking about how she now has a desire to serve a mission, where before she had been telling us that a mission was SO out of her plans that she was not even considering it.
I am happy that the spirit helped me to say the truth in the moment when it was so important.