Monday, October 13, 2014

Don't Be a Stumbling-Block

First off, I heard about what happened to Jake from Elder Davis today while we were playing basketball. I hope he's doing well! That's crazy.

We baptized one of our best friends 2 days ago. It was a very special day for all of us. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I had to participate in this miracle. A ton of the members of his family showed up. He's an amazing youth of the church now and he has a great future in front of him. The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives.

We had the opportunity to do 2 companion exchanges this week. The first one I headed back to Barrio 1 with my former companion Elder M. It was awesome being able to work with him again and teaching a lot of the old friends I made in that area. The next one was in Alcobendas. I got to work with one of the two Assistants to President Jackson. I learned so much from him and we had an amazing day together. So many miracles. 

My companion and I have been studying a lot about "Mediocrity." We don't want to be, or want anyone in the mission to be, or any member of the church to be: A Mediocre Missionary of the Lord.
I loved two scriptures that I found while studying this. This first is in Mosiah 1:17:

"Therefore, as they were unfaithful they did not prosper nor progress in their journey, but were driven back, and incurred the displeasure of God upon them; and therefore they were smitten with famine and sore afflictions, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty."

As well as another scripture in Alma 4:10:

"...and the wickedness of the church was a great stumbling-block to those who did not belong to the church; and thus the church began to fail in its progress."

Think about some of those phrases and words: "did not prosper nor progress in their journey," "driven back," "stumbling-block." What stuck out most to me was the word, "Stumbling-Block." Nobody wants to be an obstacle or a stumbling-block to some child of God looking for the true church of Jesus Christ. With all of this, the questions are: Why are we not exactly obedient to God's commandments? Why are we not diligent to our assignments in the church? Why do we not love our neighbors? Etc. Etc. When we are not doing our very best we are not progressing on our journey and we are blocking the chance of God putting a prepared soul in our way to share the message of the Gospel. I want to share a story I heard a while ago:

There was a 60 year old man and his wife who were recently baptized. One day the man was asked to speak to a group of youth preparing for missions and their future lives. He told them that the Gospel was a great blessing to him and his wife and that finally they understood their purpose here on this earth. He told them that finally he could feel his Savior's love and that he wasn't suffering as he was before. What a great blessing and miracle he experienced in his life to be able to find the true church of Jesus Christ. 

Now what he shared next is very important. He told this group of youth that he wanted to read them a line from his patriarchal blessing, being inspired by the Spirit to do so. He read them this phrase, (It goes something like this) "You and your wife would have known the church earlier in your lives but the missionary who was supposed to teach you wasn't worthy to do so." You could hear a pin drop in that room. 

He had received such a great blessing in his life, but he could have received it earlier and avoided so much suffering and confusion if only that specific person had been worthy and ready. We need to be living this Gospel so that we don't miss anything that the Lord has prepared for us. We should never be a stumbling-block to someone's eternal salvation.

I've been so blessed to feel my Savior's love during my mission. One of the best feelings we can feel in this life is the feeling of seeing someone change their life for the better by accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It starts their path to eternal life and salvation. We need to be experiencing continuous conversion throughout our lives and we can do that by sharing the Gospel.

Elder Giforos

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