Monday, March 30, 2015

Life is Great!

We had a great P-day last week (I sent you some pictures). I never stop thinking about how beautiful Galicia is! The people here are also very interesting as well. Most people would say that they are very closed off and hard-hearted people... which they are, but once you get them to open up a little they are some of the nicest people I've ever met. We met a sweet older lady who at first seemed pretty skeptical but after making her smile a little, she loved us! She had a dog who's name was "Ricky Martin." I could not stop laughing after she told me that, she thought that was pretty funny as well. I'd never met a dog named "Ricky Martin" before, now I can say that I have.

In our Family Night as a Branch I heard a wonderful example of why Forgiveness is so important:
If a snake bites you, how would you react? Would you kill the snake out of anger and revenge, causing the poison to have more time to spread through your veins? Or, would you focus on getting the venom out as quickly as possible? The second seems like a smarter idea to me because it quickly eliminates long-term damage.

When someone has done wrong to us or has offended us, we need never to seek for revenge and attack them. When this occurs the venom of pride and resentment spread through our souls. It will destroy us and greatly limit our possibilities to love God and our fellow man. Fix yourself first by "forgiving all men." (D&C 64:10) Take out the venom before it kills you spiritually.

In District Meeting this week we focused on True Conversion. We talked about what to do to help people become truly converted to the gospel and a few missionaries shared the convert stories of people that are truly converted. True Conversion only comes by the Spirit. No one will be baptized, for the right reasons at least, if they do not experience the prompting influence of the Spirit. I am convinced and testify that one of the strongest ways to help someone to experience those feelings is by the bearing of a Pure Testimony. (Alma 4:9) Alma saw no other way to save the people of Nephi except by the bearing of a Pure Testimony. We don't need to be the most intelligent or famous in the world to have power behind our words. What convinces man is a pure testimony guided by the Spirit.
Eleazar Miller is a perfect example of this.

"Brigham Young was converted to the Church because of this type of experience. An LDS missionary, Eleazar Miller, bore his testimony to Brigham Young, and the future president of the Church said he would never have been convinced if the missionary had tried to use fancy language or had given a list of reasons. Instead, as President Young said, “When I saw a man without eloquence, or talents for public speaking, who could only say, ‘I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet of the Lord,’ the Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminated my understanding, and light, glory, and immortality were before me. I was encircled by them, filled with them, and I knew for myself that the testimony of the man was true” (Journal of Discourses,1:90)."

Watch this video!

I was able to do two companion exchanges this week with the Elders from Vigo and Orense. We had a great time together and I learned a lot from those great Elders. In Orense, I had the opportunity to interview a grandmother and her grandson for baptism. I loved seeing how excited they were and the start of their testimonies. I felt the spirit confirm to me that they were totally ready to be baptized. The little branch of Orense hadn't seen a baptism in over 2 years. This was an exciting day for all of them. I loved that little grandma because she was so nice and had the coolest mullet!

I know that a lot of the time life is hard and unfair. We often fear man more than God. Replace fear with faith, we can't live with fear! 

Jesus Christ once asked his Apostles this penetrating question, "Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?" Peter then responded with what we all should say when He asks us this question,
"Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." (John 6:67-69)

I was thinking a lot about these scriptures over this last week, especially about that question the Lord asks. I thought to myself, "Where would we go?" There would be nowhere to go that brings Eternal Life, the greatest gift of joy and rejoicing that man can receive in his eternal existence.

Probably my favorite part of this week was while I was in Sacrament meeting on Sunday. I turned around during the meeting to see my big Brazilian friend point at me and say, "Tio, te quiero!!" "Dude, I love you!!" That meant more to me than I think he knew. We have so many people who love us. We often don't realize how great of a truth that is. I invite anyone who is feeling alone or under appreciated to read a talk by Elder Uchtdorf called, "Forget Me Not" (Oct. 2011 Confernece) It is a beautifully written talk directed towards the women of the world but also applies to all of God's children.

I love the Gospel!

Elder Giforos

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