Monday, June 15, 2015

It Is Only the Beginning

We went to Santiago this week for a Zone Training and we got... an iPad!! Yes, "an iPad" meaning we only got one! I didn't realize it but it looks like my mission is coming to an end, therefore all those from my group didn't receive one. We get to share with our companions though, it is has been so great! We've seen so much good come from it and I feel that because of how much preparation we were given, we haven't seen any evil come from it either.

This being my last Zone Training meeting (Apparently! I didn't realize that either!) they asked me to bear my testimony and give some final words. (I mean I'm not going to die or anything, what's the big deal.) At the end of the meeting I stood up and spoke about 4 things that came to my mind.

1. At the beginning of my mission I went to my very first Zone Training Meeting. There was an Elder there who was going to finish his mission in a few weeks. He spoke of all the miracles he had seen and all the great things he had learned. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, I want to be like that Elder." Later in my mission, I learned to never compare myself to others. I learned that rather than wanting to be like that Elder, I wanted to be and become more like my Savior, Jesus Christ.

2. With tears in my eyes, I looked around the room at all the faces of the missionaries there and smiled. I expressed how one of the things that I love to see is a group of missionaries that look exhausted but who still are smiling and carry the light of Christ in their eyes.

3. Many missionaries freak out when the end of their mission starts to get closer, many missionaries! It doesn't need to be like that. If we've experienced change in our lives and in the lives of others there is no need to fear the end because we begin to understand that it is only the beginning. Our mortal life is the same way. One day we will pass on and by having lived a righteous life we can "then [have our] confidence wax strong in the presence of God."(D&C121:45) 

4. The importance of "Families" and "loving one another."

It was a great meeting.

I have been amazed with the love of our Savior. He is the perfect example of Love. He is an example of love to all men. He even loved people enough to hurt them at times. That may sound kind of weird but check this out:

Matthew 12:46-50 "While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

Matthew 10:37 "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

He loved people (even his own mother and siblings) enough to hurt them at times because he followed the 1st great commandment to love God before all other things. I believe that if we put God first before all other things, in a way that many times people may not understand, it is an outward expression of love towards all mankind. Jesus Christ fulfilled that teaching. By loving God first he truly expressed his love to all mankind as well. Sacrifice is necessary to show this love. The young rich man couldn't do it, he loved other things before God. Give your heart to the Lord.

The Lord also taught us through the questions he asked. In John 21 he asks Peter 3 times: "Do you love me?" In Luke 17 he asks the 1, then healed leper, who returned to thank him: "Where are the [other] 9?" In Acts 9 as Saul journeyed to Damascus Christ appeared to him and asked him: "Saul, Saul why persecutest thou me?" We can reflect and learn so much from the many questions that Christ asked. Even questions asked about Christ were inspired. Matthew 27:22 "Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?"

Moroni invites us to "seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written." We need to seek him and be as the Greeks that came to Phillip and said, "Sir, we would see Jesus." (John 12:27)

I've learned an important teaching from Thomas S. Monson about "Physically walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as He walked." I heard a story about a man who wanted so bad to climb mount Sinai to be able to read the 10 commandments up there. It's far more important to just keep the commandments all the time regardless of where you may be! Whether it be at home or work or wherever you may be.

An unknown author wrote this short poem (also in the talked called, "Love - the Essence of the Gospel" by President Monson) which says:

"I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind."

I love you guys!

Elder Giforos

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