Monday, June 1, 2015

Who I Am

June is here! Wow! This week sure was great. My dad sent me a few great scriptures that really inspired me, they are found in Isaiah 55:5-12. I had always read that verses about "Our thoughts and ways not being the same as the Lord's" but a verse before (verse 5) I loved as well. "Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee." I came to a nation that I knew not and I have crossed paths with or run into many people that I now care about and love. All this has happened because of the Lord.

This may just be a really spiritual, scripture filled letter this week. I finally found a scripture that I had been looking for for a while. I wasn't exactly sure if it even existed. My whole mission I've always counseled others, as well as myself, that if there is something you want to change in your life the best day and time to start is now! Today! Alma 34:31: "Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you." If we do so, and start now fixing things that need to be fixed, the promise is that "immediately" the forgiveness process will start to take place. That means that grief and sorrow will start to fade away. A new, better life will start to shine forth as the break of dawn begins to shine forth each morning.

You know, before when I started to think about the past it made me sad sometimes. Before I would always worry about "Who I was" or "What I'd done." Now I see the bigger picture. I now think about "Who I am" and "What can I do now." You can't live in the past, you can't change what's already been done but you can be forgiven of the past, therefore erasing those mistakes before God's eyes, and move forward. God doesn't expect perfect children in this mortal life but He does expect children who are constantly progressing. Who am I and what can I do now?

There's a little boy here who is going to be baptized really soon. He is probably one of the funniest kids I have ever met. He calls my companion the "Yellow kid" and he calls me the "other one." (El chico amarillo y el otro) Excited for his baptism.

I've come to learn a huge lesson on my mission that there are two ways to look at things: Positively or Negatively. It's as simple as that and I believe that it really is a choice the way we choose to handle every situation. Sometimes pride takes the better of our judgments. We seem to think that, even with those things that we "think we know without a doubt," we know enough to take care of ourselves. Take this example into consideration. In Numbers 21 the Israelites become "plagued with fiery serpents." Moses raised up a brass serpent on a pole and all the people had to do to be healed was to look at it. Some did, some did not. Not only is the symbolism of Jesus Christ relevant in this story but we also learn another valuable lesson. The Prophet of God always performs the Father's will. Sometimes we may not understand why He does things a certain way but we can be certain that it is for our well being. Surely the Israelites were thinking, after being given the commandment to "Just look," that such a commandment was absurd. They possibly thought, "I want an antidote! I need a doctor! That is how things work in this world! No brass serpent will save my life." Little did they know that God is all powerful and He does things in the way that He wills it. They did not understand the commandment and they doubted, thus causing them their lives. All they had to do was look. As simple as that.

The Liahona was another example. In Alma 37, Alma explains to his son Helaman the purpose of it. Another simple commandment rejected by some members of the family of Lehi. "Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey; Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgression. And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual. For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land." Such a simple commandment but they became "slothful and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence."

A Seventy just visited us (For the District Conference of Galicia. His name is Francisco J. Ruiz de Mendoza) and he taught us about this principle. He said that normally, in that supposed area of the world where that family was, it should've only taken them a few months to travel through that desert. It took that family 8 years because "they did not progress in their journey" and they "tarried in the wilderness." 8 years! Come on! Keep the commandments exactly as they were given and we will be happy! It's as simple as that!

On Sunday we had a District Conference up in Santiago. I had my final interview with President Jackson because I won't be seeing him again before he leaves Spain. It was an amazing interview and he gave me a lot of great advice on life and things that will make me truly happy. He taught me more than anything in that interview to think "Outward" rather than "Inward" and to show love to everyone. I love him and I'm so grateful for his service. BEST MISSION PRESIDENT EVER.

As you can see, a great week. As always. I love you all and see you next week!

Elder Giforos

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