July 15, 2014

That Awkward "Almost 1 Year" Mark (July 14, 2014)

My one year is Thursday. I don’t get to write on Thursday (1 because I have a meeting with the President and 2 because it isn’t P-Day yohoho) so I have decided to split my one year email into two emails: one this week and the other the following week.

The missionary manual says that we shouldn’t come out on the mission with the expectation that we will change, meaning we shouldn’t come out here looking to see the world and find ourselves. That would be selfish. We are here to serve other people. Also, as I have seen, we change all on our own out here, and whenever you take a second to stop and look around; you see how much you have changed and how much this world has changed as well. 

I feel like if anything, I have become more of a "Jonathan Edwards" in that I am quite forceful with the doctrine of the Gospel. (However, I still think "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" is super dumb; sorry, Johnny.) I certainly feel like the Gospel of God is very clear and we, as humans, are the clowns who decide to say "no" to something as wonderful as "eternal happiness." For that, I don’t mind burning people with my words and scriptural citations. 

However, I’m not saying I have become a priest or a Pharisee or something like that. I just finally understand what Jesus Christ said when He said the only scripture I memorized in Seminary: "If you love me, keep my commandments."

I can’t lie and said I was super good at keeping the commandments before my mission (nor can I say that I am perfect now), but I see the difference in STRIVING to keep the commandments and saying "meh, no pasa nada con los mandamientos (basically that the commandments mean nothing)." The commandments keep us happy and safe, as said in one of my favorite hymns (also from Seminary):

"Keep the commandments: in this there is safety, in this there is peace. He will send blessings. Words of the prophets: keep the commandments. In this there is safety and peace."

Truer words have not been spoken (er...sung). God ALWAYS blesses us, even when we outright deny God. It is crazy how much He loves us. None of you can even fathom how much He loves each of us. I did some bad things before, and yet God ALWAYS blessed me. I’m here now, and I get to see the joy of living every day as a servant of the Lord. It is unexplainable. Sure, at first it was insanely hard, and I wanted to go home, but as I kept the commandments, I received that safety and peace.

I want nothing more than to help each and every one of you who reads this to come unto Christ. He told us how: faith, repentance of our sins, baptism by immersion with the CORRECT authority, the receiving of the Holy Ghost, and working hard every single day to be the best you that you can be. It is hard, but the prize is an eternal family in the kingdom of God.

The best part is, I don’t need to convince you. Just pray. Another of my favorite hymns is "Did You Think to Pray?" Any question, fear, problem, etc. that you have can be resolved if you get on your knees and pray. That is what I have learned and it will forever bless my life.

I will write more the next week too, but for now I want to express my love for all of you and my testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom established once again on this earth. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who saw the Father and His Beloved Son. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today who sees and talks with God. And, the Book of Mormon is the most correct of ALL the books on earth. No other book will bring a man closer to God than this sacred text. It changes life: it has changed mine and will continue to do so until the day I die.

Gracias a todos y gracias por ser parte de mi familia. [Thank you to everyone for being a part of my family.]

- Elder Dax Rich

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