Monday, November 9, 2015

Trio, 6 Months, and Borrowed Light

Hey folks!

We had an awesome week! We got a third companion on Wednesday. His name's Elder Castleberry. He's from Pleasant Grove. He's been out for 23 months and he'll be going home at the end of this transfer in December. He's pretty fun and he's a great missionary, and I think this'll be a great transfer. I'm hoping to learn a lot from him. And being in a trio is a ton of fun so far, so that's good. :)

I passed my 6 month mark this week! I've officially been a missionary for 6 months! Which is so weird... The time goes so fast. It's been a great 6 months though. There's nowhere else I'd rather be, and no other work I'd rather be doing.

We were on bikes this week, which kind of stinks, but it also makes us feel way more accomplished at the end of each day (not to mention how well we sleep haha). We met with Brissa's husband Glen and he was pretty receptive to the Restoration. He's a very smart guy and he understood well. He is pretty impressed with our church so far and seems to agree with a lot of our beliefs.

We took one of the recent converts in the ward, Roger, on a team-up to see Joe, and it went pretty well. And on Sunday Roger had a great experience in Gospel Principles. It was on eternal families, and when he found out that he can be with his two sons again (one of whom passed away as a baby) he got pretty emotional. God's plan for us is truly amazing. I'm so grateful for the knowledge that I have that because of Christ I can be with my family forever.

Will you all keep praying for Mayetta? She's still struggling to stay off of cigarettes, she gave in and smoked a few over the weekend. She's doing better now but she still needs help.

My message for the week:

Consider the following quote from Heber C. Kimball:

"The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. …

“… If you don’t have it you will not stand; therefore seek for the testimony of Jesus and cleave to it, that when the trying time comes you may not stumble and fall."

Consider also this quote from Elder Douglas L. Calaster in the October 2007 General Conference:

"In the genius of the gospel plan, there ultimately only has to be one witness, but that witness must be you. The testimony of others may initiate and nourish the desire for faith and testimony, but eventually every individual must find out for himself. None can permanently endure on borrowed light.

"The restored gospel is not truer today than when a solitary boy walked out of the Sacred Grove in 1820. Truth has never been dependent on the number who embrace it. When Joseph left the grove, there was only one man on earth who knew the truth about God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. It is necessary, however, that each find out for himself and carry that burning testimony into the next life...

"...If you want to know...a price must be paid. And you alone must pay that price. There are proxies for ordinances, but none for the acquisition of a testimony.

"Alma spoke of his conversion in these beautiful words: “I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me” (Alma 5:46)."

In today's chaotic world with its quickly shifting moral standards and antagonism towards those who have faith, it is no longer possible for us to "endure on borrowed light." We each must have our own
testimonies of the truthfulness of the Gospel, the reality of God, and of the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We must have a testimony of the restoration of His gospel and priesthood authority.
And we must have a testimony that the Prophet and Apostles who lead His Church today are indeed called and led by Jesus Christ Himself. And more than that - we must all have the faith to act on our
testimonies. It is not enough merely to know - we must do!

I challenge all of you, wherever you are with your own faith and testimony, to strengthen your testimony and exercise the faith to act on it. I suggest that you follow Alma's example of sincere and
heartfelt fasting and prayer that you might know the truthfulness of these things for yourself. And remember that there is nothing wrong with having questions, concerns, or doubts -- that is normal and okay. What is not okay is "...discard[ing] something we know to be true because of something we do not yet understand" (Neil L. Andersen, Oct 2014). Hold fast to the Old Ship Zion, as Elder Ballard has recently put it. Hold fast to the truths you have been taught by the Holy Spirit. Exercise the faith to press onward with what light you do possess, praying for and exercising faith that you will receive
further light and understanding as your Heavenly Father sees fit. I have seen this happen in my own life multiple times -- being blessed with greater understanding or answers to questions or resolutions to concerns only after I chose to continue to exercise faith in the things I have received witnesses from the Spirit are true. And I know the same will happen for you. Don't lose faith, don't abandon ship, remember the spiritual experiences you have had and the things you have been taught by the Spirit, and don't give in to distraction or disengagement. We can't afford to do that in the latter days. And if you feel you don't have a testimony -- follow Alma's example and get one! The beauty of it is that God speaks to all of us, and He does it uniquely according to our needs, because He loves and knows each one of us. You can gain a witness that He lives and that the restored gospel is true. Follow the counsel given in James 1:5, in Moroni 10:3-5, and also in the introduction to the Book of Mormon. Study it out for yourself and ask God with a sincere heart and real intent, and He will "manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost." I promise you that this is true for you, too - no matter what your circumstances or past or struggles or concerns or whatever. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

I love you all! The Gospel is true. Stay strong and faithful, and make yourselves a great week! :)

Elder Swindler

Picture from the mission blog taken at transfers:

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