I just have time to share a quick verse with you. It's Omni 1:26:
"And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved."
There is so much more to the gospel than simply knowing, or checking boxes and saying we're done and good and we're keeping the commandments and going to heaven. If we want to truly know Jesus Christ for ourselves and partake of His peace and love, we must come and experience the power of His redemption for ourselves. To come to know Him, to become converted, to experience this redeeming power, we must lay our whole souls on the offer of sacrifice unto Him. We must consecrate our whole selves - body and spirit. We must repent. Which is a lot to ask.
So what are you holding back? What things do you need to change and improve? What can you lay on the altar of repentance?
Our mission is doing a 40 day "fast" from certain things that we each personally and prayerfully consider. We're abstaining from - or making conscious effort to be more Christ-like with - specific and personally chosen things in each of 6 areas: Disobedience, Fear, Passions, Pride, Attitude, and Laziness. I've fasted and prayed personally and chosen some things I will sacrifice. And if you are up to it, I'd like to challenge you to do the same. If we will all do this, I know we will all become more consecrated servants of our Savior. I know also that by striving to offer our whole souls as an offering unto Him, and continuing in fasting and praying, we will come to know Him for ourselves, and we will have the lasting and fulfilling peace and joy that come from that.
Iff you are struggling to come up with things to lay on the altar, might I suggest prayerfully studying Alma 5 for some ideas? Just remember: you have to make these things specific! Not just "I will fast from being prideful," for example, but what specific prideful behavior will you fast from? How will you do it?
The gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and it has been restored to the earth in its fullness by the prophet Joseph Smith. Jesus lives today! And this truly is His church. I have felt the Spirit witness of these things to me many times this week. I know also that anyone can come to this knowledge if they desire. It requires real desire, humble prayer, consecrated work, moral courage, and a willingness to put faith before doubt. It is very doable. And it is a lifelong endeavor. It will never be finished in this life and no one is exempt from trying.
I love you all,
Elder Alex Swindler
1) A last district picture with a recent convert named Sheri
2) A pretty sunset
3) Tater Peeler Rd. Yep. Gotta love Tennessee.