Another week is in the books! Boy, are they flying by. I’ll admit that it’s been a while since we’ve had an amazing week together here, but as we continue to press forward, the Lord blesses us with an incredible amount of tender mercies that speak peace to my mind and soul. We are so richly blessed here. If I had to sum up what has changed about me the most since I have come to Cedar Rapids is that I have, for the first time, gained an attitude of gratitude.
This past week was full of canceled appointments, investigators backing out on Sunday morning, and just plain out exhaustion…but holy cow, we saw some ridiculous miracles as well! For example, we have a baptism happening this coming Sunday! Mamie (pronounced “Mommy”) Dopoe is the wife of a member and has decided to be baptized. They’re from Liberia in Africa and moved to Cedar Rapids back in October. They had been in 3rd Ward boundaries until about a week ago when they moved into our ward. Right before moving in though, one of the sets of Elders dropped in to see them and they discovered that she wasn’t a member! So they asked her if she wanted to be baptized and she not only said yes, but committed to a baptismal date only 2 weeks out! We’ve been struggling to get all of the lessons in, but we’ve got them just about done and she passed her baptismal interview on Sunday. The Lord loves His children. That’s all I can say.
The topic that I wanted to focus on today in my email was the sacrament. A few weeks ago, I caught myself not feeling like I was getting a lot out of sacrament meeting. As I thought about it more and more, I discovered that the problem was not with anyone there, but with me. How many of us, as we sit in the chapel awaiting the sacrament, are actually thinking about what the Savior has done for us? How many of us are instead thinking about that screaming kid over in the side aisle? or about how monotone the speaker is? or about the athletic competitions that you are missing out on watching? or about what you are going to eat after church? or about how tired you are? or about how there’s a man in the other row asleep? etc… Isn’t it interesting how most of these thoughts revolve around how others could be better, when in fact, the Sacrament is supposed to be a time of self-inspection and self-improvement?
I forget which General Authority said it, but he compared each speaker’s talk to a jug of water that the speaker has prepared to, metaphorically, pour out on the congregation. He then went on to ask us what sort of a receptacle we came to the meeting with. did we come with a jug ourself? Or did we perhaps come with a thimble? Just like how it is impossible for the missionaries to teach people who are unwilling to listen, it is impossible for the speaker to teach a congregation who are unwilling to listen also.
I invite each of us to study out on our own the importance of the Sacrament in our own lives. Study the Sacrament prayers, study talks from General Authorities on the subject, examine your own testimony. Then, when you go next Sunday, keep those things in mind. Want a good tip? Try taking notes during each talk. I have been doing that for the last couple of Sundays and my sacrament experience has been completely changed.
This Church is true. Being a missionary is the best thing that I have ever done in my life.
I love you all.
Faith and Honor,