The Love of God

Michael and Elder Pena

Elder Peña and Elder McConkie on exchanges.

As I’ve reflected on this last week, I’ve seen a consistent theme. It’s a lesson that I believe is the answer to everything. It’s the answer to slammed doors, broken hearts, addiction, war, confusion, hunger, and even personal apostasy.

Nephi says it perfectly when he answers an angel’s question as to the meaning of the tree in Lehi’s vision. He said “Yea, Tree of Life Jon McNaughton Cropit is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of
men;  wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things. And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul” (1 Nephi 11:22-23).

Earlier on this week, we had 15 minutes of our day left before we needed to go home. We decided to pay a visit to a guy we had talked with multiple times who worked in a candy shop in town. We walked in, talked with a couple of the customers, just being friendly. When the final customers were getting their ice cream scooped, Elder Johnson asked them about their beliefs and shared our card with them, which made me a little uncomfortable since we were in a store. After they left, I commented to the guy we had come to visit how everyone we talked to knew of him and the store (his dad owns the store). He smiled for a second and then, said proceeded to tell us that he would appreciate us not teaching people in the store and then, very forcefully said that we freaked him out, that this was private property, and that we had better get out right now. We left quickly and I called out behind us that we hoped he did well with his business this summer.

After that, and even the next day, I felt very reserved, which frustrated me. I did not want to fear man more than God. I remembered that as I was studying, I felt the love that God has for me and for all those we teach and his rejection was no longer a stumbling block.

This last week we visited a family that has not been responding to our texts or calls. When we stopped by, the father was there with his two little kids. He had just gotten off work and he needed to pick up his wife, so he only had a few minutes. We shared a short message with him. He shared a portion of his life story with us and the pain he had experienced. We felt prompted to offer him a Priesthood blessing.

As I gave the blessing, the Spirit was so strong and I could barely contain my emotions as I shared with him how much our Father loves him. The whole appointment was all about the love God has for him and to see the healing that began to take place was incredible. 

We stopped by the *Diaz’s house this last week and taught the mom, *Maria. She is very, very Catholic, even though she has been a member for many years. Her question for us that night was why we shouldn’t pray to the Virgin Mary. Usually the answer to this question is that we shouldn’t worship graven images/have other God’s before our Heavenly Father or such like that. I haven’t really liked that answer, because while it’s true, it turns people off more often than not. The Spirit instead guided me to sharing a message of love, a message that instead of condemning, it persuaded (2 Nephi 25:16). mary praying with boy jesus

We talked about how great of a woman Mary was, after all she was chosen and called to be the mother of our Savior. We discussed how even she worshiped God and Christ, how she followed the gospel just as we do. I shared – in my very broken Spanish – how much we respect Mary for all she did.

Even Christ himself respected his mother. Then we shared the commandments relating to prayer and invited her to ask God who she should pray to.

Finally, today we had a branch get together for Memorial Day. One of the member’s brother came with his wife. Afterwards, she was sharing her beliefs about God and Christ. The Spirit prompted each exchange (D&C 84:85). I can truly testify of the Gift of Discernment that comes through the Holy Ghost. He helped me know the intentions behind each thing she shared, and once again the message I shared was full of love for her from God. She expressed that she didn’t want to hurt my testimony by sharing her next point (it should be noted she was not trying to be conniving or deceitful – she was just confused). I encouraged her to continue, assuring her that she could not hurt me because my testimony was firm. She shared her point and then I felt to introduce and share my testimony of the Book of Mormon. She just blinked for a second – after I shared a testimony of The Book of Mormon – and she smiled and said that she needed to grab her husband from the other room because he was probably talking off someone’s ear.  Brother Junor and Sister Junor (This was Brother Junor’s sister in law I was talking to) began to smile the more we had talked. It never ceases to amaze how powerful the truth is. The Spirit was there and testified of truth. 🙂 It was a very humbling, yet very powerful experience for me. My testimony was strengthened. 🙂 

IMG_0109

These flowers are for Mom! Love you, Mom!

Also, Elder Johnson stepped on a 3 inch nail while we were doing service. He is doing alright and is on  antibiotics. It has been good because I have been praying for ways to serve my companion so I can learn to love him more. So – needless to say – I’ve been caring for him a bit more these last couple days, since getting around our apartment with crutches is a little hard. 🙂

Sorry if this email is a little disjointed – I wrote it in increments since we have had a busy day. 🙂

I love you all! Have a great day!  Keep going! You all are super awesome!! 😀

Let me know if there is anything specific you want to know. 🙂

Love ya!!

Elder McConkie
Moroni 7:44-47

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