“Only The Gospel…”

     Two weeks in a completely different place than I have ever lived before. It’s been beyond crazy to see all these things you hear on TV or in movies happen on the streets. Iโ€™ve been told the Rockaways have the second most dangerous street in Queens, but I almost couldn’t feel more protected.

     Actually, it has opened my eyes to a whole new perspective. In school, we would discuss poverty and crime. Students would propose ingenious new systems to deal with it, they would analyze numbers to calculate the most effective tools to help, my professors and teachers would explain what has been done and plans for the future. And in the midst of it all, I never actually was “in the midst.” Until now.

     Those plans sounded fantastic, the systems revolutionary, the perspectives mind-bending. However, now I am living in the very place where many of these strategies are being put into place. Granted, there are so many flaws still yet to be worked out and I’ve hardly got a real look at the real system (I’ve only been here for 2 weeks, after all). There is so much good being done here; so many good people lending a hand, and still many more who are working harder to overcome their obstacles in life than anyone I’ve ever met.

     That said, it still stands as a testament to me that there is only one “program” that will totally and completely  “comfort those that stand in need of comfort” and “mourn with those that mourn” (Mosiah 18:9) and “give rest to [our] souls” (Matthew 11:29) is the healing word of God. “We are commanded by God to take this gospel to all the world. That is the cause that must unite us today. Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family” (Ezra Taft Benson, emphasis added).

     You’d think that with a promise like this, we’d have hundreds of thousands, even millions climbing over each other to come to church or to read the Book of Mormon. However, that’s not usually the case. We talk to SO many who believe in Christ. They generally know the general idea of the typical gospel stories. Perhaps they go to church, at times. Maybe, they even are an active member of a local church. It happens so often that it’s easy to ask how this could be. When we teach, people will often make the comment that our message isn’t much different from what they believe.

     So what’s the difference? A part of the answer that I’ve come to know is what comes from the Book of Mormon. Just as standing on two feet gives more stability and ability than balancing on one, having a testimony firmly rooted in two testaments of the divinity of Jesus Christ gives more understanding, more hope, and enables us to better use the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I wish more would take the opportunity to read the Book of Mormon. If you haven’t read it today, take a couple minutes right now…..

….I can wait…….

*twiddles thumbs*

*makes a call*

Anyway. You should take some time to read it. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

     This last week was a good week. It’s super different being a District Leader in a district where the culture is, well, different from the last district. We have our strengths and weaknesses, our ups and downs. Right now we are working on gaining a testimony of the mission rules! I am becoming more and more grateful for the presence the Martino’s had in our last District–the Spirit they carried ensured that none of us ever had any desire to stray from the right, and when we did, we made correction right away. 

     The most notable event this week was MegaZone Conference. We met at the Stake Center as Zone 4 and 5 with President and his wife, his assistants, and the Senior couples. And I was able to see the Martinos!!! Boy, I sure love them. I have quoted them both–especially Sister Martino–multiple times in District Meetings and even lessons. Often times because it comes from her, other missionaries give more credit to it than if I had said it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyways, the topic of the conference was diligence and planning. I REALLY appreciated the planning aspect–we learned so many vital parts of planning. 

     I’ll apologize right now, but I did not do a great job of writing in my journal this week, so I have very little to share from. 

     This week we shared a lesson with a person who doesnโ€™t come to church very often whom has been struggling to know if the gospel is true. After discussing the Book of Mormon with her, her concerns, and her anxiousness for General Conference, we felt very much at ease with the whole situation. It’s amazing how the Spirit brings scriptures to mind and is the one who actually teaches. ๐Ÿ™‚

 40-day-fast    Friday through Saturday we had a District fast for the area. We really are in need of miracles here, and we fasted for them. I know that in accordance with our faith, our obedience, and our diligence, we will see those miracles manifest.

     In an even greater effort to see miracles, we have determined to start a 40-day fast here. If you remember, we did one in the Hamptons and after only a week, we were seeing miracles. The Spanish and English branches are combining this Sunday, so we are going to receive a new Branch President and new Branch Mission Leader–we hope that we can share this vision with them! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

 

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a General Conference semiannually every April and October which is Salt Lake City and broadcast worldwide. All are invited to hear the good word, warning, and counsel of the Lord through living prophets and other general authorities. 

    And GENERAL CONFERENCE. Wow. Just wow. So many answers. More and more, I feel like the Spirit is amplified each conference. Some of the focuses I noticed were on REAL prayer and doing it NOW. 

     I love you all! Wish I had time for more–we had a few unexpected schedule changes happen today. But what else is new? ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a great week!

Elder McConkie

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