The Atonement: The Theme of This Life

     The Atonement. Really, for a little bit I just thought it was a theme that the Lord was showing me for a portion of my mission. More and more I am beginning to see that it is really the theme of this life. The better we understand the Atonement, the better we can use it. The more I use the Atonement, the more I understand how much I don’t comprehend the love that Christ has for you and I.

     In a meeting this last week, our mission president, President Reynolds, stated “Teach them how to repent–they will join the church.” Repentance seems to me to be synonymous with celestial change–it’s change geared towards obtaining eventual celestial glory. 

     In tandem with what our mission president said, I’ve also found that as the Lord teaches me how to truly repent, I can and will endure to the end. Mostly, I’ve been taught these last few transfers to be patient with that change. Oddly enough, the more I learn and grow, the more I see that I have so far to go, but that makes me all the more grateful for what Christ did for you and I.

     Christ hasn’t always been personal to me. He was someone I knew a lot about, someone I’d seen a lot of paintings of, but hardly someone I had taken real time to get to know. Now, I can testify with absolute certainty of how real He is. He is not a sort of incomprehensible deity who is everywhere, yet nowhere. He is our Savior and Redeemer. He is our eldest spirit brother, chosen by our Father in Heaven to be that Savior and Redeemer.   

Temple Trip with Iderle

      Iderle is our Haitian Grandma. She was baptized just before I got here and, boy, is she incredible! This last Friday, we took her to the temple for her first visit. I’ll paste in my journal entry from that:

      “Originally, it was just going to be Iderle and us, however we needed a man to go with is. We tried to get a brother to go with us, however he had a doctors appointment that he couldn’t reschedule. However, the Lord took care of it and Fred, her husband, came along. Now, because we no longer had a Melchizedek Priesthood holder coming with us (challenges of being in a tiny branch), we had to decide whether we would stay with Iderle or with Fred, as Fred would just have to wait outside/in the church. The Manhattan temple is interesting: temple on one side and the church is on the other. We felt like we needed to be with Fred. So I said a little prayer that help would be provided for Iderle.

     “When we got to the temple, we walked in and there was a whole family from San Diego doing baptisms. We explained to the mom that this was Sister Amedee’s first time in the temple and asked if she would mind helping her through. The mom was more than happy! What a miracle!!

     “Because of this, we were able to give Fred a tour of the church side of the building, including some very impressive paintings they had on display throughout the building. While we were giving this tour to Fred, a couple came up to us and the man explained that he wanted to give the girl with him a Book of Mormon and asked if I had one. I gave him the copy I was holding. When they wanted the missionaries in New Jersey, I directed them to Mormon.org. Really, I didn’t do a whole lot, but it sure felt good to be involved in someone’s conversion (they were obviously dating and she was obviously investigating).”

Baptisms in our District!

rockaway-baptisms-dec-2016     Two men were baptized in our District yesterday!!! And they are English speaking men, which is something we really need in our branch. Working with members is often the key to bringing more people to the Gospel, and as Elders we work more with the men, just do to the need to always have a man present if we are with any woman. Currently, 2 of the 3 English men we have in our branch are completely occupied except Friday nights and church on Sunday.

     Anyways, about the baptism: The Spirit was so strong. Both of the men being baptized, Angelo and Frank, are two of the most prepared people I have ever met. In casual conversation, Frank will bear his testimony of the Gospel or of a blessing he received that day. And Angelo has more faith than anyone I have ever met. If the Spirit speaks, he will do. We are very blessed to have them. 🙂

Our Totaled Car
To start off, remember that one time I mentioned that we got in a car accident? Well apparently it was enough that the insurance “totaled” our car. So there’s that. Yep. Really, I’m just grateful we have incredible Senior Couples who really do watch out for us. Honestly, when ever we need anything, whether it’s for sickness, cars, etc., they’re always right there and always so willing to help. I love that. 🙂 

So we haven’t had to cook….

     So basically, somehow we have ended up with enough dinner appointments and leftovers that we have had to cook a grand total of 3 or 4 times these last two weeks. Que bendición! 

A Call from President

     So, transfers are tomorrow, and the Friday before every transfer, our President calls around to ask specific missionaries to train the incoming missionaries. Elder Johnson and I weren’t really expecting a phone call from him, due to the fact that I just finished training and Elder Johnson is probably leaving this transfer. However, at 5:43 on Friday night we got a call from President. Elder Johnson practically threw the phone at me and made me answer it. First, President asked me to train and Elder Johnson started to cheer, whooping and hollering because it wasn’t him…..and then President just laughed and asked him to train. Elder Johnson hadn’t heard because of his jovial exclamations for me, so I put the phone to his ear and told him to say ‘yes.’ Hahaha! Elder Johnson said yes and we both started laughing. There was quite of a bit of freaking out as we closed the call with President and over the next couple days…actually, we’re still pretty stoked! It’s going to be awesome. 🙂 

     Those are the main highlights from our week. We had a great time and I am so grateful for Elder Johnson–he’s taught me a lot. Just as a side note, because it’s kind of cool, Elder Heiner–who is Elder Asplund’s trainee, who is my trainee–is training these next couple transfers. We have a ton of missionaries going home this transfer, many of which I look up to and I hope to be like them at some point. The Lord is good and I am so grateful for His mercy. 

     The Rockaway’s are a special place and I am so grateful to be here. Love you all!

Elder McConkie

 

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