Without Sacrifice The Real Treasure Remains Buried Beneath A Mountain of Distractions, Unnoticed and Untouched.

17505400_1369236983097567_7343270408091555734_o     There never seems to be a shortage of things to do and stuff to learn.

     We are teaching a couple that found the church when they stopped in at the Washington DC Temple and requested missionaries to visit them. For the past few months, Elder Snell has been teaching them regularly. It wasn’t until just before I got here that they hit a plateau. Currently, they are living together “without the benefit of matrimony” (as our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Hallaran, would say) and that is the biggest obstacle. They’d been coming to church, however when they were told they either needed to marry or live separate before they could be baptized, they lost a bit of steam.

     Since being here, we’ve spent a good amount of time with them. We’ve maintained good contact, had some powerful lessons, and they have a couple fantastic member friends reaching out to them, so we’re hoping things work out for them. The bummer was when they didn’t show up to church yesterday, even after we showed up to their place before church. Was I disappointed? Perhaps that’s understating it a little bit. However, it was less for me and more for them. They have hectic lives. They have some incredibly difficult problems they are working through.

     I realize there is hardly a chance that I can perfectly understand their situation. They have a lot going on, it’s true. And yet it brings back to mind something Sister Martino (senior missionary from Hampton Bays) taught me. She would often speak of ‘if people would just do what the Lord asks and sacrifice, they would see just how many blessings the Lord has in store for them on the other side.’ While we can’t know for sure what the blessings will be, we can know everything will be alright. There will be peace. There will be joy. It just takes trimming the path, cutting back the weeds, trekking through the rough: it takes sacrifice.

     Isn’t that ultimately what it comes down to? Sometimes I just have to sacrifice what I deem to be a great treasure, the very thing that is keeping me from discovering real buried treasure. It’s buried because without sacrifice, it will remain buried beneath a mountain of distractions, unnoticed and untouched. Joseph Smith said, “Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation” (Lectures on Faith). That is anything but easy. That’s hard!

     We really, really want to help these two wonderful people. They’re so close; it’s going to come down to being willing to sacrifice whatever necessary to follow our Father’s plan for us. To wrap this up, this has created a question in my mind: am I willing to sacrifice? What’s bearing my “treasure in heaven” (Helaman 5:8)?

     57-years old and battling MS for 3 years, *Luke is a retired pharmaceutical scientist. Yep, that’s right. He’s been engineering all the medicines we see on the store shelves. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire when he developed MS. However, the upside is it has seemed to make him more receptive to the Gospel. When the missionaries originally found him, he said he would let them know when they could come back. He called them back 3 weeks later and let them know he had read the entire Book of Mormon. The ENTIRE book. I’m not quite sure what has happened since then, but he seemed to take a back burner for a bit. We recently picked him back up and started teaching him again. He told us he will come to church when he finishes his treatments early April. We will be headed over this Tuesday to see how he is making out with his second read of the Book of Mormon. This time, we are emphasizing asking God for his answer. He is a great man and has a kind spirit. I actually really look forward to seeing him this week. 🙂

     Our Stake Patriarch is one of the most inspired and enlightened men I have ever met. Just wow. He blows everyone out of the water. If you have ANY question, you ask Brother Rappleye. He makes himself readily available to everyone, so it’s pretty easy to catch him, if you want to.

     Lucky for us, he teaches institute in Plainview on Thursday nights. This last Thursday night, we were at the church, talking with members and asking about their friends they were teaching (it’s also mutual Thursday night, so there are plenty of parents there). When we finished up, we poked our head into Institute as it finished up. What ensued from our conversation from Brother Rappleye was an incredibly personal message: that I needed to do what I do to glorify God and for nothing else. I wasn’t supposed to do missionary work to baptize, to be converted, to obtain greater faith. Of course, those are all byproducts of missionary work, however my ultimate purpose should be to glorify God. Obviously, he ran us through a whole thought process filled with a scripture knowledge that seemed to suggest he had memorized every word in the standard works.

     In even just a few days of changing my mindset, this makes everything so much easier. It’s make it easier to see that whatever happens, it’s God’s will and that’s alright. All He asks of me is to “thrust in [my] sickle with [my] might” and labor “with all my heart, might, mind, and strength” (Doctrine and Covenants 4:2, 4).

Elder McConkie

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