Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Conversion and Commandments

Christmas in Santiago
This week (like many others) had its high and low points, and I know that’s all for the best and I’m looking forward to an even better week coming up. My comp’s doing well and learning the sector little by little, in fact tomorrow I’ll be leaving him in charge of the sector with another new missionary as I head off to do an interchange. The guy continues to amaze me and I can already see the positive influence he’s had on me, even though I still have so long to go.

A couple of thoughts I’ve been having these past couple days. The first has to do with the process of conversion.

I’m now approaching the year mark of being a missionary, so I’ve now taught more than a couple people and I’ve started to realize some almost universal truths. Something happens with almost everyone who begins to accept the gospel in their lives. Almost 100% of the time, they notice that things just go better in their lives, they’re happier, they find jobs when they couldn’t before, they see miracles in the family, and they find inner peace amidst the commotion of life that they’d been looking for.

Right there the conversion process begins, people recognize that God is trying to speak to them through this message. My personal conversion started exactly like that some years ago- there was a completely undeniable difference in my life and I could feel the hand of God in my life in a very real way. But…  this is just the tip of the iceberg, just the very top layer of spiritual and temporal blessings that lead to our more full conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The blessings are more and so the effort required is obviously more as well, but it’s worth it. Unfortunately, not many end of enjoying these blessings of a more full conversion.

My other thought had to do with the commandments. We talk to so many people every day that we hear a wide range of ideas on many subjects (for example, yesterday we talked to someone who’s had visitations from aliens J ).One of such subjects is the love of God. A popular thought here in Santiago is that God loves us, so it doesn’t really matter if we keep the commandments.

Last night we were about to teach a family about the Word of Wisdom (knowing it’s not something they already do) and an idea came to my mind as to how we were going to teach. We started by giving everyone in the family a 1 peso coin (approximately 1/7 of a cent) and asking them what they’d do with it. The consensus was that they would probably leave it on the table, lose it, forget about, or even throw it away. I then presented them a bill worth 10,000 pesos (approximately 15 dollars) and asked them what they’d do with it. The answers varied from spending it on something important, saving it, putting it in a safe place, or and combination of those. The idea is that they would value the bill because it’s worth something. God loves us more than we understand and a lot more than we love 10,000 pesos. He doesn’t want us to throw away our precious loves like we would a single peso coin. For that very reason he has given us commandments – our guidelines to maximize this precious gift that He’s given us. If we love Him, we will keep His commandments.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!!


Elder Birrell

Shopping in Santiago
Elder Birrell and Elder Duassan with their Chilean hats and ties.
 I think Chilean ties must be made for short people :)

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