I had a really awesome experience this week! I feel prompted to write an analysis of one of my favorite scriptures about why God allows us to pass through trials in our lives. I first wrote this in my journal, but now I’m thinking that it was inspiration, and that I need to share it with my family, especially considering how many trials our family went through before I left for my mission. In fact, our family trials was actually the message that a less active family in our ward needed to hear, to get them coming back to church again. What I wrote in my journal is this…
Since pride is the root of so much pain and grief in this world, one of the main reasons why we are given trials and weaknesses in our lives is to give us opportunities to humble ourselves before the Lord, and recognize how much we really need the help of the atonement in our lives, since we are all beggars. Usually when things are going well in our lives, we often turn our backs to the Lord. We often do not realize that we are unable to do things on our own until we have to pass through something that is too challenging for us to handle alone. One other reason why the Lord allows us to experience trials is so that He can polish us up. We often cannot develop Christ-like attributes such as patience and humility without being tested first; and the whole reason Christ came to the earth was to set an example for us to follow. And we will be judged based upon how well we emulated Christ in our own lives. We cannot develop an increase of faith without trials. Why else do you think so many faithful followers of the Lord, such as Joseph Smith, Job, and even Jesus Christ himself had to pass through so many afflictions in their lives. People often feel that trials are a form of punishment for something we did to displease God. If Christ was perfect, why did he have to suffer so much that it caused him to bleed from every pore. Trials are not a punishment, rather they are an opportunity for us to become more Christ-like. Trials allow us to see marvelous miracles transpire in our lives. But we need faith to see those miracles in our lives. Trials only become a punishment when we allow the adversary to get the best of us, and turn away from the help the Lord so graciously gives us, so that we can be blessed and grow from our trials. President Eyring teaches that we should actually be praying for trials in our lives, rather than avoiding them.
After I shared this message with the family, the father told me that if he had never considered trials as blessings and as opportunities to grow and become closer with God. He wants his family to put their faith back in the Lord, and return to Church.
My companion and I ended up finding an investigator this week who was definitely prepared to hear the gospel. He expressed to us that it was a real privilege to have servants of the Lord in his house. He felt his moral standards matched perfectly with those of the LDS Church. His name is Fernando, and although I was a little skeptical of this guy’s motives, considering how receptive he was, I realize that most of my hesitations have to do with how rare it is to find someone that open to talking with us. I guess I should stop being skeptical, and just acknowledge that the Spirit will direct us to those whom he has prepared.
Another cool thing that happened this week was my trip to the Temple here in Xela, which was an awesome experience. It is the first time I have gone to a temple where you move from room to room during the endowment session.
I took some photos this week so that I could send them to you, but I forgot the cord at our house, so I can’t hook the camera up to the computer here at the internet café.
It is funny that you should mention the electricity going out in Guatemala in your last email, because just this yesterday the electricity was shut off, and so was the water. So everyone in my Ward had to go Church looking like a “chambones” without showers, and unshaved. When just the electricity is out, and not the water, it will be a good thing to have that camping shower to had me bring.
It sounds like you had a great experience at the Special Olympics this weekend. It was a lot of fun last year when I went. I hope that I have an opportunity to participate again when I get back. I want to go with Leah. What did Leah think of the ceremonies? Looks like Wyatt and Leah had lots of fun. It is also funny that you should mention Wendy’s bringing back the “Bacon and Blue Burger,” because P-Day is our day to go out for lunch, and I was actually hoping I would be able to rub in to you that I ate a “Bacon and Blue Burger” today…but you beat me to the punch! Dang it!
Con amor, tu hijo, Elder Cudney
P.S. FYI I could actually use the PowerPoint you made on the Apostasy and the Restoration, if you sent it on a flash drive. Each companionship is given a digital DVD player with which we can show videos and give presentations.
P.S.S. Hey Dad, while you were on your mission, did you ever hear stories about people’s homes being haunted by evil spirits? I swear I hear new stories from missionaries everyday about how they have to dedicate homes or cast out evil spirits. Weird!