Friday, December 16, 2016

Nov 29, 016 "Alma50:16"


It's been a happy week.


Okay, I didn't get any good pictures of the Christmas lights itself. I'll try again this week. But, the wonderful thing is that this year, we are going to be the lights! 

I think everybody wants to have a Jesus-centered Christmas every Christmas. At least I use that excuse every year when I forget to buy presents for people. "I'll read my scriptures on Christmas Eve! I'll spend time with my family! I'll write people cards! I'll read that story about the Christmas Orange again!" We say it over and over again year after year, but at the end of December, have we actually accomplished it? Most of the time, I don't even remember those resolutions long enough to evaluate and account for it. 

Aaaaand that's why #LIGHTtheWORLD is a thing. I guess I had a tiny revelation watching that video that it's not quite enough to remember Christ, but we need to be like Christ. 

If you want a more beautiful Christmas, please participate with me. 

The Parks/Takeshige journey is over now. Here's to new horizons and new companions.

Other pictures: 

The Humanitarian Center has these neo-natal resuscitation training kits, and if you fill these babies up with water, apparently it makes for a more realistic training. Here is a picture of them drying out. 

Our potato phone broke 

We did a service project sorting clothing donations, and here is Sister Tekurio marveling at a bra

Byebye NORTH II 

Nov 15, 2016 God is Our Loving Heavenly Father"

The very first principle that we teach people as missionaries is "God is our loving Heavenly Father". This week I learned exactly how important and unique this message is. 

Every single word in that sentence is so important for us to teach. The first idea in that sentence is that God is loving. I have noticed this week that there are so many people who believe that God is something to be feared, and as a result, many people decide not to believe in Him at all. 

Someone expressed to me recently that they dislike Christianity because of the idea of "original sin", where we are all condemned to this mortal existence because we have to suffer the consequences of Adam's "sin". Which is understandable. After all, who wants to believe in a cynic judge?

However, we learn from prophets of the Restoration that "original sin" is a man-made belief. Adam's transgression is 1) not a sin (fun fact: Adam partaking of the fruit is never in the Bible called a sin. He did not sin. He transgressed against God's instructions. But more on that some other time) , and 2) we are not punished for it, because this life is not a punishment. It is a gift. 

Humankind's misconception turned God into a wrathful God, but because of Restored truths, we know again that God truly does love us. He sent us to this earth because he loves us and He wanted us to experience joy, experience families, and experience education. I never realized how unique and radical this idea of a "loving God" is. 

The other unique message in the phrase: "God is our loving Heavenly Father", is the part that He is our Father. This is the second most characteristic of God.

A kind gentleman asked to me this week, "But how can you know that God is real?"

I said to him, "He communicated to us through our feelings and thoughts. Every time I learn more about God I feel happy, and everything makes more sense."

"But have you seen a specific answer? Has he out-rightly done something for you when you asked Him to? Did you see any physical miracles?" 

I think a lot of people regard God is like a magical genie. But in fact, He is the Father of our spirits. Any wise father would know that if you give your child anything he or she wants, that child will not turn out well. Even if that father was rich and powerful and had the resources to give the child anything he or she demands, a wise father would not do that. A wise father would give the child opportunities to learn how to earn, learn, or create for themselves. In the same sense, our Heavenly Father does not immediately give us everything we demand of him, but gives us opportunities where we can develop useful skills on our own. A good father offers their child love, support, advice, encouragement, and communication; and that is what our Heavenly Father offers to us as well. 

To whomever is trying to figure out the very concept of God, please remember this: God is our father, and He loves us. Anything that contradicts these two ideas is not true doctrine. God has given us ways to learn about him.

Okay I'm done preaching for the week. Thanks for listening. 

*timid mic drop* 

And for those who didn't want to read all of those words, here is an illustrated summary of Sister Takeshige's week: