Monday, October 14, 2013

"behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness"

Hey family!
It is so great to be in Rialto, California. the weather is nice and cooling off, and it's just windy enough to feel like heaven. seriously. I love this place.
We have had so many miracles this week and the last while. We were able to eat at the F.'s home twice this week! It was sweet because we had never really gotten to know them. They have a house of 5 teen boys and a baby girl, and like the rest of this ward, they love football. It's a fun home to visit. :) It was especially great because their youngest boy just turned 8 and is about to be baptized. So, after an awesome salmon dinner, we thought it would be perfect to teach them about football. Yes, football. If you have a dream to play in the NFL, first you have to believe that it's possible. You put that faith into action by improving your skill and abilities—training, conditioning, eating better, etc. When the time comes and you've prepared yourself, you get to make your dream official by signing onto the team. After you sign, you are entitled to all the benefits that come from being an official player, like coaches, pads, and uniforms. But signing onto the best team in the NFL isn't the end—it's just the beginning! Now you get toreally start training and playing, never quitting until the end of your career, when you can be inducted into the hall of fame.
This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we begin to exercise faith in Him and His Atonement, we will naturally want to repent of our sins—to correct the sin in our lives and turn towards His paths. Faith and repentance lead us to baptism, an ordinance that makes our commitment to lifelong discipleship official. We witness to God that we will be on His team and stay on His team. And through the ordinance of confirmation, He gives us the gift of the Holy Ghost, a member of the Godhead to be our constant companion as we live faithfully. He is our kind coach and friend. But getting onto the team is not enough. We must endure to the end, continuing to exercise faith in the savior, repenting daily, and partaking of the sacrament at church on sunday. Then, when we have done all we can, we will look back and see that we really did not do much at all. It was only in and through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we were cleansed and strengthened. We are nothing without Him.
We asked the F. family why they we needed to endure to the end, and their youngest son said something I think I'll never forget:
"Because He died for us."
I thought about that the rest of the night. Our Savior endured to the end, didn't He? What would happen if He hadn't? if He had thrown in the towel and said He's through—it's too hard. I am so grateful He didn't. I know He lives again, and that He conquered death. 
The rest of the week was great. We weren't able to meet with Moli because her mother was in the hospital, but we're excited to see her again tonight. And we found several new people to teach and received several referral families! I am pumped for the next few weeks. The work is really moving along in this ward. :)
Also, shout out to Coach Jones and Coach Blackman for helping me to reach my potential in cross country and wrestling in high school! :)
That's all I have time for! I love you all and I know this work is true! :)
Elder Judd