Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bury your weapons and come closer to God

Elder Burk and his new companion Elder Matos 
Hey Family,

This week we have had a lot of very cool lessons. We went to the Leader’s Council.  Wow, everything is now totally different.  There are so many changes happening, so we’re going with it.  We have different ways of doing everything in the mission now—forms, exchanges, meetings, everything.  It feels a little weird, but we will follow it and it will all be fine.

This week we’ve been working really hard in our area with our own investigators.  Our new mission goal is to baptize every single week.  Our President taught us that we need to see the end from the beginning, like it says in Abraham 2:8.  He emphasized how this perspective was very important to seeing real success—knowing why we are teaching people and to what end, helping them come unto Christ and make positive changes in their life.

In our Leader’s Council, our new President was full of energy.  He would teach us something new, then repeat it several times so we got it. We all really knew exactly what he was teaching us. 

Elder Matos and I have been working really hard this week to find new people to teach.  We have been working with a less active named Leah and her husband Ricardo.  Ricardo has been coming to church for a couple of weeks now, and he really likes it there.  He has some doubts, but he asks us questions, and we work through it together. 

We also had a zone meeting this week and taught about helping your investigator progress by contacting them every single day.  Elder Reynolds visited our mission.  He visited all the parts of our mission near Barranquilla.  But because of distance he did not come out here to Valledupar.  So we watched it from the church via satellite.  We watched him shake everyone’s hand as he entered the room.  It was really awesome. He talked a lot about getting members ready for the temple, and all that would happen related to the temple. It was exciting.

We taught Erica Barrios this week.  She is a referral from a member in our area.  Before we arrived, she had read the entire pamphlet of what we were going to teach.  She had the whole thing entirely memorized!  It was so cool.  It was a very spiritual lesson.  We are so happy to be working with her and her entire family. 

We also taught Miguel Martinez this week.  He and his wife have been having a lot of martial problems.  He has a very large financial debt that weighs on him, it will take him over 3 years to get out of it. It causes him a lot of stress, and it has really hurt their marriage. They were getting ready to legally get married, but now they are doubting their decision.  He’s so mad all the time because of this debt, that his wife is tired of hearing about it.  While we were visiting we asked him some questions, and let him talk things out with us. Then we told him the story of the anti-lehi-nephites that they buried their weapons of war, and became closer to God.  So we took out some pieces of paper, and had Miguel and his wife write down all of the things that are their weapons right now—the bad things that are happening to them, the bad thoughts they have, anything that came to their minds.  Miguel filled the whole page.  He just kept writing. Then we read the Alma 24 with them, told them the story, then we went outside and had them burn their pieces of papers.  We told them this was just like the people who buried their weapons.  Now they are able to bury all the bad things that weigh them down.  Now he can stop thinking, saying the same things over and over, because they are burned and gone.  It’s time now to move forward and do what you can each day to improve and progress. It was a very powerful lesson, we all felt the spirit that it was the right thing to do. Then we talked about how the gospel can be applied to our everyday life and be applied personally to him and the situation he is in.  It was really awesome.

In church this Sunday, we talked about the sacrament. I gave this a lot of thought.  We are supposed to be worthy to take the sacrament.  But sometimes when we don’t feel worthy, we might not take it.  But it’s important to understand something, repentance is an organized process.  We need to follow it just as God has asked us to.  We do not have the authority to not take the sacrament. We can’t just tell ourselves that we’re not going to do it if we think we are unworthy.  Instead, confession is the first step.  If we think that we are unworthy for any reason, then the first step is to go talk to the Bishop.  Confess.  He is the only one that can tell us that we cannot take the sacrament.  We do not have the power to deny ourselves of the sacred covenant that we are supposed to make each week. 

If you wonder if you should take the sacrament, remember: Never take the sacrament unworthily and always take the sacrament.  These are the two things to always live by.

I thought this was such an interesting concept.  There are times people think, well, I didn’t have a perfect week, so I’m not going to take the sacrament.  Then the next week they go ahead and take it.  But that is not how it works. If we feel uncertain about taking the sacrament, for whatever reason, then you need to go through the repentance process.  Speak to your priesthood leader, share with him your concerns, let him determine what steps are next.  Stop doing whatever it is that makes you feel unworthy.  Pray to God for forgiveness, then turn from that sin and move forward looking to God and doing right.  If you are worthy, your Bishop will tell you to take it every single week.  It’s there to help us.  It’s there to cleanse us.  It’s there to remind us of the covenants we made at baptism to follow the Savior.

If anyone feels unworthy to take the sacrament, please see your Bishop.  The Savior loves you.  He wants you to come unto him.  If you’re sick, the sacrament can be brought to you. 

I love you family!  I hope you have a great week.

Elder Burk
Elder Burk with fellow missionaries at the Leader's Conference


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