Arizona, Week 19 – Conversions, missionary exchanges, and opposition in all things…

(Mesa area with Sister Shannon Homer)

Dear Friends and Family,

Sorry I told you I wouldn’t write until Wednesday, but I was wrong. Plans changed and we have a normal P-day again. I’ll still get online one more time next Monday morning so there is still time if you wanted to write me a last email.

It’s been an amazing week with lots of miracles. We have been focusing a lot on less actives this transfer and helping them come back. It’s been beautiful to see their changes and it brings me just as much joy to help them have real conversions as helping investigators does. We have also done a lot of last exchanges with the sisters for this transfer and they continue to amaze me. We have amazing sister missionaries and I love them so much. We had our leadership meeting with the mission president and it was also so spiritual. We are getting really excited for zone training tomorrow and to help our missionaries be even better teachers and really focus back on the basics and following the Spirit.

I was on exchanges with a sister who shared this concern with me, “I don’t understand why I’m expected to feel the opposite of what I actually feel in certain situations.” She talked about trying to feel love for someone who didn’t treat her well and trying to find happiness when they were being rejected everyday. It’s a legit concern and I have noticed that there are a lot of opposites in the Gospel. Christ talks about many of them in Luke 6:

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
27 ¶But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35 But aove ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.

We see many seemingly “contradictory” thoughts like these throughout the scriptures. In order to find yourself, you must lose yourself, etc. Science teaches us that opposites attract. I think that statement is poorly worded and the more accurate way of saying it is in the Book of Mormon, “For there must needs be opposition in all things.”
Why does Christ teach us to do the opposite of what we are naturally inclined to do? I think the answer lies in Mosiah 3:19:

19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord,and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Opposition is essential in overcoming or mastering something. We need to learn to master our bodies and overcome all things and are placed therefore in a state of opposition in this life. Only one more scripture I promise haha. Alma 41:11-15

11 And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.
12 And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?
13 O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.
14 Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
15 For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.

I think the biggest part of the natural man that we have to overcome is pride. The natural man is proud and thus can not progress if he will not admit his weaknesses, lift his fellow man, and be able to learn from others. I read a really good talk about pride this week. It’s sooooooo worth reading. Check it out!
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1989/04/beware-of-pride?lang=eng

Anyway, there isn’t sufficient time to tell you all the amazing things that happened this week. I just thought I’d share some of the spiritual stuff since I haven’t taken the time to lately. Please pray for our investigator Lourdes. She is getting baptized this weekend!! (= (= (=

Love you all!
Hermana Berbert

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