Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's Never Over

Last week I had the opportunity to listen to the 182nd Annual LDS General Conference. General Conference occurs twice a year and it is a conference that is broadcasted around the world for the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Members from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and our Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson address the world. As prophets, seers, and revelators they receive guidance and revelation for all of us here on this earth at this time. I took some notes and the following are some quotes I LOVED from this General Conference.

"What God enjoys most about being God is being merciful. God is loving and merciful. Those that stand with Him receive all the blessings He has for us."- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

"(The Prodigal Son) came to himself. (We have) an opportunity to come to ourselves and experience ‘a mighty change’ of heart - to remember who we are and what we most desire.  Let’s have a talk with ourselves in the mirror and see how we are doing with keeping the commandments of God. Remember who you are. Let’s come unto ourselves."- Elder Robert D. Hales

"A single mother was going home to her house full of children who had many needs. She was overwhelmed and thought to herself, ‘I can't do this. I really can't do this anymore.’ She then prays to God, ‘Father, can I just come and live with you?’ A peaceful feeling came upon her as she felt these words, ‘No little one, you can't come to me now, but I can come to you.’- David S. Baxter

"A testimony of the gospel must rely on Faith. NOT on external significance or proof."- Elder Quinton L. Cook

"We are more inspired when we think of others. Communication with our Heavenly Father is not a trivial matter, it is a sacred privilege"- Elder Richard G. Scott

"Wives are not only looking for priesthood authority, but for priesthood power."- Elder David A. Bednar

"Don't judge me because I sin differently than you."- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"Our Creator made us; we are part of His Divine Purpose; (regarding the Big Bang theory) could an explosion in a printing shop create a dictionary?"- Elder Russell M. Nelson

"We all depend on the Savior; none of us can be saved without Him. His atonement is infinite and eternal. It is required that we forgive ALL men, even though at times the one hardest to forgive, or the one that needs it the most, is the one looking back in the mirror. Lay your burdens at the Savior’s feet."- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"Family time is sacred time. Family is the basic organization in time and in eternity."- President Boyd K. Packer

"As you sacrifice for those you love and your children, the Lord will bless you."- Elder Dallin H. Oaks

"Act on the pure love of Christ. Faith in Him will lead to acts of Charity which will bring Hope. We are never alone. Trials are here to help us. President Monson is the prophet to the world."- President Henry B. Eyring

"Whatsoever comes from God overcomes the world."- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"We emphasize our FAITH, not our FEARS. Fear departs when FAITH endures."- Elder Quinton L. Cook

I loved all the General Conference talks. I just wanted to share these quotes that really stuck out to me and really helped me feel like a child of God. To have my testimony and spirit refreshed was such an amazing experience.

This past week was a tough one. I really saw how Satan has a destructive influence on the children of God. He is real and he tries so hard to lead us all down his own path; the path to unhappiness, sorrow, and misery. Juan, our recent convert, is struggling. He had some problems and addictions we did not know about before his baptism, some problems he kept secret, and now that he is baptized he feels bad because he continues to do those things to which he has been addicted. Last week he was avoiding us. He feels bad and all we are trying to do is help him. It was tough because I felt that I might have done something wrong; that I didn't do all I could to help him understand he had problems before his baptism that would carry over after his baptism. But then I realized that I am not the judge. I do not decide if someone is converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ because I don't think I am even 100% converted. Conversion is a lifelong process. It doesn't just happen in one moment. Juan had the desire to change his life and follow the example of Jesus Christ. It is up to us now to help him understand that we love him and that it is NEVER over; that no matter what we do,the Atonement of Jesus Christ stretches over us infinitely. God loves us. He has given us this way, that if we come unto Christ, we can be freed from ALL sin, our sorrows and guilt. 

Elder Vasconselos, a fellow missionary, gave me this scripture because he felt like I needed it. I am so grateful he was thoughtful and felt inspired to share this scripture with me. He knew about Juan and he knew I was worried about him. This scripture changed my week and it really raised my spirits. I am so grateful I have fellow missionaries that are looking out for me and care about me enough to help me out in times of need. This scripture applies to Juan. This scripture is in The Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 18:32.

Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.

That is my duty as a missionary … to bring others unto Christ, and to help them, no matter what their temptations or problems may be. We are all imperfect, we all have problems. We have problems to help us grow and learn from our mistakes. I am going to do everything I can for my brother, Juan. He is struggling but I hope he understands how much I love him and how much our Heavenly Father loves him. I will never cast him out or forsake him, and I will continue to minister unto him. He CAN be healed and he CAN receive eternal salvation. For all of those out there with friends or family that are lost or gone astray, don't EVER give up on them. Always share your testimony and minister unto them so that they can feel the presence and love of our Heavenly Father. Through repentance they can be led back to the fold of God once again. President Boyd K. Packer said in this past General Conference, "Repentance will always be worth the effort."
It is. I know it is. I have gained a testimony of the cleansing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. At times I have messed up, and I have repented. I have been made clean. I have felt the arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ, around me. That is how I know ANYONE that follows the example of Jesus Christ can received a full remission of their sins. To everyone out there … with Jesus Christ it's NEVER over.

Check out to view testimonies and post YOUR own testimony of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and why He is important to you.

EASTER!- To view an amazing video depicting the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ click on the following link.

Les Amo Muchisimo,

Elder Vance

p.s. For those that send mail to my personal address in Davis, please be aware that we moved to apartment #75.

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