Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Teaching In Jacaltenango And I Love To Testify

Tortillas for the week: 15

Where to begin; this week has been a storm, literally and figuratively, it has rained for the past 9 days or more. And I have experienced a spiritual storm. I have so many things to fix in my life since being called to serve as branch president. This calling has opened my eyes as to what I need to do better; it is one painful soul searching storm. I find assurance in the words shared by Elder Robert D. Hales, “… Our faith in Him and obedience to His commandments will bring ‘a perfect brightness of hope’ [2 Nephi 31:20] and dispel the darkness and gloom of despair in these troubled times. The One who had power to calm the elements of earth has power to calm our souls, to give us refuge from the storm” I know I need to change and turn my heart and will more to God in complete obedience. I will walk the path of repentance every day to become more like Christ. It is my prayer that as I serve I will think like Him, I will act like Him, I will love like Him, I will serve like Him, and I will talk like Him. It is worth all of that painful soul searching to know that only true God and Jesus Christ who was sent to suffer for our sin, our heartaches and to be our advocate to plead our cause that we may receive eternal life. With that being said I had amazing learning experiences this week. The first thing that happened was when I was preparing a talk on  the resurrection of Jesus Christ (I used this talk as one of my resources “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ” given by Elder D. Todd Christofferson wow it has become one of my all-time favorite talks, it is so powerful anyway as I read I testify that those 3 days changed the history of the world, changed the future of the world, the outcome of the world, it changed everything. Elder Christofferson teaches a testimony of Christ is the most important testimony we can receive. He also teaches “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. In due course, all will see and all will know; indeed, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess” that Jesus is the Christ. Until then, I believe the many witnesses of the Savior’s Resurrection whose experiences and testimonies are found in the New Testament—Peter and his companions of the Twelve and dear, pure Mary of Magdala, among others. I believe the testimonies found in the Book of Mormon—of Nephi the Apostle with the unnamed multitude in the land Bountiful, among others. And I believe the testimony of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon who, after many other testimonies, proclaimed the great witness of this last dispensation “that he lives! For we saw him.” Under the glance of His all-seeing eye, I stand myself as a witness that Jesus of Nazareth is the resurrected Redeemer, and I testify of all that follows from the fact of His Resurrection. May you receive the conviction and comfort of that same witness.” I to testify Jesus Christ is our Savior, he did die and he did rise again and if we just believe we will be strengthened beyond we can imagine.
The New Team
Teaching In Jacaltenango
On Wednesday we ate lunch with some members and as we were eating one of the members said, “This school in Jacaltenango wants a leader from our church to go up and speak to them about the church.” I was like what? She said yeah let’s get one of the students from the school to come down to tell you about it. So the student came and said we would like you to come and speak to us about the church. All I could think was wow; I have a chance to bear witness to 25 or more students. Of course I was going to accept. As I told the student I would do it my mind went blank as to what I should share with them. I seriously didn’t have a clue. The first thought that came was I needed to fast to be guided as to what I should teach these students. I testify that if we fast with a humble heart we will receive the answer we are seeking. I was listening to this talk by Elder Holland, “The only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent”; and I knew in that moment this is my topic but how can I help them know this only true God?  As I thought about that it became clear I needed to teach about the priesthood. A couple of days later I was reading in Mormon chapter 9 about the people who deny revelation and I knew what I needed to share. I needed to teach about the priesthood and that we believe in modern day revelation. My mind was filled with so many thoughts. Saturday morning rolls around and I wake up and I just want to puke because of how nervous I am. We leave to go to Jacaltenango and I am so nervous so I start singing hymns, one hymn brought me peace, “I Believe In Christ.” I ask all of you to read it, there is so much power and peace in the words. As I would sing another hymn I would get nervous again so I went back to humming “I Believe In Christ” and I was filled with peace. We arrive and we walk in and it is just like my high school class room. My comp, Elder Herrera, speaks first. His message was so good. Then it is my turn and I hand out 32 Books of Mormon. It was crazy because I begin to speak I never looked at my notes, not one time. I talked about the priesthood and it went good but then something happened as I started to talk about revelation it turned into personal revelation and I talked about the Book of Mormon and prayer and how they can know for themselves that the Book of Mormon is the word of God by reading and praying. We then read Moroni 10:3-5 and I had them write down Moroni’s message and promise. I ask what is the process Moroni outlines for us to follow to know the truth? First he asks us to read and ponder it in your hearts. Second he asks us to ask God, to ask in the name of Christ, to ask if these things are not true, to ask with a sincere heart, to ask with real intent, to  ask having faith in Jesus Christ but we when we ask we have to have a true desire to know for ourselves. As we were talking I had them turn them to the introduction of the Book of Mormon and read its purpose. We read it and then I said so your pray is going to be this, Is It True because my salvation is on the line, what your salvation is on the line by one book, what is this? Yes It Is True because this is life eternal, to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. So let’s see what happens if this book isn’t true, this is where I had the students. It was super cool and truly powerful as we were reading and discussing the Book of Mormon.  I received another witness how powerful the Book of Mormon truly is and how bad we need to immerse ourselves in the Book of Mormon to become more fully converted. Then I continued to say if this book is false, number one this church is not true and we are crazy people teaching this doctrine which means Joseph Smith was beyond crazy and that Jesus is not the Christ. All their heads snapped up and they looked right at me and I said if this book isn’t true Jesus isn’t the Christ how can it be, well let’s look at the world today just with the Bible. Then I made some points about how they world doesn’t truly believe that Jesus is the Christ. Then I asked what if this book is true and it is, then the church is true, then we aren’t crazy and we are preaching the truth, and the most important thing is JESUS IS THE CHRIST. Then I bore witness and wow, was it amazing. I felt just how powerful it is to use scriptures and to testify. As I bore witness I saw a change in all 34 people in the classroom, I know they all felt the spirit testify to them this is the truth.
Guatemala Independence Day Parade
Missionaries and Royalty
It was so fun to teach this class. I truly have a love for teaching especially in a classroom and especially when it is about the gospel. The students were so good, they were fun, they asked good questions, and listened with intent. It was such a tender mercy to teach this class. I just love teaching but the thing I love the most is being able to testify, I just love that, it is the greatest feeling in the world. My testimony has changed through the many experiences I have had on my mission. I am reminded of an experience Elder Herrera shared in his talk yesterday, he said, “When I was a kid and I listened to my stake president and bishop testify I was like wow I want a testimony like them. When the missionaries would come over and share a message and then testify I was like wow I want a testimony like them.” Then he said something very neat, he said, “I do now have that testimony, it took a while to get because I had to work for it, and I still work every day to strengthen it because I want it to be stronger.”  As he said those words I thought back to my childhood and younger years and how I loved listening to the general authorities testify especially President Hinckley, and how I wanted that testimony and when we would read the Book of Mormon as a family and read the testimonies of those people I was like wow I want a testimony like that well now I can say, it is coming and every day I am working on it, and I love it. I love my testimony and if at times any of you doubt, lean on my testimony, use it because Elder John Dennison Mcilmoil knows that Jesus Christ is the living Son of the living God. I know that Jesus is the Christ and I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and is true and I know Joseph Smith was truly called of God.
What I love about Mom and Dad is that we would have a family testimony meeting every fast Sunday, as I think about I realized my testimonies were so funny, things have changed.

con amor, ducks forever,
Elder Mcilmoil
September 15, 2014

A testimony can change the eternities.

Scripture of the week: John 17:3 

“I testify that He had power over death because He was divine” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“Jesus of Nazareth is the resurrected Redeemer, and I testify of all that follows from the fact of His Resurrection.” Elder D. Todd Christofferson 

“The Savior makes all things right.” Elder D. Todd Christofferson

“Through the Holy Spirit of Truth, may we all know “the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He has] sent.” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“Walk where he walked” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

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