Hello Family and Friends,
We got to go to the temple this week. It was the fourth time I have been able to go on the mission. I have been rather privileged with how many times I have gone there. Once again it was a great experience. I felt the spirit strong and I had some questions answered. It was kind of funny because there are quite a few Americans working in the temple and their Portuguese is rusty, it reminded me of when I was in my first months on the mission. It was a major challenge picking up the language. The key was Ether 12:27, humble yourself and have faith. After I was able to apply that scripture in my life the divine help just came flowing in. I still have much to learn but I think the greater lesson was learned, trust in God.
When I left the temple doors I had a great feeling of peace come over me. I went to talk with Elder Machado, and I said, "You know sometimes this world doesn't seem so bad, this is one of those times." I said this because everyday we see things that are pretty horrible.
Last night while returning to our home we saw the aftermath of a murder or execution in my opinion. It did not really phase me until the family showed up at the scene. I will never forget that Mother weeping over her deceased son. It makes you think and even question your faith. But if there is something I have I learned on my time on my mission it is to first doubt your doubts. Quickly I put it all into perspective that yes there exists so much bad in this world, but if there was not any bad then the whole plan of God would be destroyed! We have been granted with free agency from a loving God that knows without it we would never progress in this life or in the life to come, and in short we would fall short of exaltation. If we did not have the choice of bad we would never learn what is good. How can you know what is sweet if you have never tried bitter? And yes many times in this life we choose the former and the consequences hurt, but I like the line from a favorite movie of mine states, "And why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up." Learn through experience, that is the purpose of this mortal life. That is why we were so happy in the pre-mortal world when God announced that the plan of salvation would be put into effect, because we would gain a body, be tested, and in the end we would be more like God. Sometimes we forget that there was a war in heaven because of free agency or the right to make choices for ourselves. We all accepted God's even if it meant that we would live for but a few seconds or many years, or that would have many mortal pains and disappointments.
While viewing this young man's body lifeless on the ground I became very grateful for the knowledge I have that death is not the end and the in fact it is one step forward in God's plan. Without death there would not be resurrection! It another great gift of God and one of the reasons for which Christ was sent to this Earth, to overcome the obstacle of death. With our mortal eyes all we see is the bad. With our spiritual eyes we would see that this young man is in place a lot closer God, a place of learning and second chances. Although his earthly decisions may have caused his premature departing, he is now experiencing first hand the plan of happiness. He can still make right his mistakes and apply the atonement of Christ and still have the opportunity to live with God for all eternity.
The thing that makes me sad is that there are many people that don't know or deny these facts that God exists, that he loves us, and that he has made a perfect plan for us. This life would be so horrible if you did not believe in him. I promise that peace can be found in the Gospel of Christ or the truth. I have seen this peace enter the lives of those that we have taught. I felt this peace when I came out of the temple Wednesday. It was quiet, I could hear the wind blowing the trees, birds singing. I saw people dressed finely, beautiful gardens, and the powerful sun. I had the comforting feeling that God is there, and that he is aware. He is all powerful, and all wise. He knows better than us what has happened, what is happening, and will have to happen to fulfill his wise purposes. I know that I have to experience both sides of life, the bitter and sweet in order to grow. The mission has really given me a taste of the two and I know I am a better person because of it. I am grateful for the blessings and even more for the trials.
We gave a pamphlet to this grieving family. I pray that it helps them.
I Love you ALL,