Monday, May 4, 2015

Sabbath and Family History blessings

Dear Family,

My faith has increased this week as I've pondered and striven to teach the doctrine of keeping the Sabbath Day holy.  As I thought deeply about why I love the Sabbath, and what blessings have come into my life from striving to hallow it, I rediscovered a strong part of my testimony.  I have strengthened faith that the Lord will help to prepare people for baptism and confirmation as they keep the Sabbath Day holy.  I feel my faith burning a little more brightly inside when I think of the Sabbath Day.  I now have a strong desire to teach all of my investigators and recent converts all about it!
Did you know that the first presidency of the Church is focusing heavily on teaching the importance of the Sabbath day around the world?  Elder Russell M. Nelson said, "Learning to hallow the Sabbath Day will increase faith across the world."  "I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father.  With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don’ts. When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, 'What sign do I want to give to God?' That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear."  "True believers keep the Sabbath Day holy."
I wish everyone would just read understand this part of Preach My Gospel:
Our Sabbath-day behavior is a reflection of our commitment to honor and worship God. By keeping the Sabbath day holy, we show God our willingness to keep our covenants. Each Sabbath day we go to the Lord’s house to worship Him. While there we partake of the sacrament to remember Jesus Christ and His Atonement. We renew our covenants and show that we are willing to repent of our sins and mistakes.
On this day, we enjoy a rest from our labors. As we attend Church services and worship together, we strengthen each other. We are renewed by our association with friends and family. Our faith is strengthened as we study the scriptures and learn more about the restored gospel.
When a community or nation grows careless in its Sabbath activities, its religious life decays and all aspects of life are negatively affected. The blessings associated with keeping the Sabbath day holy are lost. We should refrain from shopping on the Sabbath and participating in other commercial and sporting activities that now commonly desecrate the Sabbath.
Latter-day Saints should set this holy day apart from activities of the world by entering into a spirit of worship, thanksgiving, service, and family-centered activities appropriate to the Sabbath. As Church members endeavor to make their Sabbath activities compatible with the intent and Spirit of the Lord, their lives will be filled with joy and peace.

Recently, I have invited church members to become involved in missionary work by inviting them to first begin on their own family history work, then asking if they know anyone else who has family records or might be interested in learning about family history or the temple.  So far, we haven't had any solid referrals, but I believe that as church members, especially our recent converts, point themselves toward the temple and catch the spirit of Elijah they will also feel a desire to share the joy they feel with others.  I certainly do!  I can't wait to get back into family history work after I conclude my mission service here!

This week has been great!  I feel more closely connected to the vision of the mission leadership than at any other point, because we had Assistant exchanges on Tuesday, personal interviews with President Mains on Wednesday, and Mission Leadership Council on Thursday!  It was great!  This week's MLC in Singapore was, once again, an amazing spiritual learning experience for me.  This was Elder Hanks' first MLC, and he was basically jumping up and down for excitement after the meeting was over!  (I felt the same thing, but inside. :)

Elder Hanks and I will be conducting a Zone Council tomorrow.  Our goal is to help the missionaries of our zone catch the vision of the Singapore Mission Plan, and gain an increased sense of urgency to find 2 new investigators per week, baptize one investigator per month, and teach the doctrine of the Sabbath Day clearly.  Pray that all goes well for us and our zone members! (Or, as we say here, "Help us pray." It's a direct grammatical translation from Malaysian Chinese.)
Thanks for all you do and who you are, and all my love!


Picking Sour Mangos.  Yum!

Elder Hanks with 100Plus, my favorite Asian drink, at the Singapore Stake Center.

Elder Hanks has really good balance! 

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