"You will be an official representative of the Church. . . . Your purpose will be to invite others to come unto Christ . . . Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among His children. We place our confidence in you." Thomas S. Monson

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Lord works from the inside out . . .

Another week gone, and a whole bunch of new experiences as always!  In all honesty, I don't have terribly much to share from this past week.  

Last night, we had a pretty good mangez-vous.  The first course was a salad with cabbage, tomatoes, onions, hard-boiled eggs, some form of meat (I've learned to just not ask if I don't know) and many other delicious things!  I downed it so fast that I was given a second helping!  The second course was just rice, sauce rouge (which is pretty dang spicy, Elder Buxton and I were both sweating after that plate), and chicken, all very delicious.  The third course was fried potato slices (kinda like french fries) with a sauce of tomatoes, onions, canned peas, and a type of not-so-spicy pima.  All of that topped off with Orange Fanta.  It was delicious!

I will say that I've done quite a bit of studying in the scriptures and words of the modern-day prophets, and it has been very spiritually uplifting.  In everything I've read and studied, I've gotten some sort of message, whether a little obliquely or completely outright, of the two things that are most important to me personally.  First is the sacrifices required and the blessings promised with obedience.  Many times, I have seen a witness that while it is impossible for us now to be perfect, it is possible to be perfectly obedient.  This is something that has strengthened me so much.  Several times I've had peers and collegues tell me that it is impossible, yet, all of my mentors and people that I look up to have stressed it as the most important principle to exercise as a missionary.  While there are many things that I cannot control, I can be perfectly obedient in the things that I can control.  Really, I've learned that the mission teaches you things that are essential for life that would be very hard to learn otherwise, and that has made it worth it in itself.

The second principle that I have found in my studies is the power of Christ's atoning sacrifice.  This is something that is essential for life here on earth and for eternal salvation in the life after this.  Christ's Atonement provides us a way to find a remission of our sins even on the earth and a way to lighten our burdens that seem to be weighing us down.  There is a quote that I would like to share from my personal study this morning that really touched me.

"The Lord works from the inside out.  The world works from the outside in.  The world would take people out of the slums.  Christ takes the slums out of the people, and then they take themselves out of the slums.  The world would mold man by changing his environment.  Christ changes men, who then change their environment.  The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature."

President Ezra Taft Benson, who died in 1994, shared this in 1985.  It is amazing for me to see how that applies so specifically for me even all these years later.  This statement is true, there's is no way to doubt it or disprove it.  It is true, and I am a witness to that.  I have seen this change come within myself even though I have been powerless to change my environment.  I still have so much to learn, but it's been amazing what can happen when we truly apply the principles of Christ's redeeming and loving sacrifice.  It is through His example that we can reach our highest potential, something that I have seen in both Christophe and Gabriel the past couple of weeks.  As they have been introduced to the true doctrine of Christ, they have both realized who they can become and how big of an impact they can make in people's lives, both here on this earth and eternally.  

I am so grateful for this opportunity that our Heavenly Father has given me to come and serve him full time for two years.  My time here is truly sacred as it has been set apart by God himself.  The more I have served with all my might, the more I have seen how this work is driven directly by a divine influence, which is why it is so important for missionaries to be exactly obedient.  It is only through obedience to God's laws that we can truly reach our full potential, something that I have really come to know here with my time in the mission.

I love and miss you all so much!  Until next week!

Avec amour,
Elder Jenkins

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