"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, March 24, 2014

Godly sorrow and divine potential

Hey everyone!  Well, this has been another great week!  I don’t really know how to explain my week, but I hope that in sharing a couple of experiences I can show how my testimony of two important principles has been so strengthened this week.  As I have learned this week, and I hope that you see this as well, these two principles are directly linked.

First, our need for trials.  This week has been full of trials.  I have learned many things over the past weeks, but it seems like I have had some growing pains in applying these things.  There were three days this week with so many empty slots open in our day.  We have no shortage of investigators to teach out here, but NO ONE was available.  Well, this was something that I haven’t really experienced since the first month of my mission, so immediately I just started feeling inadequate as we had called and called and called for planning Wednesday night, but no one was picking up.  I let Satan into my mind and became very discouraged.

The next morning was not much better.  I was slightly lethargic, and I found it hard to find the motivation to study, something that I rarely struggle with.  The whole morning was just a struggle, from Personal Study all the way through Training.  I knew that I needed to get out of this funk, but I just couldn’t do it.  I tried thinking positively, but I had left my mind open too far earlier and I just kept thinking that I was more and more inadequate.  What happened next was a miracle.  Without going into too much detail, my companion and I were able to kneel down and pray together.  It was amazing what I learned about this experience.  First, like I wrote with my studies from last week, guilt is not meant to hold us back or push us down.  Rather, Godly sorrow is meant to push us upwards towards true repentance.  Second, I didn’t feel the weight lifted from my shoulders until after I had acted.  By praying for the Lord’s help to lift my burdens and then taking a step of faith to go out and teach with the authority that has been bestowed upon me, I felt the immediate affects of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice.  As soon as I took one step outside of the door, I felt the weight lifted from my shoulders and I knew that everything would be okay.  With this experience, I was reminded of John the Baptist when Jesus came unto him to be baptized.  John himself knew that he would be the one to baptize Jesus, but he still resisted at first because he did not feel worthy to do it.  However, after Jesus reminded him that John held the authority to do it, he resisted no more and accomplished all righteousness.
As I looked back on this experience, I realized that I had learned so much.  My studies from the past two mornings from President Uchtdorf’s talk entitled “You Can Do It Now!” from this past General Conference aided in my learning experiences.  I have learned how possible it is to choose to be happy, even when surrounded by a negative environment.  I have learned how much we all need the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives and that if we try to trust in our own strengths instead of seeking to fulfill the will of the Lord, our eternal progression will be halted.  Finally, after many other lessons that I have not listed, I have learned that we need trials in order to grow and progress.

The second principle is our divine potential as children of God.  This is something that I have found to be very true during my mission, an eternal truth.  We are all children of our Heavenly Father.  He loves us very much.  So much that His whole goal and purpose is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man,” which He later described as the greatest of all His gifts.  As I have come to see throughout my entire mission, this goal is very real.  That is our whole purpose in life.  And in order to obtain it, certain things are required of us.  These things, which we call the gospel of Jesus Christ, are faith, repentance, baptism by immersion by one holding the authority of God, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  God has promised us that if we do these things—walking resolutely along the strait and narrow path— that we will have eternal life.

Studying President Uchtdorf’s talk this morning filled me with the Spirit.  It was amazing what I found in his words.  It seemed as if they were pronounced out of the Lord’s mouth (see D&C 1:38) directly to me.  The Lord truly is amazing, and He truly does work through His called servants today.  My heart was deeply touched as he explained (using 2 Corinthians 7:10) the difference between Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow.  I realized that the sorrow that was weighing me down this week was greatly influenced by worldly sorrow.  He then went on to explain how we need to have our eyes set on our own eternal goals, and by association, God’s will.  He explained that even those who have their sights on their own personal and family eternal goals will stumble and fall with the rest of us, “but they will not be defeated.  They trust and rely upon the promises of God.”

Later, he explained that if we “rise up and follow in the footsteps of our Redeemer and Savior, and one day [we] will look back and be filled with eternal gratitude that [we] chose to trust the Atonement and its power to lift [us] up and give [us] strength” (emphasis added). These words deeply impressed me, and I was prompted to further ponder upon his use of the word “eternal” in these cases.  What I found was that these referred to greater implications than we mortals can imagine.  It is amazing God’s plan for us.  As President Uchtdorf said, “[God] has given us the map,” which is the words of the prophets, ancient and modern.

One final thing that really made an impression on me and really pushed me to write this today came from the last paragraph of his talk.  He said, “You are stronger than you realize.  You are more capable than you can imagine.”  This testified again to me of our divine potential.  God promised us in D&C 84:33-38 that if we receive Him, we will receive ALL that He has, something that, as President Uchtdorf explained, we cannot even imagine.  We have the potential—a divine potential—that we cannot comprehend as mortals.  Yes, we mortals fall, it’s what we do.  But “our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble, but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and move forward.”

Our trials in this life, no matter how great or small, have a purpose—a great purpose in the eyes of God.  These trials teach us many specific things, but in general, they teach us to rise up, time and time again, so that one day, we can learn to never fall again.  As the apostle Paul described, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of.”  That is our divine potential.  Rather, that is merely a miniscule iota of our divine potential—a potential which cannot be described in finite, mortal language.

As I have said, this week, even amongst the trials, has been another amazing week.  The mission is amazing, and it is truly ordained by God.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by Jesus Christ himself through mortal men that have been called, set apart, and are continually inspired by God.  There is no other way to put it.  This is the truth on the earth today, and I am so grateful for this opportunity that our Heavenly Father has given me to share this glad message.  He also gives me everyday a chance to draw closer to Him and draw closer to my own divine potential through the many trials that we all encounter every day.

I love you all and I hope you have a great week!

Avec amour,
Elder Jenkins

Folly's baptism Saturday, 3.22.14
Precious Saturday night
Candid picture of me getting ready last week

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