At the Kazotti's for lunch this morning! It was soooo good!!!
Wow. I'm at a loss. Yet I'm not. I guess I'm just so happy that I had to take some time to let out a nice sigh.
Anyway, today has been a fantastic day. After spending the morning in Fidjrossè eating lunch with the Kazotti family and seeing a couple converts, I got some excellent clothing shopping done. It's been a great day. Quite exhausting, but great nonetheless.
I LOVE mango season!
Sooooo.... my pants ripped as I was getting into the taxi. Luckily we were going to the tailor and she fixed it right up for me!
Mother's Day was wonderful. We were supposed to watch General Conference for Church, but right aroud 7:30 a.m., the power goes out! I told Elder Wittig to bring his little speakers and USB to listen. We started with that at about 9 and got about 40 minutes into the Saturday Afternoon session before a generator got there. It took a bit to get the generator going, but once we did we were able to watch the whole Saturday session! Due to the instability of the power coming from the generator, the DVD player started to smoke right after we turned it off, so that kinda vetoed watching the Sunday Morning session, but we're planning on watching it this Saturday evening.
Once we got home, there was still no power. So we waited, and waited, and waited in order to go Skype our families, but nothing came. Eventually, we had almost given up when it was 30 minutes before curfew. To add onto that, our phone was almost dead, so it wasn't like I could just go call my family for 30 minutes.
Finally, after much prayer, the power came on at 7:30 p.m., so I immediately went and plugged the phone in and had a wonderful chat with my family. I love the Lord and His tender mercies. Waiting that much longer made it just that much sweeter.
Now, onto my little testimony for today. There has been one subject that has been occupying my mind for a little while now concerning conversion. It has been obvious to me for quite some time that conversion to the Lord is obtained first through a testimony of the true and living gospel of Jesus Christ. However, it has been an interesting experience for me to see the different types of conversion that come based on how these testimonies were received. This reminds me a lot of the parable of the sower as recounted by Elder Oaks in the April 2015 conference as well.
I have seen testimonies be gained in two ways: 1) through reason and/or philosophy, and 2) through "feeling" a feeling.
My attention has been drawn to this because in the past few weeks, we've had several investigators more explain that they FEEL that we we're saying is true. One example is the lady about whom I wrote last week. She and many others have exclaimed how they have FELT that the Book of Mormon is true and how they have FELT that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored Church of Jesus Christ. My heart has equally been filled with joy and this feeling that it is true as I have heard these blessed people explain their feelings and new-found beliefs.
In my time that I have been here in Africa, I have had the chance to meet many members of the Church. Many have had their feet set firmly in the gospel sod. They let their faith guide them through the many, many trials that the Saints face here. They do things intentionally and truly seek after the Lord and His kingdom. They firmly believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on the earth today.
Some members think that the Church is a good thing for them. Some simply like what is said during the meetings. Some just because their frineds are there, and others because they receive help from other members of the Church. These are not necessarily bad things, but they are certainly not the right reasons.
The difference that i have noticed is that those who are firmly planted in the gospel FEEL that it's true and right. They feel like they have a duty to God and to the truth that He has revealed to them. Here are a couple examples of that "feeling" of conversion:
37 ¶Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
41 ¶Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2: 37-38, 41)
24 Now when the Lamanites saw this they did forbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done. (Alma 24:24)
These people were truly converted to the Lord because they FELT that it was right. This feeling is essential if we are hoping to be converted to the Lord. Here's another example of the results of the conversion of those Lamanites:
6 And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them—yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.
7 For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren. (Alma 23:6-7)
Now, those of us who have once or even many times felt this should remember that it is something that we should be continuing to strive after. It might not be as mighty as the first time. It might not (and will not) come in the same way everytime, but as long as we FEEL the presence of the Holy Ghost in our lives, we can know that we are on that straight and narrow path that leads to Everlasting Life. Listen to Alma's counsel:
26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now? (Alma 5:26, emphasis added)
I leave you my testimony that this gospel is true. I have felt time and time again that it is. I know that this feeling comes from the Holy Spirit of God. I know that God will speak to each one of us through that Spirit. And I know that every time we consciously seek and receive His presence, we take one step deeper into our conversion to God and thus one step closer to Him.
I invite all of us to ponder on those special times where we have FELT that something is true. As we do so, I promise you that you will feel this again and that you will vehemently and affirmatively respond to Alma's penetrating question, "Can you feel so now?" In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.