Monday, July 14, 2014

Champion for the Cause: Finding Faith in a Living Christ

We went to the park with this family in our ward tonight after dinner. Dad was running around with the little one and we sat on the bench by mom watching them have fun while sitting next to the baby. As we were talking she brought up Joanne. I told her how our visit went. When she asked it struck me, especially because she was the third or fourth person at church to come up to us and specifically ask about Joanne. My response has been the same, not as excited. We had a good meeting filled with the spirit, but she just pushed it away. It was sad and disappointing.

I will be honest I was a little down when we left, however I have a tug on my sleeve that feels like someone is pulling me onward.  I can hear the voice, "Don’t give up." I read in the scriptures this evening Alma 7:17-“And now my beloved brethren, do you believe these things? Behold, I say unto you, yea, I know that ye believe them; and the way that I know that ye believe them is by the manifestation of the spirit which is in me.” The words of this inspired mother and this verse have stuck with me and this is what I feel like I need to do.

Dear Joanne,

I am so grateful for the time that you gave us the other day. It was a very special day for us to be able to teach you. I know that you were a little nervous, but you gave us a chance and I know it was a good experience. I’m glad you felt the love we have for you, because we really do.

But I am not settled with our meeting. As soon as we left I was asking questions in my mind. I was repeating scenes from our meeting trying to figure out what had just taken place and why things never progressed. I have taught the gospel as a missionary for over two years now, and I know when the spirit is present in a room. I know what it feels like. I know when opportunities for commitment and change arise and when they come and go in those settings. The spirit came but the window of opportunity never came. Why?

I know it was because you were afraid. Joanne, where does fear come from? I know that good things come from God. I know that faith inspires us to come unto Christ. Jesus appeared unto the apostles. He was walking on the water when he said unto them, “Be not afraid. It is I.”

Joanne, we are literally representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the apostles were called by Christ to go and preach repentance and baptism so it is with us. We have been sent unto all that they may hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

In times before Christ, God spoke to prophets. They prophesied of his coming to save the world from sin. He came. He died. He was resurrected. Now he lives. God still speaks to prophets. He is preparing us for the second coming of his Son just like in times before.

Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He kneeled to ask God in prayer which church he was to join. God and Jesus Christ appeared to him. I know that it is true. They told him to establish their church on the earth again. They later sent angels to help him to establish it in the Lords way. God has done that before. They restored power. They restored truth. God was the contractor for this restoration. He made the calls and Joseph did the work he was told to do.

God restored his power and authority to preach repentance and to baptize. God made clear his gospel: faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. He restored his plan of salvation.

We now know that we lived with God before we came to earth and he has prepared a way to live with him after. Joanne Cox, I know that you are a wonderful woman. I know that you have a familiarity of these things. I know you have heard of these things from family and other missionaries. Do you believe these things are true? Yes! I know you do. How do I know? By the manifestation of the Spirit which is in me. 

Joanne, we really love you and your kind gentle heart. Remember this story?

We know you believe in Jesus Christ. We know you love him. Will you exercise the faith not in just the Christ that lived in the scriptures, but the one who lives today?

Pray that Joanne can receive this in the spirit it is written, love. Our message is not to put anyone who believes in God down. We believe that men have the right to worship how or what they may. However, I am a disciple of Christ and know what I have felt. I know what I have experienced. I know what I have read. I know what I have seen. I cannot deny the testimony which is in me. We simply invite those to believe in a living God who speaks today. We don’t ask to do so blindly but to take the message we share and to ask God in prayer if it is true. Then watch him speak.  I would also ask before one makes a decision to move on after hearing our message: Has God lead or spoken to you before? What was it like? What helped you to recognize that before? Can you recognize it now? What does the spirit feel like? Are you familiar with how God speaks to you?

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