A selfie for mom!

A selfie for mom!

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Covenants We Make

I´m here in my new area. Palmares Ward in the Casa Grande Stake! My companion is Elder Pinheiro from Fortaleza, Ceara, Brasil! (Same city as Elder Almeida). Elder Pinheiro is 21 years old, and his family joined the Church when he was 6. He´s currently got 1 year and 3 months in the mission. He´s awesome. You´ll meet him this Sunday. We share our house with Elder Greenwood (19 years old, from Winslow, AZ) and Elder Florentino (18 years old, from Pernambuco, Brasil (same state as Elder Paiva)). Our house is inside of a walled-in community called Residencial Palmares. It´s a lot quieter than the outside world and has nice gardens. And we´ve got some investigators and recent converts within the community, which is awesome. Our area is REALLY small. You can see it using the map on lds.org. As part of the new project in our mission, I´m also filling out the "My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together" pamphlete. I finished the part about me and my parents, but I´m stuck. Can you send me the full name and birthdate (and place) of ALL of my aunts and uncles, on both sides? Please? :) And also, it would be awesome if I could have some information about the lives of both pairs of grandparents. Just the basics (baptisms, missions, jobs, marriages, church service, callings, etc.) I´m super glad to hear that Dad is adjusting well. I´ve already decided that when my mission is over, I´m going to sleep for 24 hours straight. It´s so tiring at times! Yesterday in sacrament meeting, two women recieved the gift of the Holy Ghost and four men recieved the Melchezedek Priesthood. All of these are members who were recently baptized. So I´ve been thinking a lot about covenants. It´s so important that we make and keep these sacred covenants. They protect us from evil and from physical harm. They give us hope and increase our faith. They give us gifts of knowledge and spiritual gifts. The covenants and ordinances of the gospel make the difference between Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and ordinary people. We literally have a higher power at our backs. We can borrow the power of God, be it through the Holy Ghost or the Holy Priesthood, according to our righteousness, faith, and the will of the Lord. And if we keep these sacred covenants, we can also keep this power of God and enter His presence clothed in Celestial glory. The thing about sacred covenants, is that we must hold each one of them sacred, in reverence, and in remembrance. This includes the sacrament. I was astounded to see, yesterday, that the congregation was silent during the confirmations, but during the sacrament, they were conversing, walking in and out of the chapel, doing everything except remembering Christ. Now, of course, not everyone was doing this, but there was a substantial amount. Sacrament meeting is the most important meeting of the Church. Because during this sacred time, we are not only renewing the covenant we made at baptism, but also the covenants we made at confirmation, when we received the priesthood, and in the temple. The 15 to 20 minutes (if that) during which the sacrament is served, are the most precious, and sacred minutes of the week. We can be clean of our sins and mistakes. We can feel free of guilt and sadness. We can be reassured of our Father in Heaven´s love for us. We can remember the sealing covenant we made as families. We remember the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and how His love was so great, and His perspective so broad that He could make that "great and last sacrifice" (Alma 34:10) for us, that we might be spotless from the stains of the world, and enter, with Him, into a better world. Ether 12:4, which I studied today says: "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." I have heard many people say that they are without hope, or that this world is without hope. But that is not true. Hope, true hope, comes from faith in Jesus Christ. As we make covenants with Him, we will grow in faith and hope. Christ "prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen... Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith... in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled." (Ether 12:8-9, 11) I know that we are covenant people, and that if we keep sacred all of our covenants, we will receive the heavenly Gift. The Gift of hope, and of salvation. I know that it is only by way of this Gift, who is Christ, that we can be saved. This is the great message that I am here to declare to the world, fulfilling prophecies made millenia ago. I am proud to be a disciple of Christ, and more pleased still to be a missionary of His Church. I know that the Church that I represent is the same which Christ established in the Meridian of Time, and that I have made covenants to remember and represent Him. I am so glad to be here. I know that Christ lives and that because of Him, we will live too. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen. I love you all! Have a great week! Elder Richins

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