Sunday, April 23, 2017

week 93...Cagayan Philippines

Hey guys. This week was a little lower key than most. It consisted of lots of walking, lots of sweating, a few sun burnt faces, and not a lot of teaching etc. Its nothin a missionary of this church ain't familiar with though. Its summer in the Philippines and its also harvest time for the rice fields so there isn't a person any where that isn't busy as can be. On a side note... I have learned that 6 of the people Elder Costales and I were teaching back when I was in Laoag have now been baptized in my absence! Jesha May Fermin and her niece angel, Jerome and Jeremiah and Joseph Daquiaog, and Remy Dalos! As far as I know, 6 more of the people we were teaching could be baptized by the time i can ask Elder Costales at the next Missionary Leadership Counsel in two weeks!  This news makes me so happy!  Elder Cabanus and I are baptizing Leanne Gallema this weekend! So Though the work was a little slower this week, there is much to be excited about in the coming weeks!

So work was a little slower this week. On the contrary, I have learned profound spiritual principles that I still dont entirely understand. It's all just simply about faith. What is it? What on earth is it? A regular person with a regular understanding would perhaps just simply reply, "belief".  HAHAHA. Its so much more than a man's mere beliefs. There is also an idea that floats around that faith or belief in something ends with the obtaining of a sure knowledge of something, perhaps assuming that that knowledge is obtained through sight. So to put it simply, there is an idea (that I too once had) that believing is seeing, but that believing will end once you see, because faith or believe will them become knowledge... I guess this would be true if the definition of faith was merely belief in something. But that is not what faith is. Faith is so much more.  And I would like to say that knowledge, obtained through sight or by any other means (like study or experience etc), will never terminate faith. Faith does not and never will end with knowledge...

So I gotta give a little credit (actually all of it) to "Lectures on Faith" that was primarily written by Joseph Smith while teaching in the 1835 School of the Prophets in Kirtland Ohio. I highly recommend it to any Latter Saint and I promise that the way you see the gospel of Jesus Christ will never be the same. I'm re-reading it a second time and I still don't fully understand the doctrine being taught because the doctrine and definition of faith, or better said, faith in God, is just to big for a finite mind to comprehend. But as it has done for me, I am sure the Holy Ghost will teach you and help you understand that portion that you are able to presently understand. 

So I dont want to spoil faith in God for anyone cause none of you will learn from me as well as you could from actually reading the lectures. But I just want to talk a little about what I understand from faith's simple definition given by Paul in the eleventh book of Hebrews in the first verse.  'Now faith is the substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)  So... faith is the assurance (or hope, or belief) in the evidence (or existence) in unseen things.  And so... naturally, faith is the principle of action in all intelligent beings... How so? Because we see from the following verses that "through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (verse 3) and that "by faith, Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."  So not just in those verses, but many of the verse in the chapter use action words or verbs, and associating them with faith.  Faith is not only the assurance of the evidence of unseen things and the principle of action in all intelligent beings in spiritual or religious matters, but also in simple every day life... Joseph Smith beautifully explains it in the lectures themselves like this"If men were duly to consider themselves, and turn their thoughts and reflections to the operations of their own minds, they would readily discover that it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action, in them; that without it, both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental.

 Were this class to go back and reflect upon the history of their lives, from the period of their first recollection, and ask themselves, what principle excited them to action, or what gave them energy and activity, in all their lawful avocations, callings and pursuits, what would be the answer? Would it not be that it was the assurance which we had of the existence of things which we had not seen, as yet?—Was it not the hope which you had, in consequence of your belief in the existence of unseen things, which stimulated you to action and exertion, in order to obtain them? Are you not dependent on your faith, or belief, for the acquisition of all knowledge, wisdom and intelligence? Would you exert yourselves to obtain wisdom and intelligence, unless you did believe that you could obtain them? Would you have ever sown if you had not believed that you would reap? Would you have ever planted if you had not believed that you would gather? Would you have ever asked unless you had believed that you would receive? Would you have ever sought unless you had believed that you would have found? Or would you have ever knocked unless you had believed that it would have been opened unto you? In a word, is there any thing that you would have done, either physical or mental, if you had not previously believed? Are not all your exertions, of every kind, dependent on your faith? Or may we not ask, what have you, or what do you possess, which you have not obtained by reason of your faith? Your food, your raiment, your lodgings, are they not all by reason of your faith? Reflect, and ask yourselves, if these things are not so. Turn your thoughts on your own minds, and see if faith is not the moving cause of all action in yourselves; and if the moving cause in you, is it not in all other intelligent beings?"

I would add, what man every managed to build a house before first imagining it up in his mind, and planning and scheming on how he will do it step by step? And as the man initiates action based on the assurance ( or hope) of the yet unseen house, that action produces evidence as the once unseen house comes to life before his eyes. So what does these principles have to do with faith (in its longer definition) in God? Well I will let you guys read the lectures for themselves haha.

Well that is my spiritual rant for the week. I love you all!
-Elder Andersen

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