October 17, 2011 – Charentsavan, Week 6
The Miracle of Service
This week was amazing. I feel that I am making some pivotal changes in my life right now. Life’s greatest changes are made as a result of or in the preparation for service. I feel that I am really fulfilling my purpose, not just as a missionary, but as Joshua M Cook. This is key in my service. I can only help others make changes in there lives if I am doing so myself. Serving in any capacity is all about losing yourself. But in the process of being a profitable friend, or servant we become something great. For example, a marine will train and push himself to his limits. As a result of his training he is able to become a warrior and do for others what they could not do for themselves. We all must strive to serve. As we serve others we begin to realize what we can change to be of greater benefit to those around us.
My sister just wrote about how grateful she is for the blessing of parenthood. She has seen the result of giving up herself, and her desires, to raise a child. My guess is, that she has learned things and “become” someone else in the process, someone better. I have seen it. She has gained attributes of light and love. Attributes that she wouldn’t have gained had she not decided to serve her children.
Service and giving are the most central and the most powerful principles in the universe. It was out of love that God created us, created the earth, sent Jesus Christ, provided a path of purity and light. He only gives us trials because he knows that the lessons we can learn are more precious than gold. He gave us our families as a chance to serve one another and give of ourselves.
If we aren’t serving others on a regular basis we will not have the happiness that we long for. We have a spirit within each of us. That spirit is make of light and truth. True happiness and pure joy come when we add to that light. I can testify that is true. I have seen it and felt it.
I know that just as Christ did, we must forget ourselves and serve others, and in that service we will become a “new creature”(Mosiah 27:26). We will experience the greatest love, joy and light while we are serving others.
I don’t really like talking about myself, but I figure anyone who wants to read this is thinking they will be reading an update. So I’ll tell you about the miracles that happened.
I am getting rid of weaknesses and relying on the Spirit for power and strength. I am learning Armenian faster then ever. I speak less. I rarely anger. I see my weaknesses more clearly. As a result of all of this I can make a goal and commit myself to God that I will reach that goal. It is amazing the power that God has given me to resist that which is merely “good” in order to choose that which is “best”. The easiest example is my eating goals, every time I am about to reach for a piece of candy, something unhealthy I remember that I committed to God that I wouldn’t do it. It is in that moment that I feel my bad desires disappear. It is amazing to see how God will accomplish great things by small and simple acts.
So it is with ourselves, we must see our goal, and make the small changes that will lead us to “be” in every detail that which we want to be.
I invite you to “be” like Christ. You can, in fact Christ has invited us to and given us the means to accomplish it. The process of becoming is usually painful. This is when we know that we are
This week we found five of God’s children. The fact that the Lord lead us to five of God’s children is one blessing, but the fact that they were all men is another thing. Armenia is struggling. There are few men here who are willing to do what God has asked them to do and follow Christ’s example, this branch has men, but more are needed. This is a huge blessing in and of itself. These men have the potential to hold the Priesthood of God, by which John the Baptist had right to baptize Christ and by which Christ Created the Earth under the direction of his Father (Heb 1:1-3)
Zhiro, he is a tall man. He works, has some trouble reading, but his desires to be cleaned from the dark influence of sin is very powerful. He saw my companion and I talking to some people on the street, so he waited for us. We were about to walk into an apartment building when he came jogging behind us, telling us to stop. HE explained that he say us and felt strongly that he should talk to us.
Luiza and her grandson got baptized on Thursday. They have entered into a Covenant with God and in return received the Gift of the Holy Ghost
Masis is a “ring leader” of one of the groups of teenagers here. The first few encounters we had with him he was very inmature and in some ways rude, but after seeing that we still had a respect for him he began to listen to what we were saying. One day he gave us his phone number. We called and one the young men in his group meet us at a certain place so that we could be led to their hide-out. It was a broken down school. We met. They felt the spirit as we testified to them what God has waiting for them. Masis then accepted to follow Christ’s example and be baptized if he learned for himself that what we were saying was true. He accepted to be baptized.
<<Hi-su-nak-an>> means Protestant in Armenian. We were talking to a young man named “Hesu”(Joshua in Armenian). Then two older men, from the Protestant Church in Armenia, came us to and asked us “do you trust in your salvation”. I replied, “well if I understood you correctly, I do, but I still have a lot to do in order to be saved.” The man had a spirit of confrontation at first until he realized that we had some similar doctrine. They began to share with us their beliefs and then I spoke clearly of how I had recieved answers to my prayers and knew that Jesus is the Deliverer who was sent by his Father. Then was a completely different tone to our conversation. The miracle occured when I felt a great love for these men, who were sharing with me what they knew about Christ. I felt the Holy Spirit fill my heart with a deep appreciation. I knew in that moment that God loved these men.
We had a group of 18 year old young men that accepted the invitation to watch a video about Christ’s life. Masis (the ring leader again), Sero, Artash and Nver were their names. Before the movie I bore my testimony to them about how this can be the greatest thing they have ever come in contact with.Then there was something that visibly settled upon them. They went from unnecessary loudness to a complete silence. The spirit touched them. The spirit is our friend and his influence is love, clarity, peace and pure knowledge. They were humbled by what Christ had done for them and they accepted to learn more about why he did all that he did.
This is unmistakably the work of God. I could not do a fraction of what is being accomplished. I know that there is another force much more influential than mine, working along side us. I thank you for your prayers. They are keeping us safe and giving us strength. I pray that you have the eyes to see the miracles in your lives, I pray also that your awareness expands so that you can more quickly recognize opportunities to serve others around. Add to the light within you.
That is this week’s story.