“There Is No Greater Joy Than This

 

This week I had the great learning opportunity to translated three talks at church. It was amazing to see how much personal confidence plays a part in how quickly we react to the task at hand. When I doubted myself I translated poorly and when I translated. I don’t know if we have told you about one of our investigators, Bapken, or not. He has an excellent spirit about him. He has great faith, a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He receives revelation during our lessons. He is keen to feel and recognize the spirit. We had the chance to give him a blessing for his tooth, which has been getting worse. Within 30 seconds of the given blessing, his pain went away, as spoken of in the blessing. The blessing said nothing of a healing; rather he was promised that according to his faithfulness the pain would pass quickly. He was amazed as he described that after the blessing he felt as though his lip was numb and that it used to hurt when he spoke. It was a very humbling experience to see that the priesthood authority, which Christ gave to his apostles of old, has been given to us as a protection and power. Bapken cried, in wonder, at the love and power that he was feeling from God. This week we went to Bapken’s home to teach him. He is the most attentive Armenian/person that I know. He is listens very well and shares his feeling when he feels the spirit. We were started to teach a lesson on the Plan of Salvation. I was many mistakes, while trying to speak Armenian, the lesson was going forward, but the spirit was not present, the words that we needed to speak were not coming to us as they normally do. The things that we were teaching made sense, but there was a lack of spiritual feeling/understanding. Once I realized this I stopped in mid-sentence and sat back. I said, “one minute”. Right when I stopped the thought entered my mind, “The whole family should be here”. I told Bapken that God would like his family to be present for the Lesson. I explained that I had felt confused and that the spirit was telling me that now was not the right time. He accepted it readily and invited us back for that evening. As the spirit guided the lesson that night, temples became a part of the subject matter and soon the spirit told Elder Larson to invite this family to set a goal to go to the temple in a year. They accepted. There was excitement in the air as each of us gained a greater understanding of God’s merciful plan, that we can live as families in the life to come. That was the most powerful lesson on the Plan of Salvation that I had ever been present for. The Spirit was so strong, teaching us that the words we were speaking and the words that this family were speaking were true. The Spirit uplifts us, it enlightens and it speaks peace to our souls. The more that we become like Christ the more we recognize and feel his influence. Many people ask me how I found my answer that the Book of Mormon was true. The only thing that I can do is testify that I have felt it as peace, warmth, enlightenment and energy. It took me 6 months of feeling the spirit, while reading the book before I realized that what I was feeling was the spirit. He does bare witness of the Father and the Son. I know that he can teach us the truth of all things. Last night we strolled our wonderful branch president home (He gets around via wheelchair). When I got home, I realized I didn’t have my planner. This morning during part of our study time, Elder Larson and I, went for a “maun gal” (Armenian for ‘stroll’). We didn’t find it. It’s one of those “woooooooow” moments when you wonder how you could let something so important and chalk-full of information slip out of your hands. As we were walking back from our search, we were cutting behind a building so that we could more quickly reach the main road, which leads back to our house. Before we got to the main road we passed a young man, Vardan, who we had talked to a few weeks earlier. Vardan did not hesitate to ask us when we could meet. In that moment a thought came to my mind,” This is probably why you lost your planner”. We answered and said, “Let’s meet today at 6:00, in our building” He said, “That works for me” We traded our numbers. If Vardan is prepared like I feel he is, it will have been worth it to lose my planner. I realized how much the Lord works with people, even after they deny our invitations. The Lord had been preparing him to cross paths with us again. The work is great and there is joy in losing oneself. “There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” I would say that “There is no greater JOY than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” Is there any better feeling than the feeling that comes from seeing your friend, sister, brother or child come off conqueror? When we help our friend up the mountain we too reach higher elevations. Love, Elder Cook

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