Two months ago, while I was going through a bump in the road on the mission, I received a blessing in which I was counseled to study more fully the atonement. As a missionary, most of my free time/study time is dedicated to helping our investigators, so the atonement had kind of been resting on the back burner. This week however, the thought to study the atonement made it's way to the forefront of my mind. While my companion was driving one day this week, I was flipping through this month's Ensign, and came across the article, "the Enabling Power of the Atonement." I read the article out loud to my companion, and the following quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland grabbed my attention. Elder Holland was commenting on the scripture, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you....Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27 Elder Holland said, "[This] may be one of the Savior's commandments that is, even in the hearts of otherwise faithful Latter-day Saints, almost universally disobeyed; and yet I wonder whether our resistance to this invitation could be any more grievous to the Lord's merciful heart. I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident it his care or secure in his hands." I had previously (before the mission) always thought of the atonement as this cleansing power, a purifying agent. I am not perfect, by any means, and I don't mean to share this to boast of myself, but I hadn't ever committed any serious sin. I'm pretty on point about obeying all of the commandments, and so at times it was difficult for me to understand how the atonement directly related to me, Lauren Marie Flores, personally. At the end of the article was a footnote reference to an article from the April 2012 Ensign, an article taken from a speech given by Elder Bednar. I recognized the talk as one Hna Maughan (my dear trainer) had read, loved, and cut out. Thankfully, Hna Arcila and I had chronologically ordered all the Ensigns in our apartment, and I found the Liahona the article was in. This little passage of truth changed my heart forever: "Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints--for good men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully. We may mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves, through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities. The gospel of the Savior is not simply about avoiding bad in our lives; it also is essentially about doing and becoming good. And the Atonement provides help for us to overcome and avoid bad and to do and become good. Help from the Savior is available for the entire journey of mortality--from bad to good to better and to change our very nature." Elder Bednar's words changed my perspective on the atonement in such a profound way. I can't begin to adequately describe the joy that poured into my soul as I read over Elder Bednar's words. It was as if warm rays of sunshine were penetrating my heart, and at the end of reading the article I said a prayer and right then and there put into practice the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. While in church yesterday, I realized, and had an epiphany that this week is the week before Easter! Hna Arcila and I have decided that this week, we want to start having D.E.A.R time (Drop Everything And Read) from 10:15-10:30 and to this week especially focus on reading about the Last week of our savior's life. I am so excited to see what I can learn from my reading, and I know Easter will have an even greater meaning. quickmissionNEWS: 1. Had Sisters training this week: Come July there will be 60 sisters/hermanas in our mission. When I came out there were only 23. translation:President has to open a ton of new areas, and have an army of trainers. 2. Graciela did not get baptized. :( She has decided to wait till she comes home from Honduras. 3. Remember Carlos? The miracle from last week? Well, still haven't had a lesson with him, BUT last night we met with him and he had us explain how missionary discussions go. He had studied with other groups in the past, and said he had had to pay for lessons. We cleared things up for him. :) 4. We have a great new investigator! We're teaching a young 16 year-old, Ricky. His cousin (Walter) is a member of our ward, RM, super great. Funny story, Walter is actually the first member of the church I met here in Texas. He drove me and my companions home to Pasadena when I got here. 5. My piano playing has gotten so great, granted I'm not all-the-way-there, but it's definitely improving. I love spending my Sundays jumping around and playing the piano for different classes and such. 6. We had an amazing lesson with a sweet woman named Zulema right after sister's training. We put into practice in that lesson all that we had learned at sisters training, and at the end Zulema said, "estuvo bien la platica verda?" She didn't want us to leave! Hopefully we can help her to progress! Sorry about the essay, If you read it all you're a trooper.
Te amo Y'all!