What a crazy week! Our week had very little missionary work as we spent most of the week cleaning our church, carpets, and the the "landscape" around the church. However, I finally got to watch General Conference a week late! It was weird knowing that it was being broadcast from half away around the world to me from my own home state. I sure missed the "hype" of General Conference in Utah. However, nothing can beat the joy of hearing our prophets speak as a missionary. It's just like Christmas Day.
I loved General Conference. I can't express the feelings and thoughts that came to mind as I watched. I had tears come to my eyes as Elder Holland bore testimony of a mother's love because it made me realized how blessed I truly am to have the mother I do. I felt the sincere love of Elder Nelson and Elder Bednar as they talked of those close to them who have passed on. I felt the pure love of Christ as I listened to His special witnesses. It truly was a day I'll never forget.
As I listened to the sessions of General Conference, the theme of conference that I felt like stood out to me was becoming perfected through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Not just sins, but through our trials, our struggles, our weaknesses. I felt like it broadened the view of the atonement. Of Christ's eternal sacrifice for us. As a missionary, I've never felt so inadequate to teach others. As I sat there and listened to the messages, my view was broadened. Some days, I wake up and look at myself and think, "Elder Roper, you have so much to work on. How can you truly teach this gospel to other people?" I've been focusing on the negative in myself instead of realizing the positive. In conference, I learned that the Lord magnifies those He calls. He calls the weak and the simple to spread His message. What a comfort to me and everyone else.
Most importantly this week, I realized something that I've been searching for. At times, I struggle to forgive myself for my mistakes, and my imperfections. I have always strived to be perfect, and when I fall short, I struggle with myself. I've always thought that there was a "hole" in the atonement. For me, in particular. There is a hole. Well actually, there's seven. The first two, in the hands of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The hands that healed the sick, and raised the dead, and caused the blind to see. The hands that only did good and performed only miracles. Two in the wrist, so the nails wouldn't tear through the skin in His hands as He hung on the cross. Metaphorically to me, it symbolizes the extra support He gives us day in and day out to guide us and direct us through everything. That extra weight we need for our ever so heavy burdens. Two in the feet, where He stood as the only perfect man to ever walk this earth. The two feet where He stood as the light of the world, and continues to do so. Lastly, there's one hole in His side, where He was pierced by Roman soldiers, as the will of the Father was finished. Where His job was completed to overcome the world. Seven holes, one perfect man, so that every single one of us could be made WHOLE. There is no "hole" in the atonement... only the process of making us WHOLE.
I needed this message this week as I watched General Conference. The messages are repeated over and over, but we need reminders that the gospel is truly so simple.What a blessing, and what a miracle it is to have living prophets who guide and direct us every single day. What a comfort. I love this gospel. I'm so grateful that I'm a missionary in these latter days. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Only through this gospel can we truly experience the perfect happiness we all seek. I know Christ lives. He is the Son of God. He is the head of this church. He knows us all personally and hears our prayers. I testify of it with every single part of my soul. I love my Savior. I will never be able to give back enough for what I've been given.
Thanks everyone for everything. The love, the support, the emails... everything. It truly means the world to me. I'm so grateful and words can't express my love for you all. Can't wait to write next. Love you all talk to ya'll soon!