Another week has just rolled on by and it was another great one. The weather is about perfect over here. It is warming up, spring is in full bloom, and the work is blooming within our area as well.
This week we were able to commit one of our investigators to a baptismal date. He's a car salesman for Chevy, and has been progressing so well. He's been to church three weeks in a row, and we finally decided he was prepared to received the commitment. We're praying that he'll stay true to his desires. He's been progressing well. Pray with us that he continues to move forward in faith.
Yesterday in church, we had just finished sacrament meeting and went to our second hour class with a few members. We had a recent convert, my companion, and one other member. To start the class, our bishop pulled out three little bundles. He opened one bundle and revealed a book that looked like a bible. Leather, gold rimmed pages, very beautiful book. He asked if we knew what it was. We all suggested it was a bible. He then took off the wrapper, and opened the book, to which there was nothing inside. It's literally a bible of blank pages.
He went on to explain that these "journals" were very very difficult to find, and very expensive to buy in Korea. He said he was giving them to specific people. Missionaries leaving, and other members who he thought could use them to great value. He first looked at the recent convert, baptized only three months ago, and handed him a book, and said, ”I want you to keep this, and record your life, just as if it were your own personal scripture."
Happy for this young man to start recording his own history, I felt so grateful. But then, the bishop moved to my companion, and handed him his own journal as well. He said the same thing nearly as the first. "Use this as if it were your own personal scripture." I was so happy for my companion too. So happy for both of them, that they got this book that's super hard to find. Not thinking about myself at all, in pure gratitude just looking at the smile on their faces, the bishop then turned and handed me my own book.
I was surprised, as I felt that I didn't need it. However, he looked at me, and said something similar to the first two. "Elder Roper, use this to record your own personal scripture." I was astounded at the pure love of this wonderful priesthood leader. No doubt in my mind that he had thought about this and planned it out in his mind. I was thinking about it last night as I was eating my soup with clams, kimchi, and spam, and I thought about what he was really saying to me.
Our bishop offered us this journal for what reason?? He wants to see it used....
In our lives, we are offered gifts from all angles. From people we love, strangers, and sometimes by pure luck. In other words, I'd like to call it the grace of God. We're all offered the gift of grace from a loving Heavenly Father, who only wants one thing to be done. And that is, to see it be used for our benefit of becoming better than what we are.
What good do gifts do if they are left unused?? A mother who cooks dinner only to not have it eaten? A child learning piano because their parents pay for lessons but they don't want to practice? A person extending service to another who doesn't want to accept? But none of these would be so sad as a Savior, who offered a perfect Atonement that can make us whole, but we decide not to use it...
The cool thing of this gift that I received isn't the fact that I just got this nice new journal, but the exciting thing is that if I use it, I can truly use the gift to what it's been meant for. And like the Atonement, we must use it everyday, exhaust the Atonement in such a way to we receive all the strength beyond our own that we can. I know that as we use the gifts that are offered, as we understand why these gifts are given, we will come to truly understand and receive the Lord's perfect grace.
I love the gospel, and tell you with a certainty that it is true. The Savior lives today, this very moment, and is with you, walking the race with you. What a blessing for each of us.
I love you all, and I miss you all so dearly. Keep going, keep pushing, keep loving, and keep looking for those blessings of grace. I promise they are there. Talk to you all next week.