Monday, April 17, 2017

He Is Risen

Hey Everyone!
     This week was a great week. Lots of tracting, finding, and teaching. Right now our investigator pool is starting to narrow down a bit as we're having to drop some investigators and refocus on the ones that we currently have. Our investigators are struggling a bit right now, not wanting to act, struggling to overcome habits, or not making enough time for the Lord. We're working with them hoping that their faith will increase enough to act more fervently and diligently to the goals they're setting. 
     This week I had a neat little experience while proselyting. It was pretty late at night, walking home when we saw another white man a ways up in front of us (which is rare). He was trying to wave down a taxi, and the taxi completely ignored him. Mustering up my courage to talk with another foreigner, which is always so weird, we made eye contact, and started talking to each other. He recognized us instantly as missionaries, and began opening up his heart to me and my companion. He was heading to another town to party for the night. He expressed his guilt, his pain, his struggles, and his addictions. My heart was breaking as I listened to this man speak. He asked the question that all of us at one point or another has asked before in our lives. "Elder, with all the horrible things I've done... can I really truly be forgiven for my sins?"
     I looked at this man, and expressed my heart to him that we could. That we can truly receive forgiveness, be cleansed, purified, and sanctified from all that we've done. No matter how bad, how long, or how many times repeated, we can become clean once again. He had a gleam in his eye and I could see the thoughts turning in his heart and a glimmer of hope starting to form. With him having to leave, we exchanged phone numbers, and he left. This has been on my mind all week long. Is it true? Can we truly receive forgiveness for our sins??? The answer is absolutely, positively, yes!
     In America it is Easter Sunday. What a blessing that is. This week I've thought of the Atonement in new and profound ways. I've thought about the perfect Atonement wrought for us by the Savior. A loving Savior, walking nigh unto death in the Garden of Gethsemane under bright shining stars. I can't imagine the agony that began as He began to Atone for the world. Every wrenching moment, every single drop of blood for every single person. I can only picture the love of a perfect Savior when He then proclaimed, "Not my will, but thine be done." From the Garden of Gethsemane, where He was beaten, and scourged. I can hear the cries of the crowd yelling, "Crucify Him," and can see in my mind His disciples all fleeing in fear. I can only imagine the weight on His back and His cross was borne through the dusty streets to Calvary, where the pounding thud of nails going into His hands and feet give me chills, and break my heart. From the depths of sorrow and pain, willing giving up His life for us.
     The greatest words in history, "He is risen", is the greatest testimony that yes, we can move forward, we can keep going, we can be clean, live with our families forever, be perfected, be happy, live with no doubts or fears, and so many other things. And yes, it even means that we can be forgiven of our sins. The perfect Atonement. What a blessing on this Easter Sunday. 
      I know the Resurrection of the Savior is true. He lives. I know it with no doubts, no questions, no worries. He is our Savior, our Divine Redeemer, our Loving Friend, Alpha and Omega. May we keep Him close to heart always and remember those words spoken so long ago. "He is risen."
     I love you all and thank you all for everything. Miss you all dearly. Have a wonderful Easter, and I'll talk to you next week.

Elder Roper

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