Monday, February 21, 2011

A Hunger for the Word of God

Wow, from your letters it sounds like everything is going great in the big old U.S.A.

We had a baptism, his name is Carlos Cadenez Melendez and he is 68 years old. He is a strong old man. He has such a strong testimony. The first day that we met him was in the street. It was pouring rain and my companion and I were both soaked. He was just standing there on a street corner, under an overhang out of the rain.
Side note: this is one of the benefits of rain, when it starts to rain all the people in the street just stop what they are doing and watch.
We walked over and introduced ourselves as the missionaries and asked him if he had ever heard of the church. He was so excited to talk to us that he told us to come to his house the next day and speak with him about the church because he had to work today. Of course we wrote down his name, address and the following night found him outside his house waiting for us. We were quickly ushered in and found that this man, for lack of better words was lonely. His wife abandoned him about 20 years ago and his kids live somewhere that he himself doesn’t know. He quickly latched on to us and us to him. Basically he needed a friend and found us. I remember that first Sunday 2 weeks ago when he came to church and how happy he was. We laughed so hard when he came because he was so upset that he didn’t have a tie to wear. The next Sunday my companion gave him one of his ties and Carlos cried. This last Saturday we baptized him and yesterday he received the Holy Ghost.  He then was ordained a priest in the Aaronic priesthood. Moral of the story is this, it is never too late.
Carlos, though he is physically strong, he has horrible vision. He has really bad cataracts and cannot pay to get them removed. He has to shine a flash light on the scriptures so that he can read them. Literally he is a testament of what the lord said in Amos 8:11-12 that the people will not have a hunger for bread or water... but a hunger for the word of god. Yesterday he said something to me I don’t think I will ever forget. He said "Elder Harris I wish that I had found the gospel when I was young, because I feel like I have lost so many opportunities."  How blessed are we that we live in the United States of America, that we were born in the covenant and that we have a loving family that looks out for us. Some times I think that we forget about all the things that the Lord has given us and we become surrounded in our pride and vain ambitions. I was reading in Helaman 10:3-5, this is a part of the scriptures when Nephi is disappointed and down hearted, amazing to me is the response that God gives to him, that encouragement of a loving father. I don’t know... it just was so impacting on me this week. 

Cool side note: I finished Jesus the Christ Tuesday of this week, and I have started to read it again. I have printed out the home work that you have given me and on this next Monday I will send you my thoughts.  Just know that I love you.   –Elder Harris

Harris Family Side Note: Our Stake Presidency challenged us to get to know Christ personally.  Our ward Relief Society provided us with a 21 day challenge which we extended to Jaren that he called his “homework.”  If you are interested in following along here is the first seven days. 

Day 1: Come unto Me
Read the account of the fisherman in Mark 1:16-18 and in John 1:38-39 Evaluate what fills your nets.  Are your priorities of home, family, work, electronics or entertainment keeping you from developing a deeper relationship with Christ?  Try to find more ways to invite the spirit into your heart.

Day 2: He knows you by Name
Read JSH 1:1-2, 8-20; search the scriptures for accounts of God calling His children by name.  As you read, ponder how understanding your divine nature as a son or daughter of God affects your relationship with Christ and helps you to be closer to Him.  Pray for confirmation that God knows you as an individual by name.

Day 3: Follow in His Footsteps
Read Luke 2:52  Study the footnotes and cross references.  Consider and pray about ways you can increase in your life.  Write in your journals the ways you can increase yourself mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially.

Day 4: Pray, Listen, Follow
Read Moroni (Book of Mormon) 7:26, D&C (Doctrine & Covenants) 46:7, D&C 109:4, D&C 6:27, D&C 8:10, D&C 121:8  Ponder the five characteristics of prayer in these verses.  Chose one to work on for a while, then move to another.

Day 5: Faith
Read Mark 9:14-29 Contemplate in what areas of your life are you not enough.  Pray to the Lord, acknowledging your shortcomings and asking for greater faith to allow Him to make up the difference.

Day 6: Seek Forgiveness
Read Luke 15:1-7  Take some time to evaluate your actions.  Are there things for which you should seek forgiveness?  Turn to the Lord for strength and courage to take the steps which will correct your mistakes.

Day 7: Self Mastery
Read Ether 12:23-41  Consider how well you control your thoughts and passions.  How do your thoughts affect your attitude and actions?

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