Saturday, December 3, 2011

Learning How To Love

Learning How To Love
Monday, November 28, 2011 3:05 PM


Phew!  What a crazy, busy week!  Let's start...

I got a call on Tuesday evening from President Black.  He asked if I would half-train a new missionary.  This means that he has been out for 6 weeks, and I would finish his training for these next 6 weeks.  I hope this next transfer is a great one.  I will be training Elder M and I will meet him TOMORROW!!!!!  I am staying in the same area.  Aliante/Waterfall Wards.  I love it here!

Food Report:
Monday: Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Tuesday: Pulled Pork Tortillas
Wednesday: Crouton Chicken
Thursday: THANKSGIVING! (Turkey, Homemade Cranberry Sauce, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Yams, Jello, etc.  And then for Dessert: Coconut Cream Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Red Velvet Cake, Pumpkin Cookies, Ice Cream...Yumm!)
Friday: Honey Baked Ham
Saturday: Teriyaki Chicken
Sunday: Lasagna

Investigator Update:
1)  WE FINALLY GOT TO MEET WITH S!  After much scheduling and rescheduling and cancellations and everything...We finally got to see her.  We had 3 lessons with her this week.  We reviewed Lesson 1 (The Restoration) and re-committed her to be baptized on Dec. 30th, we taught her about baptisms for the dead (because she had questions and wanted to know about it), and there was a baptism in Jeff's YSA ward this last Saturday and we got her to come to that and did a "Question/Answer" session afterwards and taught her more about Baptism.
2) J: So...I discovered that his wife, D, is really the driving force in learning more about the Gospel.  She is really coming to know it is true.  I can hear it in her words and see it in her actions.  J is still waiting on that answer, and I believe he is reading some anti-material.  But, he still wants us to come over and teach.  We taught a 2 hour lesson all on Baptism this last week.  OH, AND guess what!!  They came with their 5 kids to the baptism, too!  How awesome is that!  We can two of our investigators there to observe a baptismal service.  It was SO cool!
...And...We are trying to find more people to teach as always.  We NEED more people to always.

Small World:
1) At Thanksgiving dinner, Bishop R's sister said that she served her mission in Nova Scotia.  I took a shot in the dark and said, "My aunt served there.  Did you know a Sister Cheryl E?"  She got SOOO EXCITED and said, "I LOVE CHERYL!!"  They never served together, but they served around each other.  How cool is that!?  SOOOO AWESOME!!  Tell Cheryl.

Weekly Update:
Monday: Met with S.  Great lesson.  Love her.  Elder C and I took pictures and printed our Christmas Cards out.  You will be receiving them in the mail shortly.  I sent cards out to everyone that has sent me mail since me being on my mission.  Anyways, we had dinner with the B Family.  Sister B said she bought her son an orange tie and he got so excited and said, "This is just like the one Elder Edwards has!"  That made me so happy.
Tuesday: District Meeting.  District Lunch.  Taught S again (yay!).  Taught Frank and Donna a lesson on Thanksgiving.  Taught J and D about Baptism.
Wednesday: Went on Blitz (part-day splits) with Elders B and M.  We ate lunch at In-N-Out and went to Yogurtland afterwards.  Yum!  Taught Devonna and Jesse about Thanksgiving.  Went to Frank and Donna's because they made us homemade banana bread.
Thursday: THANKSGIVING!  We went to the Turkey Bowl in the morning.  It was fun to see all the elders and to chat with the friends I have made that are now in other zones.  I was the time keeper, magaphone user, and horn blower.  Too much to keep track of.  Elder T(I guess it is now Dan) called and it was great to chat with him for a bit.  He's officially engaged!  We had dinner with Bishop R and his family.  SOOO GOOD!  Then, we visited Bishop H and ate more food.  Then, we visited the H family.  Then, we went back to the R's to play games with them.
Friday: Went to the Train the Trainers Meeting.  Had dinner and movie night with Ray and Jean.  We watched "The Testaments"  I LOVE that movie so much!
Saturday: Helped a lady in the ward move.  Went to the baptism that S and the H came to.  Just busy!
Sunday: Church!  Then, dinner with Lyndee and her family.  It was great to get to see Eric Reese and Seth.  They came down from Colorado for the Thanksgiving holiday.  We had a lot of fun!

Spiritual Thought:
So, my Spiritual Thought this week is a rather long one.  I have had 4 companions now (Elders N, T, S, and C), and two out of these four admitted to me that they do not know how to love people they "do not know."  This last week I have been thinking a lot about how to love people.  I started writing down my thoughts on love and all of the sudden it turned into this huge thing.  So...Here is what I came up with...

Learning How To Love
Jesus Christ established this commandment while going through His ministry here on Earth: "That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another," (John 13:34).  But, how can we learn to love everyone?  How can we have love for those we have just met?  How can we love those who are so different from us?  I give five suggestions on learning how to love:

1) Know you are loved by your Father in Heaven and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We are told and shown throughout all history that we are loved.  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," (John 3:16).  Prophets and apostles in modern days talk and testify of the love our Father in Heaven has for us.  Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf says, "...wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten.  No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you.  In fact, He loves you with an infinite love. ...You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time," ("Forget Me Not," General Relief Society Meeting, Sept. 2011).  And, of course, Jesus Christ showed the ultimate expression of love in His atoning sacrifice.  He suffered all pains, afflictions, temptations, infirmities, all so that He "may be filled with mercy" so that He can know "how to succor" us and come to our aid through of the perfect love He Has for us (Alma 7:11-12).  When we gain a sure testimony that we are unconditionally, always, and completely loved by our Heavenly Father and Savior, I promise that it will make it easier for you to love all His other children, you will know that He feels the same way about them as He does you.

2) Follow Christ's perfect example.
Jesus Christ is our perfect example.  He admonishes all of us to walk in His footsteps.  He says many times, "Follow me," (Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, Luke 9:59, John 1:43, 2 Nephi 31:10, etc.).  Christ knew how to love perfectly for "charity is the pure love of Christ," (Moroni 7:47).  Many times charity is manifest through service.  Our Savior always sought out opportunities to show forth His pure love through service.  He taught truth, healed the sick, restored the Priesthood authority, established His Church, and performed many more miracles to show the love He had for everyone.  We need to love Him to be like Him, and as we seek out opportunities to serve as Christ did, we will learn to love more purely like Him.  Elder M. Russell Ballard said, "It is only when we love God and Christ with all of our hearts, souls, and minds that we are able to share this love with our neighbors through acts of kindness and service - the way that the Savior would love and serve all of us if He were among us today.  When this pure love of Christ - or charity - envelops us, we think, feel, and act more like Heavenly Father and Jesus would think, feel, and act," ("Finding Joy Through Loving Service," Ensign, 2011).

3) Open your heart.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that many of us are wronged by others at some point in our lives.  It then makes it very easy to close our hearts.  Please do not do this.  Please do not take away the opportunity for someone to love you.  That would be a tragedy.  We read in the Old Testament about a friendship established on love so much that "the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul," (1 Samuel 18:1).  Jonathan's father, King Saul, became angry and jealous with David because the people loved him.  He became so "wroth" that he made multiple attempts at trying to kill him.  It could have been potentially easy for David to say to Jonathan, "Woah!  Your father is trying to kill me, we can no longer be friends."  But, because David allowed his heart to be open, his friendship continued and Jonathan helped to save David's life on more than one occasion.  In the story of Jonathan and David, we learn that we can open up our hearts by choosing to trust.  This can be a frightening thing, but remember the words of John, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear," (1 John 4:18).  As we learn to cast away our fears, our hearts will open to the idea of love and we will more easily be able to love others.

4) Speak of love.
Prophets and apostles both anciently and in these modern days all speak about love.  Paul says, "...he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law," (Romans 13:8), " love serve one another," (Galatians 5:13), "But the fruit of the Spirit is love..." (Galatians 5:22).  Moroni says, "But charity is the pure love of Christ," (Moroni 7:47).  Thomas S. Monson said, "Love is the catalyst that causes change," ("A Doorway Called Love," Ensign, Nov. 1987).  If we want to love then we must talk about it.  While being here on my mission, I have tried to make it a point that after speaking to someone, as I walk away, I verbally say, "I love him," or "I love her," or "I love them."  I now do have a genuine love and concern for all those that I meet.  I had a companion that said to me every night, "Hey!  Guess what!  God loves you.  Hey!  Guess what!  I love you."  When we say something out loud, we believe it, then, we come to know it.  When you use the word "love" in your every day language, you will be more receptive to loving others.

5) Seek not to judge others.
Brigham Young said simply, "Judge no man," (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, No. 48).  When irrational judgments are placed upon others, love can not abide.  When we judge others whether by their actions or appearance, we open the gate for every antithesis of love to enter into our minds and hearts.  Judging others is the prerequisite to contention, jealousy, malice, unhappiness, and disdain.  David O. McKay quoted Matthew 7:13, which reads, "Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in they brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"  President McKay followed this scripture by saying, "The context of that scripture plainly indicates that the sin the Savior is condemning is the disposition to look unfavorably on the character and actions of others, which leads almost invariably to the pronouncing of rash, unjust judgments upon them," (General Conference, April 1944).  Whenever you feel a judgement coming along, think to yourself of the second verse in Hymn 220, "Lord, I Would Follow Thee."  It reads, "Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly?"  As you cast away judgments on others, you will be able to care more and love deeper.

Joseph Smith says, "Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God.  A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race," (History of the Church 4:227).  We need to implement ways of learning how to love in our life.  That is what our Father in Heaven wants us to do.  That is what Christ did.  That is what we need to do.  The fruits of loving our heavenly family, that is to include everyone on this earth, are happiness, peace, joy, Godly power, and hope.

...End of Spiritual Thought.

So...I love you all!  Thank you so much for everything!  Thank you for your love, prayers, support, mail, etc.  Tell everyone (family, friends, the ward, etc.) "Hello" and that I love them.

Elder Sean Edwards