Monday, September 27, 2010

We Received a Miracle this Week

Hello family!

So first thing´s first, because I know you´re all going to look at the pictures before anything haha.  Here´s a description:

1 - Yes, this was in the empty pool in our backyard of our house.  Dont ask what it is, because I don´t know.  It hissed...
2 - Lais and Elder Martinez burning my tie for my 1-year birthday!
3 - Me in the fountain in the plaza
4 - Again.  ¡Que churro!
5 - The couple we married and baptized, Domingo and Suni.  Aww, cute =P
6 - Their daughter Julie.  She is a little doll, melts my little missionary heart
7 - Mom will like this one
8 - And this one
9 - Haha.  The funny part is this was candid - I had no idea Elder Martinez was taking this.  Caught in the moment.  Proof that I haven´t changed a bit =P
10 - Marriage of Domingo and Suni
11 - Marcos, Domingo, Joel, Julie, and Suni - the whole fam
12 - Domingo and Suni.  I seriously love this picture.
13 - Before the baptism
14 - After the baptism
15 - One of the most rockin families we have here on Elder Martinez´s last night here

Alright, there´s your photos!  There´s a bunch, so enjoy!  This camera card is huuuge, so I think it will be a while before I need to send it home haha.  But alright, down to business.

Goodness we received a miracle this week.  Ok, so with the whole church situation.  We still have just under 2 months to find a new place to rent for our chapel.  That hasn´t changed, we still have to do that and are working on it.  But the good part is this.  The empty terrain we have had for 8 years that we haven´t been able to put a real church on yet because we haven´t maintained a high enough attendence, we still have that.  Before, the deal with the church was that if we could maintain an weekly attendence of 70 by the end of January, they wouldn´t sell the lot for the church.  Now, the deal has changed.  Our goal is 60 now and we have until the end of December to do it.  That is fantastic!  It doesn´t seem like that big of a difference, but really, it is huge.  It is definitely achieveable here.  We have an attendence of about 40 right now, and there are a few families that are active, but not coming every single week without fail.  So if we could get our active members to come every every every week, we would already have close to 50.  Now all we would need to do is re-activate 10-12 less active families (which there are plenty) or baptize a bit more and there´s the church.  If we can accomplish that, not only will they agree to not sell the empty lot, but they will actually start to build the church!  If that´s not motivation enough, I don´t know what is.  If we don´t start to work right now, I´m gonna hang myself haha.  It´s so close!  We are getting more organized now though.  Yesterday the presidents of the Elders Quorum and Relief Society finally published the lists of home teaching/visiting teaching companions and their assigned families.  That will help a tonnn.  I´m just ready for a church here.  I´ve come to love Guarambaré so much, I love these people and the members here.  I just want them to have their church already.  They just need to work a little harder!  This has become my favorite area, I love it here.  I´m glad I´ll be able to stay a bit longer.

Ok, I took some time uploading the pictures, so the message is shorter this week.  Sorry!  But now, back to the Articles of Faith I haven´t been able to continue for the past 2 or 3 weeks.  Here´s where we left off.

Article of Faith 11:  "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

What?  The Mormons don´t believe in forcing their religion down my throat??  I didn´t know that!  Well, you learn something new every day I guess haha.

As a people and a religion, we place a huge emphasis on free agency.  We have been given the sacred ability to choose for ourselves.  We have had this liberty before this world was, during this world, and we will retain this freedom in the next life.  In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi teaches his son Jacob a divine truth about free agency and choice.  In 2 Nephi 2:26, it reads "...And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not be acted upon".  We claim the right to worship God in the way that we so choose without interference, infringement, or criticism from governments, peers, or any institution of the world.  We give every human being the same right.  Well, "give" isn´t the right word, because we don´t have the power to give and take away rights from man, but it´s a mutual respect.  You don´t trespass my rights, and I won´t trespass yours.  Everybody in the world has the same opportunity and God-given privilege of worshiping howsoever they choose.  Agency is they key, for it was essentially the difference is the plan of Christ and the plan of Satan.

Now, you have to be careful in interpreting this belief.  Don´t take it to mean that we don´t really think that the religion to which one belongs isn´t important.  We don´t believe that as long as you worship God, you´ll receive the most glorious blessings that are available.  You have to do it in the way that God has commanded.  You have to do things HIS way, as it explains in the book of Enos about "the true faith in God" (verse 20).  The last part of the verse in 2 Nephi 26 that I quoted puts it this way: " act for themselves and not be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day (speaking of the day of judgement), according to the commandments which God hath given."  The Article of Faith makes it clear that men are free to act and choose for themselves.  Nobody can nor should make or force them to act, think, or be a certain way.  We are free to make our own decisions.  However, we are not at liberty to choose our consequences.  Nobody can make you obey the commandments of God, but that does not mean you escape the punishment for disobeying.  This concept is shown in another Book of Mormon scripture in the book of Alma.  Chapter 41 verses 27-28 teaches the following:  "Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come;"  - this part explains the free agency and that nobody is obligated, now here´s what follows - "but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds.  If he has desired to do evil, and has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God."

We do not and will never excuse ourselves for our doctrine.  We claim that this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the only true and living church on the earth.  It is the only church on the face of the earth who has all of the correct doctrines and ordinances necessary for salvation, along with the authority to perform them.  We will proclaim the truths we have received from God until the Great Jehova come and say the work is finished, but we will never force or compel people to comply.  We are here to show the world the door, not to push them through it.  Free agency is a sacred blessing that should never be diminished or taken away by man, and all mankind is free to use this liberty for his own purposes.  I implore you to think and ponder a little bit more seriously about how you use this blessed privilege in your life.  In the end, it will be your salvation or your condemnation.

Hope everyone is doing well.  I´m doing fantastic as well.  Until next week!  Love and miss you all.

-Elder Moore

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