Hahahaha oh man this week has been awesome! We got condemned to hell thrice, and contended with the Devil on multiple occasions, visited a couple mental hospitals, been searched at least twice for contraband and weapons, and set a baptismal date! All in a weeks work for St. Thomas missionaries eh? ;)
We've been dubbed Moses and Messi here in St. Thomas by Brother Veeken. I'm Moses cuz I get lost and have to call him for directions all the time, and Elder Fillmore is Messi cuz he's had a couple accidents with spilling food on his white shirts, ruined a couple ties, etc ;) It's been a great week! :)
I'll start off with the condemnation ;) Man these Baptists and Christians are really trying hard to get to us, I swear it's like the newest sport here, the "Condemning the Mormon Missionary" Olympic games or something ;) We've been having a blast with it tbh ;) It's honestly been such a testimony builder to me that truly this is the Lord's work. You will not find in all the world a religion with more people actively fighting against it than the Mormon Church. This is simply because we are Christ's church restored again. The Devil has power to lead away many souls, convincing them that they are acting in the name of goodness and God, only to eventually realize they have been deceived.
I cannot stress enough the COMPLETE AND UTTER EVIL OF ANTI MATERIAL. This is one of Satan's most powerful tools in leading away the Saints. The clouding and obscuring of facts and evidence is one of the great thorns in the Church's side, it is completely Satanic in nature.
These articles and websites, and there are MANY, are designed purely to destroy and tear apart. Their whole goal is to tear down your faith, cloud your mind to the spirit. The prophets and apostles have taught that "Doubt chases away faith". This malicious literature is created by Satan through souls he has brought under his control.
Just this week I have met 3 men, all avid and devout Christians, who have devoted a large portion of THEIR LIVES just to contend with and study this Anti-Mormon literature purely so they can in their clouded and misguided minds "Help us become Saved." People who have spent time and money on the study of this material, without out ever even picking up a Book of Mormon! The Power of Satan is real, and his ability to influence us is strong. WE MUST BE VIGILANT in the strengthening of our testimony through the teachings of the Prophets and Apostles, the Scriptures, but most importantly the Book of Mormon.
Elder Holland testifies:
"For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked
denied and deconstructed,
targeted and torn apart,
like perhaps no other book in modern religious history
AND STILL IT STANDS."
The Book of Mormon is the foundation of our Church. Without it, our Church will fall. Is it any wonder then...that Satan has chosen specifically to direct the brunt of his forces directly at this Book, and consequently it's translator and Prophet of our Latter Days, Joseph Smith?
To me, this is an ultimate testimony of his divine calling, and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
You will not find in ANY OTHER RELIGION a history of continued persecution from ALL other religions like you find in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This simple fact testifies that indeed, Satan is ever increasing his attack on the Kingdom of God established here on earth, because IT IS EXACTLY WHAT IT PROFESSES TO BE.
This is God's church. This is His Kingdom. No powers of hell, or scheme's of man can ever change that truth. Truth is universal, it transcends all. I cannot, nor will I ever deny the truthfulness of this Gospel. There is NO OTHER WAY through which we can find everlasting peace except through this Gospel.
Christ lives. He presides at the Head of this Church. It is true because it is of God. It's fruit's testify of it's goodness. Prophets from Moses to Moroni have testified of it's actuality here in the last days. The Bible testifies of Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon.
It's very interesting actually...because in having to contend and defend what I know to be true I've had to become a lot more knowledgeable about the Bible than I previously was. In doing so, it has strengthened my testimony so much. The thing that has stood out to me most has been that even when you present scripture that clearly testifies of a restoration, of Joseph Smith, of the Book of Mormon, of the Celestial Kingdom, those who do not have a sincere desire to know will never accept our message....it has become clear to me that it is pointless to wage scriptural warfare, battling and reasoning out logically what I already know to be true Spiritually. You can quote scripture after scripture all day long, but the bottom line is it comes down to that book...
To the Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith. There is NO maybe he was a prophet, maybe the Book of Mormon is of God. There is only he is a prophet, and this book is true, or he isn't. And the ONLY way, the ONLY way we will ever be able to come to know that...and once we do to continue to know that...is through reading it's pages. That testimony has become solidified for me this week, as both Elder Fillmore and I have each taken turns bearing testimony of this book.
We have been condemned, told we're going to hell, that we will never see Christ, that God hates us for believing in this book. And I have never been happier :) Peter and John couldn't have said it better.
And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. -Acts 5:41
It has been a blessing...to defend the faith, to stand for truth, and at all times let the devil know where I stand.
I stand with Christ, and His Church. I stand with His chosen men, the prophet and his apostles.
God answers prayers. The heaven's are open. God giveth wisdom to every man and woman who seeketh in earnest prayer. The pattern is simple. If we lack wisdom, ask. God promises us that as we ask, we shall receive. These things require faith like unto a child. Not some large complex comprehension of exactly how He will answer these questions...rather...a humbling ourselves, having a simple belief that as our Father in Heaven, He loves us...and He will answer us. God does answer prayers immediately. I have seen those answers this week as I've gone to Him in prayer, keeping a pen and paper nearby. The feelings and thoughts that I have had as I've prayed, and chosen to write them down has been a testimony to me that God DOES answer prayers immediately, to those who earnestly seek, with meekness and lowliness of heart. He loves us. Why would He not answer His children?
God lives. His Son Jesus Christ is our Savior. The Atonement is real...we are NEVER...too far from His love and forgiveness...I, as a disciple of Christ and Son of God have personally experienced this and I can testify with all the strength of my soul that NO ONE is too far from our Savior's outstretched arms. You have NEVER sinned so badly that His love does not encompass you. The Savior has "descended below all things". His love is unfailing. I, without a single doubt in my mind, so testify that His Atonement is all encompassing. There is no place too dark, no sin too great that cannot be overcome by His Atonement. It is real. The healing power of His Atonement extends to EVERYONE who only desires to find it. He is nearer than you think, and closer than you realize. Simply cry out to Him. He will answer. I know it. The Spirit will confirm this truth to you as you seek to know for yourself. He lives. He lives! :) What joy that sentence gives! Because He lives...all can be made up. Our Savior has paid the price. It is finished, the sins of all have already been paid. What a wonderful and sweet message. His Atonement is real, and accessible TODAY. Now. There is no time period until the Atonement begins to work. It can work for anyone, in the moment they turn to the Savior. Again, He lives. The Spirit has confirmed to me even as I've written this that these things are true. I pray the same experience may happen for each of you.
May we each feel His love and encircling arms as we seek Him this week.
I love you all, and keep you in my prayers. Thank you for the continued prayers on my behalf :)
Talk you you soon :)