Friday, April 20, 2012

Baptisms, thoughts on the Atonement

Hello to all!
Well, Happy Easter! (I know, a little late). I sure had a great weekend, and have learned many new things, one of which being more about the Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I will talk about that later.
On Friday, we hosted a Stake Fireside, which included the visit of President and Hermana Madariaga (Mission President and wife). They talked about the family, and help us all understand the blessings that the gospel brings to the family. After the fireside, we held the baptismal service. It has been great to see their family come back to the church, and to see how happy their mom was. Yes, they are still pretty wild and are working on behaving themselves better, especially at church, but they have come a long way, and I am excited to see the Holy Ghost begin to work within them and in their lives.
So I came in contact with the missionaries out in my old area, and when I was there we were teaching an awesome guy. So turns out, HE GOT BAPTIZED! And not only baptized, but baptized by his best friend, who I baptized! I was so excited to hear that things are going well there, and that there is so much power in recent converts to the church. It makes me so happy to see a repentant soul enter into the baptismal covenant, and enter into the waters of baptism. It was something that I quite frankly did not understand before the mission (the importance of baptism), and it took a while into the mission to understand the sheer necessity of baptism, to enter into the kingdom of God, receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, receive a remission of sins, receive a peace of conscious, renovate covenants through the sacrament, become a member of the true, restored church of Christ, be able to enter in the temple, etc. For all you that were baptized at 8, do not forget that promise you made, and all the blessings and privileges you have received for doing so, and that your parents helped you make that decision! Baptism is just great.
Things are going well. Good old Dave Matthews said, "We´ll make the best of what´s around¨", and even though our area isn´t on fire right now, I am trying to take that advice and really make the best of what I have.
I was chosen to speak in church yesterday, and my topic was the biggest topic/event in all the great Plan of Salvation: The Atonement. I came across a talk about it this last week that really opened my view on the Atonement. It is interesting that when Christ completed with the Atonement, taking upon Himself the pains, afflictions, temptations, sicknesses, sins, and eventually death, He really did it all for the intention of saving all of our souls from that same torment. That's Doctrine and Covenants 19:15-19. That's Alma 7:10-16. One of the most worldly and untrue doctrines that we run into here, and I'm sure in the whole world, is that Christ's suffering brought salvation unto ALL men, without ANY effort at all on man´s part. I was pondering much in Alma 34:9-16. In verse 15, it explains clearly that His Atonement brings salvation unto all those who believe in His name, and by believing, taking that belief and repenting of all their sins. Christ suffered so that we may be able to believe in Him and repent of our sins. In turn, we gain access to the divine mercy that He so willingly and completely offers us. He pleads with us to complete with the requirements. And if we do, we will not have to suffer as He already has. But if we so foolishly choose to not believe in Him, and not repent, then, using our free agency, we choose to suffer, even as He did, and let justice take its claim. I, in a moment of what could be called revelation, came to understand more fully the love that God, the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ really do have for us. Don't you ever think, nor say, nor imply, nor joke that They do not love you. Think for one moment about Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Think of God, the Father there, watching that terrible, terrible suffering all happen. Think of Christ on the cross. Think of how awful the whole scene truly was. It was terrible, it was unbearable, it caused the entire world to shake, storms formed, blackness covered the world, even in the Americas. Do you honestly thing that Christ would have done all of that, if He did not love us? No! He really does love you, and He really does love me. He understood the need of the Atonement. He also had the agency to not do it, but He did it! Because He wants us to be with Him and His Father again. I really do "stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me." I am thankful for the mission. For the life of the Savior. For the perfect Plan of Salvation. For God and his infinite love and knowledge. I am thankful that I can work hard everyday, and serve the Lord, and show my thankfulness for His sacrifice, that brought us all to be able to resurrect, and, if we repent and follow Him, to be able to be perfected through Him.
Love you all, pray for me and the people here!
Until next week,
Elder Babcock

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