Monday, June 9, 2014

Missionary Work and the Atonement

Dear Family,

Well this week was pretty uneventful for us.  Just did some more missionary work! Sister Vea got a call that she is for sure getting transferred so I will be getting a new companion this week. Sister Vea is going to the copperbelt. It is an area about 5 hours away. My new companion is Sister Fokoto. She is from South Africa and she's been out about 7 months. I've met her once and she seemed pretty cool so I'm excited!

Other than that the only other really out of the ordinary thing that happened was last night. One of the members of the branch presidency invited us and the Zone leaders over to his house for dinner to say goodbye. (Both of them are getting transferred too) So we get there all excited to eat cause his wife is an awesome cook. But then they told us that we were cooking! What?? They told us that there was a whole chicken defrosting and we could use whatever else we could find and we had to make dinner! Its not like I was offended or anything but it was just hilarious! And super unexpected! I actually didn't end up helping that much though. Sister Vea and Elder Shoba (one of the ZLs) did most of it. It turned out really good but it was just so funny. Then to add to the humor of everything, the power went out for like 15 minutes right in the middle of it all. And then to top it all off, right as we were sitting down to eat, a stray cat got inside. Everyone else there was either scared of cats or just didn't like them. So I was the lucky one who got to chase it down, catch it, and let it out. The whole evening was just glorious. Definitely one to remember.

Well because there aren't really any other eventful things that happened, I'll just share the talk I gave yesterday in Sacrament meeting.  I was asked to just speak about missionary work so I decided to speak about missionary work and the Atonement.

Here it is:

In the Bible and Book of Mormon we read of several missionaries who had not always lived their lives in harmony with the teachings of the Gospel. From the Bible we read of the story of Paul, formerly known as Saul. The book of Acts relates the story of Saul traveling around persecuting the church. in Acts 8:3 it says

''As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.'' 

Later, in Chapter 9 as he is still ''Breathing out threatening against the disciples'', he was visited by the Lord. Ch 9 verses 3-6 read

'' And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.'' .

After this experience Saul was blinded. After three days without sight Saul was miraculously healed and was baptized. Verse 20-22 then says

''And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.''

After he had come to know of the light and redeeming power of the Atonement, Saul wasted no time in going to share it with others. His name was later changed to Paul and he became one of the most powerful missionaries to ever live. Much of the new Testament is comprised of his teachings.

From the Book of Mormon we learn the story of Alma the Younger. He and the sons of King Mosiah also traveled around persecuting the church and its members. Mosiah 27:8-10 says ''.Now the sons of Mosiah were numbered among the unbelievers; and also one of the sons of Alma was numbered among them, he being called Alma, after his father; nevertheless, he became a very wicked and an idolatrous man. And he was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities. And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them. And now it came to pass that while he was going about to destroy the church of God, for he did go about secretly with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church, and to lead astray the people of the Lord, contrary to the commandments of God, or even the king''

Then in an experience similar to that of Saul, Alma is visited by a Heavenly messenger- this time an angel. Chapter 27 verses 11-13 says

'' And as I said unto you, as they were going about rebelling against God, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto them; and he descended as it were in a cloud; and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood; And so great was their astonishment, that they fell to the earth, and understood not the words which he spake unto them. Nevertheless he cried again, saying: Alma, arise and stand forth, for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people.''

. After this visit, Alma fell to the earth. For 2 days he laid as if he were dead. But after the prayers and faith of his father and the other members of the church, Alma, too, was miraculously healed. Alma the Younger immediately began to testify of the beauty and power of the Atonement. Chapter 27 verses 24, 28-30, and 32 read,

''For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit... Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God. My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more. I rejected my Redeemer, and denied that which had been spoken of by our fathers; but now that they may foresee that he will come, and that he remembereth every creature of his creating, he will make himself manifest unto all...And now it came to pass that Alma began from this time forward to teach the people, and those who were with Alma at the time the angel appeared unto them, traveling round about through all the land, publishing to all the people the things which they had heard and seen, and preaching the word of God...''

Just as Paul had been, Alma was saved by the Atonement and he shared that as soon as he could. Alma and the sons of Mosiah each then became powerful missionaries in bringing thousands of souls unto Christ.

While we will most likely never go through experiences like those of Paul and Alma, each of us had the opportunity to be changed and saved through the infinite power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. John 3:16-17 states
''For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved''

That is why Christ came! That through Him, we may be saved.

Moses 1:39 says

''For behold, this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.''

God's whole purpose and joy is to see us- his children- return to him! To receive immortality and eternal life! The atonement of Jesus Christ is the things that makes both of these things possible. Because Christ was resurrected, all of us- no matter if we choose good or evil- will be resurrected also. This is a free gift to ALL.
Eternal Life, however, comes only to those who accept and live the gospel as taught by Jesus Christ. Those who have faith in him, repent, are baptized by one holding the priesthood power of God, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (also by the proper priesthood authority), and then endure faithfully to the end of their lives. 2 Nephi 31:21 says

''And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God''

There truly is no other way. Both Alma and Paul understood this doctrine. And as soon as they did, they shared it with others. 2 Nephi 2:8 says

''Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.''

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we are privileged to have the knowledge of the fullness of the gospel. Do we realize how blessed we are? Do we realize that the power and authority and the keys to unlock the full power of the Atonement reside only in this restored church? We may know this, but think of how many of our brothers and sisters- fellow children of God- do not. and how will they know if we don't tell them?! One of the last commandments Christ gave to his disciples was to go and teach the gospel. The prophet Joseph Smith said ''After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel'' In the October 2013 General Conference President Thomas S. Monson said ''Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord's vineyard to bring souls unto him''

Brothers and Sisters, the power of the Atonement is real. I have felt it in my life. It has saved my life. It has changed my life. And I know that it can do the same for anyone who accepts it. Missionary work is the way that we can help others whose hearts are troubled find their way back into the Fold of God. I would encourage each and every one of you to pray to your Father in Heaven and ask him to know of even just one person you know who is in need of the Atonement in their life, and then share the gospel with them. I know that the Lord will help you to know now only who to share with, but also how. Great blessing await both you and the person you share with. If you need help knowing how to start, talk to the missionaries- we will help you.
I know that this is truly Christ's church once again established on the earth. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be made clean from any mistake we have ever, and will ever make. I love this gospel with all me heart. It is true. And this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all so so very much and I hope you have a wonderful week. You are in my prayers every day.
Love, Sister Gehring

Real African meal.

Bon Appetite!
I'm not going anywhere but other people are so yesterday we took lots of goodbye photos.
This is the Van Heerden family. Just the mother and daughter actually. Anna(the daughter) served a mission is England. The family had 2 other sons also serve and currently have a son in the Johannesburg mission. They are so good to us. They give us food pretty much every week at church, they are very thoughtful all the time, they are just great. They have a list of missionaries that they pray for specifically every day by name. On the list is their son, all the missionaries in the branch, and when they found out Sister Vea and I both had brothers on missions, they added them to the list. They are an incredible family.


This is our district! Elder Barnard, Elder Pauni, me, Sister Vea, Elder Shoba, and Elder Packer. Packer and Barnard are the APs, Pauni and Shoba are the ZLs.

Me and Elder Shoba. Beautifully photo bombed by Brother Lord Mbambu (who is in the branch presidency).
Me and Sister Vea. I'm really going to miss her.

Brother Mbambu (the photo bomber) and his wife and daughter. They have 2 daughters but the other one was running around playing.

There is a group of volunteers from the USA here to help out with the orphanage out branch president runs. I thought this was so cute. 2 sets of twins!


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