Sunday, July 10, 2016

Favorite Book of Mormon Chapter, Jacob 5

Dear All,
So this morning, I woke all of the american Elders in the zone up with a hearty rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" sung over the phone. It was a great way to start the day. My companion got kind of annoyed though. Oh well, national pride. I've got my white shirt, blue pants, a red, white, and blue tie, and my american flag socks on. So yeah. We are also gonna throw a mini party with the ward mission leader (who lived in Houston for 8 years) tonight.
In terms of the changes, I asked president a few weeks ago to let me stay here in this area for my last transfer, and he let me do so. I feel like we have started something good here and I want to keep it up. Our zone got bigger this transfer, it is now 22 missionaries, and we are going to go so hard this summer. It's gonna be awesome.
This week was pretty cool, lots of nuts experiences, and lots of fun. We have been working hard with the Young Men, cause they're on vacations, so they can come with us and work. It's way fun. 
I spent a couple days this week studying Jacob 5. I think it is my favorite chapter in all of the standard works. Every time I read it I make like 10 new notes in the margins and highlight a bunch of stuff. I think it is one of the best parables of missionary work that has ever been written. Some of my favorite verses:
 20 And it came to pass that they went forth whither the master had hid the natural branches of the tree, and he said unto the servant: Behold these; and he beheld the first that it had brought forth much fruit; and he beheld also that it was good. And he said unto the servant: Take of the fruit thereof, and lay it up against the season, that I may preserve it unto mine own self; for behold, said he, this ong time have I nourished it, and it hath brought forth much fruit.

 21 And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: How comest thou hither to plant this tree, or this branch of the tree? For behold, it was the poorest spot in all the land of thy vineyard.

 22 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto him: Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit.

Who are we to judge whom the Lord has prepared to preach the gospel? Anyone, as long as we are diligent and full of love and charity, can accept the gospel, if it is the Lord's will.

 41 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept,and said unto the servant: What could I have done morefor my vineyard?
I love the Lord's attitude here. He loves us and will do anything and everything to help us "bring forth fruit".

 48 And it came to pass that the servant said unto hismaster: Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard—have not thebranches thereof overcome the roots which are good? Andbecause the branches have overcome the roots thereof,behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots,taking strength unto themselves. Behold, I say, is not thisthe cause that the trees of thy vineyard have becomecorrupted?

Loftiness=pride. Beware of pride.

 50 But, behold, the servant said unto the Lord of thevineyard: Spare it a little longer.

I feel like this is what our Savior says to his Father many times, wait just a little, I'll help them out, and we'll see if they can bring forth fruit yet again.

 65 And as they begin to grow ye shall clear away thebranches which bring forth bitter fruit, according to thestrength of the good and the size thereof; and ye shall notclear away the bad thereof all at once, lest the roots thereofshould be too strong for the graft, and the graft thereofshall perish, and I lose the trees of my vineyard.

As we repent and help others to do so, we must be patient with ourselves and with them. We must build up good principles and habits that will end up blocking out all of the bad stuff we've got inside. If we try to do all at once and if we are not patient, out discouragement and frustration could be our downfall.

 74 And thus they labored, with all diligence, according tothe commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even untilthe bad had been cast away out of the vineyard, and theLord had preserved unto himself that the trees hadbecome again the natural fruit; and they became like untoone body; and the fruits were equal; and the Lord of thevineyard had preserved unto himself the natural fruit,which was most precious unto him from the beginning.

 75 And it came to pass that when the Lord of the vineyardsaw that his fruit was good, and that his vineyard was nomore corrupt, he called up his servants, and said untothem: Behold, for this last time have we nourished myvineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done accordingto my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it isgood, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed artthou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring withme in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments,and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that myvineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away,behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of myvineyard.

"Behold, ye shall have joy WITH ME". I love the thought that this is not MY work. It is not the President Garcia, the APs or even President Monson. It is the Lord's and he will bless us with the same joy that he feels as we come unto him.

I know these things are true, and wanted to share them with you guys. 
Los quiero mucho,

Elder Rawlings

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