|Elder Miles at Rachael's baptism|
Rachael got baptized this week! It was a crazy week trying to prepare for her baptism because of the very short notice. We had to review and finish teaching her the lessons, have her baptismal interview, and prepare the program for her baptism. We also took a trip up to the temple visitor center with her and her member boyfriend. To top it all off they even fed us several times! That was great because we don't get fed in the singles ward much. Even though it was rushed, her baptism went very smoothly. It was a great service that was full of the spirit.
|At the Washington DC Temple|
Many of the Spanish sisters that taught her came to see the baptism and President Riggs even came. She shared her testimony at the end and talked about how Elder Ni and I helped her to realize that baptism is not the end, but the beginning of a journey. The next day in sacrament meeting was her confirmation and she asked me to confirm her. That was an awesome experience and I'm grateful that I had the opportunity. She leaves for Massachusetts on Sunday to go back to school, so we have been in contact with the bishop in that ward to make sure the transition is smooth. She will be taught the new member lessons by the members and missionaries up there.
We are now done with 7 out of 10 zone conferences. It has been nice because I have been able to get to know a lot more people in the mission and we get fed lunch :). Another one of the responsibilities of the assistants is to write a "keystone" each week for the whole mission to read at district meetings. Elder Ni and I alternate each week and this week was my turn. Here is what I wrote:
Anytime my trainer and I would visit a less active member, the “go to” lesson was always grace. Before my mission I never quite understood what grace meant or fully comprehended its importance. I knew grace was something very significant, but it was always a mysterious and unfamiliar word to me. It was not something taught in Sunday School or discussed in Priest’s Quorum. If you would have asked me what the word grace meant I would not have been able to tell you. You can imagine the dilemma I was in when my trainer told me, on my first day in the mission field, that we would be teaching people about grace.
I quickly learned the basic definition of the word by turning to the scriptures. The bible dictionary states that “The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ... It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means.”
Who wouldn’t want to receive divine help and strength? I continued to study and learn more about grace as my mission went on. Later, President Riggs gave us this formula about how to receive grace: faith + humility + diligence = grace. Now let us apply this formula to our missionary work. If we are going to achieve our goals as a mission and become fully consecrated missionaries, we need the help and strength of our savior and redeemer, Jesus Christ.
In a matter of weeks, we have seen the blessings and the miracles that come from being consecrated missionaries. Key indicators have jumped and many more people are coming unto Christ. Many times we have seen a huge surge of energy and a spike in key indicators due to a new theme being introduced. All too often, that energy dies down after several weeks and business continues as usual. Why not have that energy and work ethic all the time? Think of the miracles our mission will experience if we faithfully, humbly, and diligently continue to become consecrated missionaries. Becoming fully consecrated to the work is not achieved in a few weeks. It is a process. It is natural for an energy source to run low after exertion, but if we access the grace of Christ, we will have the strength we need to press forward.
In his BYU devotional, Brad Wilcox stated that “Grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now.”
I know that God lives and loves us. This is the church of Jesus Christ and I am grateful for the privilege to bear his name. I now know that the grace of Jesus Christ is real. Let us all access that divine strength and witness the miracles that come from relying on Him.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen,
Elder Braden Vaughn Miles
It took me a little while to write this because I haven't
needed to write much in the last year
besides emailing... (haha). I wish I could attach the PDF so you can see the
whole page that we send out, but I'm emailing on my iPad so I can't. Somehow,
the end of the transfer is already approaching, which means we have lots of stuff
to do! Next week we have several meetings and we get to do a session in the
temple with all the departing missionaries.
|Elder Ni and Elder Miles with the transfer board|
I am learning a ton everyday and having a lot of fun.
|Elder Miles with the sign on the Mission Office building|