I hope your New Year's was everything you hoped it to be and your resolutions are ambitious. This week, our brother Cedric stepped into the waters of baptism to kick off the New Year right. He is another one of Frank's referrals and it was awesome to see him, Leon who was also baptized recently, and him sitting together during the baptism program.
Speaking of Leon, I had the unique opportunity to bless the Sacrament with him yesterday. It was his first time, and he was nervous, so throughout the opening part of sacrament meeting, I was practicing the pronunciations of "thee" and "thy" with him. When it came down to it, he had to repeat a few times, but when he got it, he was relieved and happy. In Rwanda, because the church is so new. along with the priesthood bretheren, there are many meetings with repeated sacrament prayers. However, I love when these occurances happen, because it reminds me of what the Atonement is all about. It is a commandment that we are to be perfect even as the Savior and our Father in Heaven are perfect. They expect nothing short of that. However, they have provided the means to keep this commandment, as they have with all other commandments. The Atonement offers us as many tries as we need when we slip up until one day we become worthy heirs of all the father hath. In seminary, I remember the first time I listened to "His Grace is Sufficent" By Brad Wilcox. To be honest, as an immature high school kid, I don't remember much about that first time listening to it other than I picked out the fact that the Savior's grace covers a lot more than we think. However, I've studied that talk at least half a dozen times on my mission and it adds a few notes to my "singing the song of redeeming love" each time I read it.
I love the way Brother Wilcox shares his previous view of the final Judgement compared to what it actually is:
On my mission I have come to an understanding of what Grace is so much more fully. This last week, someone brought to Elder Grant and I's attention that we needed to repent and improve at taking reports from the zone because we had slacked off a bit on those responsibilites. We were able to repent and improve. Grace is what fills the gap when we fall short when we sin, but it is also what fills the gap when we've done all we can and that still isn't quite enough. For example, this week, on Sunday at sacrament meeting, we were remaining with two new investigators to find and were one investigator at church short for the standards of excellence. We were feeling a little disappointed, but then, when greeting people after the meeting had ended, we had discovered two young men, both by the name of Samuel, had come to church for the first time. One was invited by a member, the other attended the Christmas party last week. We pulled both of them aside and taught them the Restoration in an empty classroom and it was a wonderful lesson.
So, the next time a nervous, newly ordained priest repeats the sacrament prayer, remember that like the Bishop gives him as many tries he needs to get it right, the Lord gives us as many times to repent and improve until we attain perfection. For that reason, I am forever grateful. This year, make a resolution to become better at repenting daily. It is certainly one of mine.
I love you all,