Monday, March 24, 2014

In the Strength of the Lord

Dirty hard working feet!
It was another good week here in Manaus!  I had the privilege to travel this week and perform 2 exchanges with other Sisters in the mission.  I learned a lot and it left me very tired.  I remembered this week a little quote my mom sent me about the Atonement.  It is from a talk by Elder Bednar titled, "The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality".
"I suspect that many Church members are much more familiar with the nature of the redeeming and cleansing power of the Atonement than they are with the strengthening and enabling power. It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us—that is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us."
"Nephi is an example of one who knew, understood, and relied upon the enabling power of the Savior. Recall that the sons of Lehi had returned to Jerusalem to enlist Ishmael and his household in their cause. Laman and others in the party traveling with Nephi from Jerusalem back to the wilderness rebelled, and Nephi exhorted his brethren to have faith in the Lord. It was at this point in their journey that Nephi’s brothers bound him with cords and planned his destruction. Please note Nephi’s prayer: “O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound” (1 Nephi 7:17; emphasis added).
Weird looking, but good tasting hairy fruit
Do you know what I likely would have prayed for if I had been tied up by my brothers? “Please get me out of this mess NOW!” It is especially interesting to me that Nephi did not pray to have his circumstances changed. Rather, he prayed for the strength to change his circumstances. And I believe he prayed in this manner precisely because he knew, understood, and had experienced the enabling power of the Atonement.
I do not think the bands with which Nephi was bound just magically fell from his hands and wrists. Rather, I suspect he was blessed with both persistence and personal strength beyond his natural capacity, that he then “in the strength of the Lord” (Mosiah 9:17) worked and twisted and tugged on the cords, and ultimately and literally was enabled to break the bands.
The implication of this episode for each of us is straightforward. As you and I come to understand and employ the enabling power of the Atonement in our personal lives, we will pray and seek for strength to change our circumstances rather than praying for our circumstances to be changed. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:14)."
I know that was a long quote, but it really impacted me this week.  When I was exhausted each morning, I thought to myself, "All I have to do is get on my knees at 6:30"  As I did this, I received strength to do everything that I needed to.  I'm grateful for the enabling power of the Atonement.  All we need is a little faith to get on our knees in order to receive that power instead of waiting for the power to come.  We need to ask for it.
Hayle and Sister Freitas
This also inspired me to fast this week with my companion.  As we fasted, worked!  That is not an easy thing to do here either because we are constantly climbing hills and walking long distances.  Today we continued our fast and while we were shopping it started to rain.  And when it rains here, it pours!  Literally.  We waited for the rain to stop in a small hair product store.  I began talking with the two young adults working there and they expressed interest in what we were doing.  After a little chat about the gospel I thought, "what the heck, let's teach them the Restoration right here right now".  It was an excellent lesson.  They asked many questions and listened carefully.  I felt that I was teaching with real power and authority.  The Spirit was strong and I invited the
m to be baptized.  They both accepted!  We walked away feeling super good about the way we spent our p day.  Even though p day is our time to prepare, I just can't pass an opportunity to teach.
Our investigator Marcos unfortunately wasn't baptized this week.  He still has some problems to work through.  I'm happy though because he still has the desire to be baptized.  This week I called him and asked him about his progress with coffee.  He was so excited to tell me that he didn't drink coffee all day!  Sister Freitas told me that it was better that I called him because my reaction of excitement is always more dramatic. :)
I'm so happy with the things I'm learning on the mission.  It has been a huge blessing in my life.  With only 6 months  feel the urgency more than ever to find, teach and baptize.  To bring my souls unto repentance!  There doesn't exist greater joy!
I love you!  Have a good week and be thinking of questions you want answered during this next general conference.
Sister Jensen

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