Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 18, 2015 Full Purpose of Heart

Full Purpose of Heart

"The fireflies are back out!" Unfortunately the camera doesn't pick them up.

But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage. 
(Mosiah 7:33)

We had an incredible week! 

My exchange was with Sister Bishop this week. She goes home soon to BYU-I :). I'm so grateful to be sending off so many friends to there.

To begin, we have been working with members a lot lately to help them establish their own family mission plan. We started with the Edgertons. They are an incredible family. Brother Edgerton was raised very devout Nazarine, and his family excelled in the world of anti-Mormonism. When he got his hands on a copy of the Book of Mormon, he decided to prove it wrong. This way, when he sent anti letters to his friends in Utah, he would have more credibility. As you can guess, he couldn't prove it wrong, and was shunned from his family causing many riffs as he acted on what he now knew to be true and was baptized. A year or so later he was called to serve a mission in the very area of South Africa where his family had just served to build up their church. The Edgertons are wonderful examples to me and those of the Old Hickory Ward. After sharing our message with them, they opened up their scriptures and shared with us what they had read from the Book of Mormon that morning, to back up what I had just taught from the Bible. I am so grateful to work with them in helping their friends and family come to Christ. 

I imagine it's hard for their kids, having grandparents that always email them negative things about their faith. We had a Zone Conference this week in which Elder Sheffield gave an awesome training on holding to the truths that we do know. He encouraged us to write down the simple truths we know for ourselves. I'd like to share with you the few things I have come to a knowledge of throughout the course of my life. 

1. I know I have a Heavenly Father who loves me perfectly.
2. I know that my purpose in life is to become like Christ through his atonement.
3. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

My testimony isn't always perfect, but I know that faith is not to have a perfect knowledge. This religion has never done anything or promoted anything that would not better the lives of those who live it. It's provided me opportunities to become a better person. Joseph Smith, and our prophet today, and other leaders of the church did not and will not receive worldly wealth or popularity from their positions. They help better those around them- and  seek nothing in return. If that's not of God or from God- I don't know what is. 

A verse I've come to love and hold close to me is Romans 15:13:
"Now the God of hope filsl you with all joy and peace in believing, that he may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost"

I'll be honest, I've never had some fantastic moment where the heavens opened and angels sang to me that Joseph Smith was a prophet and this religion is true; but as I live the gospel found in this church with full purpose of heart, my life is filled with a steady stream of joy and peace in believing. My hope for its truth only increases, and I know that comes from the power of the Holy Ghost, just as Paul explains. 

Another member family we are helping develop a family mission plan with is the Stuarts. The Stuarts decided they want to weary the Lord with their prayers for a missionary experience. We committed them last night to begin, and THIS VERY MORNING Sister Stuart called us, ecstatic, because she found someone in a parking lot who wants to meet with missionaries! "Prayers really do work!" She rejoiced, thanking us for encouraging them to do that. 

It felt so good to see how happy it made the Stuarts to see the fruits of their labors. All it took was for them to turn to the Lord with full purpose in their hearts and they were given what they desired. 

Elder Dallin H Oaks explains:

“… It is not enough to serve God with all of our might and strength. He who looks into our hearts and knows our minds demands more than this. In order to stand blameless before God at the last day, we must also serve him with all our heart and mind.“Service with all of our heart and mind is a high challenge for all of us. Such service must be free of selfish ambition. It must be motivated only by the pure love of Christ” 
( Oct. Conference 1984 )

When I read this, paired with Moroni 7:5-9, I was struck that perhaps I haven't been giving the Lord as much as I could have. Making the full purpose of our hearts the Lord's work requires "full diligence of mind". 
Elder Ashton's training in zone conference helped me to understand what I need to do to receive this full purpose of heart. He taught about the Atonement and repentance. I was reminded that repentance is a change in the Saviors direction. Repentance is not the backup plan, it is the plan. Repentance is how I am going to become the missionary and person the Lord knows I can be. It means that if I want the blessings of coming to him with a full purpose of heart, I need a change in nature not just behavior.
I love repenting because it doesn't just erase my mistake and bring me back to where I was- it pushes me to be better than I was and is a part of continual progression. 

My desire to change and come to Christ with full purpose of heart came as I read Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-13 with my companion. I asked her why repentance made us and Christ so happy, and she taught me about the perfect Empathy of the Savior. Together we discovered that because he has felt all, he can perfectly empathize with us. You know when you've gone through something and someone else is going through it and you totally feel that pain all over again with them? Well, that's how Christ is but in a much nobler sense. Because of his perfect empathy he chooses to relive that suffering he already went through, just so he can do it with us. 
Thinking of it this way brought me to godly sorrow. I don't want the Savior to have to feel the pain of my mistakes again EVER. I love him. And I love that even when I do mess up, he never ever puts me down or makes me feel worse. He is there to lift me up and bring me joy as I have a change of mind and heart. 

As I have focused very carefully this week and making my purpose His purpose in both mind and heart, I have seen so many miracles!

For example, we have gotten in with less actives that haven't talked to missionaries or come to church in years! 
We went to an investigators house to see if she was even interested in learning more, and her sister answered and let us in. She told us we had a glow to us... When we told her what church we were from she said "oh! You're Mormons! That explains it!" And then her sister laughed and said "you know, just the other day you were telling me how all Mormons just have this glow... I've totally seen it too!" They were freaking out about how we all just shine and it's so angelic and they love it. It was awesome!
Then this morning we went to the Parkers home where we taught their friend, Sunny, the restoration of the gospel and it was amazing. She's Korean so Sister Parker invited her Korean friend from Green Hills Ward to fellowship her. 

I'm so grateful for members who are an example of full purpose of heart, I'm grateful for repentance which allows me to turn to the Savior with full purpose of heart, and I'm grateful to be a missionary for my Heavenly Father :)

Love you all! 

Sister Hochstrasser 

Write to me!
Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 West Park Drive Ste 190
Brentwood, TN  37027

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