Sunday, July 2, 2017

June 26, 2017

Dear Family,

This week was pretty routine up until yesterday. Miraculously two ward members brought potential investigators to church yesterday. One was a less-active and his wife and the other was a random lady that a summer sales guy met so there's some potential there. We gave both of them a copy of the Book of Mormon and got their information so we can visit them this week. We also came across a lady later in the day who had taken interest in "the lost books" and specifically asked us about the Book of Mormon out of curiosity. We briefly explained it to her and invited her to read it. We were actually looking for someone else but she said she might come when we teach next time if she can make it. Elder Brinkerhoff and I talked about it yesterday and decided that most of our visible success in the mission has had no direct connection to anything we did like a door we knocked, someone we street contacted or anything like that. All we do is stay diligent and every few weeks something falls into our laps. Like with Amy a year ago almost to the day, Elder Reich and I worked hard all transfer and nothing really happened until the last day of the transfer when Elder Reich was packing and I was reading the Ensign. That's when a member from another Stake referred her to us and boom, three baptisms.

Yesterday I also gave a talk in sacrament meeting. I was given my choice of topic so I decided to speak a little bit about the temple and how and why it became important to me. I shared a little about the trips we would take down to Cardston from Calgary for the temple and such. To continue, I shared Doctrine and Covenants 109:22-23, 2 Nephi 31:20, and a quote from Elder Holland. He discusses the connection between the endowment and missionary success which I have certainly gained a testimony of. I'll copy and past if for y'all:

"When  you  go  to  the  temple,  you  will  begin  to  understand the  significance  of  those  temple  covenants,  the inextricable link  between  your  endowment  there  and  your  missionary  success. Indeed,  the  very  word  endowment  conveys  the  essence  of  that vital  link.  An  endowment  is  a  gift.  It  contains  the same root  word  as  dowry,  which  is  a  special  gift  to  start  a  new couple  on  their  married  life.  While  I  was president  of Brigham  Young  University,  I  spent  a  certain  amount  of  my time  trying  to  build  up  the  university’s endowment,  its treasury  of  gifts  from  generous  donors. That  is  what  God  does for  us  every  time  we  make  a  covenant  with  Him.  He  endows us. ... This  work  is  so  serious  and  the  adversary’s  opposition to  it  is  so  great  that  we  need  every  divine  power  to enhance  our  effort  and  move  the  Church  steadily  forward.  The key  to  that  for  us  as  individuals  is  the  covenant we  make in  the  temple—our  promise  to  obey  and  sacrifice,  to consecrate  unto  the  Father,  and  His  promise  to empower  us with  'a  great  endowment.' " (Jeffrey R. Holland "A Message to Future Missionaries")

As for this week's Topical Guide thought, I really enjoyed the "Jesus Christ, Firstborn" section in general. All the scriptures really brought it home to me how literal that concept is, that Jesus was the first of all our Heavenly Parents' posterity and how significant that must have been for them. I wonder at what point they realized they would have to sacrifice Him for the rest of their spirit children. I discussed it with Elder Brinkerhoff and he basically said, "Probably in a conversation like this one." Woah, crazy to think about. Who knows though?

It also struck me how much love Jesus must have had for us having been alive in the spirit to see everyone of us created spiritually. I imagined Him being like the big brother that gets all excited when He gets a new sibling to love. Maybe that's why it had to be the firstborn, so He could have an individual relationship with every single spirit. I'm excited to eventually learn about all the details of these kinds of things.

Well, have a wonderful week! I sure love ya and God does too!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

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