We finally watched General Conference this weekend, and it seemed to me to be one of the greatest Conferences we ever could have had. Maybe that is because I paid more close attention than ever before, but it still seemed to me to be a special one. I love how the theme of parenting and strengthening families was knitted throughout the Conference. Homes really should be a great center of strength as we face the difficult times of today's world. There is more important work to be done than that done in the home, that is more true today than ever before.
I've had a few good opportunities to be a translator in the last few weeks. It's kind of strange to think that six months to the day after you start learning a new language, especially one as unrelated to English as Russian is, that you'd be translating hour long conversations with your Mission President and his wife, and an inactive member of the Church. I had this opportunity a couple times in the last few weeks. Of course I did more of explaining the thought behind the comments back and forth, but there was understanding, and one of the members we visited came to two sessions of General Conference with her daughter.
It was the first time in several years that she had been in the Church. Such a great thing to be able to witness. It's so important that we always keep taking steps in the right direction, because even standing still doesn't bring us any closer to our goals. As these members, and those who are interested in the message of the Restoration begin to step into faith they see so many blessngs come into their lives. I espcially love the words in John 3 which say that "he that doeth truth cometh io the light..." There is much more to this verse, but I'll let you look at it yourself. As we begin to do that which we know to be right, and to keep the commandments of the Lord we walk into the light and no longer even feel the desire to abide in darkness. It's no wonder then, that the words of the Primary hymn read "teach me to walk in the light." When you walk in the light there is no reason to be afraid.
Last Friday Elder Papok and I went on splits with the Assistants to the President in our Mission, so that we could teach more people in our area in a single day. Elder Klementson and I went to an area named "quiet" and taught a few lessons to investigators of the Church and then went into Center to meet with a member. It was great to get a lot done in a single day. I've come to realize what it means that "the harvest is great and the laborers are few" and I hope and pray that the Lord will send more laborers to Russia's far east in order to save the souls of those who live here. Those who understand truth will accept and change their lives according to the message which I bear, because my message is true. Joseph Smith really was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ in a grove of trees in New York 190 years ago. He really was given authority from God to reorganize and lead God's Church on the earth, and authorized to perform the ordinances necessary for our salvation. I am so glad that I have been given an opportunity to share truth with those around me, especially with a nation who is in such need of truth and light. I don't really know why I shared those thoughts, but I hope that they'll be of value to someone who reads them.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ really is pretty simple. You obey a natural, devine law; you get a blessing from the Lord. When you transgress against truth you will eventually pay the consequences for that transgression. I am often asked questions that people deem as incredibly difficult doctrinal questions, or questions of the soul. One that comes up probably the most often is this "why do bad things happen to good people, and why do evil men prosper?" I think we all wonder about this doctrine from time to time. Even the Psalms of David pose this question. (I think both the 37th and 73rd Psalms are on this topic.) The answer is really very simple, but only understandable with a higher paradigm of life, and an understanding of the Plan which our Father has laid out. In short the answer is this: God wants to make you into something more than what you are, He wants you to reach your full potential. We cannot learn as much when times are easy as we do when we are pushed to the limits of our capacity. For this reason the Lord blesses us with hardships, in order to make us grow. This is the purpose of the Plan of Salvation. This is why Christ died for us on the cross and why He lived the life He did, to give you the opportunity to grow into something more in the end. Think about it, ponder it, take a look at the scriptures, you'll find much deeper knowledge than I've shared here.
I feel like I haven't really shared much about what has been keeping me busy this week in Vladivostok, but at the same time, my calling is to share the doctrines of truth and to help others become more. I hope that you'll understand and forgive me for not sharing many great stories this week.
I pray for the Lord's blessings to be upon all those who read the things that I write, and I hope that you can feel the sincerity of my love with which I write to you. Have a great week.