Monday, April 6, 2015

4-6-15 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

This past Saturday, we enjoyed a beautiful day here in Taichung with about 30 of our missionaries as we participated in Grave Sweeping Day. It is a day when many Taiwanese people clean the graves of their deceased loved ones and honor them with various rituals and ceremonies. As I carefully cleaned some graves of the unnamed who have none to care for them, I could not help remembering other times in my life when I had done the same for my loved ones. In particular, I thought of the many times I had visited the gravesites of my parents and my daughter, lovingly polishing their headstones with care and pausing to remember the great impact they have had on my life. How grateful I am for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which provides us with the opportunity and blessing to serve our ancestors through vicariously performing saving ordinances on their behalf, so that they may receive eternal blessings of family association and exaltation.

This year, Easter weekend happened to coincide with Grave Sweeping Holiday. I am thankful for the Savior of all mankind, who voluntarily laid down His life and then rose again from the tomb on the third day. This incomprehensible act of love has made it possible for us to overcome the effects of the fall of Adam. Because of the resurrection of Christ, we too will be resurrected, thus overcoming physical death that we inherited as a result of Adam’s transgression. Equally important, through the suffering of the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He took upon himself the sins of all who would ever live, we can overcome the spiritual death that separates us from God while we are here in mortality. Through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we may be cleansed of our sins and be able to return and live with our loved ones in the presence of God for all eternity.

We are blessed with the privilege of serving as His special representatives for this short period of our lives. We wear His sacred name on our chest and we seek daily for opportunities to testify of Him. I testify of His life, His ministry and His mission. I testify of the reality of His atoning sacrifice and of His resurrection. Because of His Atonement, we can be freed from past mistakes and overcome current faults and weaknesses. Because of His Plan of Salvation, we too can hope of seeing our loves ones again and of having an eternal association with them. I testify that He lives and because He lives, we too shall live.

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of Champions

PS. Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite emails last week: A great miracle we saw this week was when we taught a Sister Chen….We had taught her once before and she seemed pretty set on being Buddhist so when we went back the second time we didn't feel like there would be much more we could do. However, we decided to teach her the Restoration again and invite her to be baptized. The lesson went well, she had some great questions and comments and accepted the invitation on condition of knowing the message is true! It was incredible! She went from being what we thought was pretty hai hao to accepting the invite because we were challenging and testifying missionaries. After that we decided she was ready enough right then so we went to the canal behind her house and baptized her. Just kidding. We didn't do that...but thank you for having us read that talk again this week.

PPS. Looking forward to starting interviews this week with Taichung, Jiayi and Zhongxing zones. You will get more from your interview if you prepare for it. Come prepared to discuss something you learned from your recent study of “Becoming a Preach My Gospel Missionary” or a personal question that you would like to discuss with me. Please prepare to share with Sis. Blickenstaff where you are with your Phase I pass offs, what language study materials you are currently using, as well as your language study vision, goals and plans. 

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