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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Week 33 - blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humbled

Pretty sweet week here in Kalookan with enough flooding to fill up the baptismal font for all these baptismal dates we have planned, zinger! Just kidding, but really we have one tomorrow and 2 more on the 14th of June. I guess you could say I'm pretty excited because that just about doubles the amount of baptisms I've had so far on my mission. It's been incredibly awesome to see our area go from 0 progressing investigators to, hopefully, 4 baptisms in just 3 months! After toiling day and night in temperatures so hot you could grill a 12 ounce steak (man I miss steak, and just meat in general) on the top of a jeepney, for many a moon, the blessings did come in a rich abundance indeed! 

Of no doing of our own, investigators have literally been dropped into our lap by the Lord. Already marinated and just waiting to be refined by the master oven of the Gospel. Sorry this is all about food, we had temple today and I've been up since 3AM and haven't eaten at all so its a little hard to focus. But yes, the Lord does hear the prayers of the weak and the faithful, and yes in His own due time He does answer them, and yes they are usually in ways far unexpected. For instance, the hurricane that took place in Tacloban has caused many kids to go to other provinces searching for education. We have 2 different kids who were sent to Kalookan from Tacloban to finish high school. Both of which just so happened to move in with members and both of which we just so happened to run into and start teaching within the first week they were here. It seems that the hurricane in Tacloban has humbled people in extraordinary ways. Both Sister Shane and Brother Judel have been some of the most golden investigators I could have dreamed of. Both came to church and had a desire to be baptized in the first week and both have not missed a single reading assignment. Both also happen to be reading through the BOM and praying every night without fail on their own. Which I don't know a whole lot about missionary work in other countries, but that never happens here. They are so cool and always come with tons of questions every time we come to teach either of them. Surely the horrors of the hurricane have caused great deal of reflection as to our purpose on Earth, which can be described only as a blessing. 

It makes me think to Alma 32:16 where Alma discussed the mercies of the Lord in humbling the people that they might in turn, turn to Him. However in verse 16 (one of my favorites) Alma says "blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humbled". While it is a blessing to receive trial and tribulation that we might remember the Lord and seek His help, the truer and more difficult test of faith is where will we turn when times are not bleak but appear bright. In this I think we can draw a wonderful example from Job in the old testament who was so "God fearing" that it is said the very thought of his sons offending God caused Him to offer up sacrifice continual. In prosperity and incredible difficulty the faith of Job never wavered. With all the certainty of his soul he stood steadfast in the knowledge of his redeemer and knew in whom he trusted his eternal welfare. This of course being the Savior, Jesus Christ. 

I have been reading through the writings of Mormon (in the actual book of Mormon) and it just shocks me how quickly the Nephites fell into wickedness and forgot their God who had suffered for their sins just a few hundred years earlier. I have thought many times how this could even be possible and at one point my mind was drawn to the story of King David. The fall of one of the greatest heroes in all of history became with a single decision to look, and more importantly to linger. In this age, that I believe to be the most wicked and enticing the world has ever been, I have concluded that in our mortal state none of us are safe. If we even allow our thoughts to linger upon the spacious building, we are as lost as if we were in the building itself already. I recall Alma writing that marvelous works were worked by small means and because of slothfulness the people forgot to exercise their faith. Happiness, joy, exaltation, and every blessing for God comes only through the small acts of CONTINUAL faith. The law of Moses of our day that keeps us on the continual path of righteousness, is the fulfillment of the prophesy that says, "little children shall speak words that confound the wise". It is the primary answers that keep us on the path to exaltation such as prayer, fasting, church, scripture study, etc. I am thoroughly convinced that a man who does not read, pray, and attend church continually is in essence damned to fall at same point. However, on the contrary the man who observes strictly to put the small things as a priority every single day, cannot forget the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore will not falter. Being merely busy is no excuse. Never once has Christ or any of His prophets taught anything contrary than prioritizing the kingdom of God before that of the world in all things. I testify that the key to applying the changing or reforming power of the atonement lies not in grand and miracles experiences but rather in the small, seemingly insignificant decisions we make everyday to learn, study, speak, and follow His teachings and His perfect example. 

Elder Krueger T

P.S. The new temple video is way dope. If you haven't seen it, first repent for not going to the temple sooner, and then go the next morning. 

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