Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Week 65: Can We Talk a Little More About Christ?

Hi friends and family!

So much to say and so little time...

Right now I'm sunburnt because all morning we played softball! I fast pitched (muscle memory never goes away!) and batted in a lot of runs. It took me about a full minute to remember what a grand slam is called. Baseball has so much vocabulary. We basically made up our own Spanish words for the things with the Latin missionaries.

Playing made me miss dad, and all the hours he had patience with me, when he caught my many pitches and gave me advice. Not to mention all the volleyball games he went to, the throwing shoes he bought me, the conversations on the way home from basketball games, how he taught me to dribble the ball... he even learned to retrieve shot puts just because I wanted to throw them. I know it's not Father's Day yet, but I've been remembering all those many beautiful moments, and just want to say thank you, Phil Ison, for being such a good dad. :)

Also, this week, a frog entered into our house. I don't know how or why or where, but all of a sudden there was a head-sized zappo sitting on our back porch one night. Thankfully, the neighbors came to get it out. I'm good with frogs in the wilderness, but in the house? No thank you!

This email is titled as it because this week we met the mom/grandma of one of the families we're teaching. The children in this family have gone to church on their own for a month, but their parents haven't come once. It's the first time they've ever really seriously contemplated spiritual things, and they're very reluctant to start the repenting process.

Meeting the grandma taught us why.

¨I think it's just great that you're visiting my family,¨ she said. ¨But I tell them they have to think these things through really well. I'm old and about to die, if I get baptized I don't have that much time to mess up! But my son? My grandkids? They're young. They have their whole lives out in front of them. They need to be real careful if they're going to try to get close to God.¨

I just bit my lip and tried to silence my tongue. No one had ever pronounced this particular fear quite as clearly as la Hermana Fidelina. And it made me so sad to think that she, and all of her posterity, don't understand hardly anything about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

So you better believe we've been talking about it. And we've been reading the Book of Mormon with them as a family. And we're starting to see the change. The parents are just starting to understand that they can't save themselves, that God is not a cruel, punishing power but a loving, caring Father, who sacrificed his only Son so that every one of his children could reach their full potential.

I think King Benjamin says it best, in Mosiah 3: 1, 5 to 13, 17 to 18, in the Book of Mormon:
And again my brethren, I would call your attention, for I have somewhat more to speak unto you; for behold, I have things to tell you concerning that which is to come.
For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.
And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.
And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people. 
And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.
And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.
And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men.
For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.
But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Jesus Christ.
And the Lord God hath sent his holy prophets among all the children of men, to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe that Christ should come, the same might receive remission of their sins, and rejoice with exceedingly great joy, even as though he had already come among them.
And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
For behold he judgeth, and his judgment is just; and the infant perisheth not that dieth in his infancy; but men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
We can fall and rise and fall and rise time and time again. But we can only rise, thanks to Christ. I am so grateful to him, and so aware that he is who helps me rise, time and time again.

Love always,

Hermana Victoria Ison

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