Elder Chaston is in the hospital. He had a heart attack and something was wrong genetically and something collapsed. And brave Soeur Chaston is now talking to people en francais and sits at the hospital every day and even came to church alone and tried to communicate with all the people who usually talk to her French speaking husband. Bless her heart. They are the most wonderful people in the world. We are praying our guts out that his surgery goes well and everything will be ok. We went to visit him last night, thinking that we were going to comfort and make him feel better. But I think he did more good for us than we have ever done for him. The first thing he said when walked into his room? "You girls are just the cutest. We hope you know how much we love you. We have a family here." And we all just cried and laughed and I know exactly why God put this senior couple in my first ville. They have saved me life here.
I'M LEARNING TAHITIAN. There is a Tahitian lady in our ward and her son is getting baptized in 2 weeks. She asked Soeur Lai and HER WHITE ENGLISH SPEAKING COMPANION (that's me) to sing at the baptism. And Soeur Lai said yes. And companion loyalty means I'm going to stick by her. In case anyone has been so fortunate to never hear me try, I do not sing. My ambitions of ever thinking I could sing ended with my phantom of the opera obsession when I was 13. (High notes. Glass breaking. Dogs howling. Wasn't pretty.) But, I'm singing, and in not a just a foreign language I have studied and know how to pronounce and fake it--in a foreign language that my companion doesn't even speak fluently because she said "it's really hard." Oh, laa laa. haha But, it's ok. I'm probably getting transferred right after, so I don't have to face them the next Sunday.
Also, I taught Soeur Lai the song "I've got the whole world in my hands." She loves it and sings it all the time now. Then we had to take a picture with our little worlds.
We've got the whole world in our hands ;)
It is the month of October, and I don't mean to be dramatic, but I am DYING. We're DYING. It is SO cold here. The coldest deepest gets-inside-of-your-soul cold I have ever felt. She comes from Tahiti, I come from Southern California. We're such a pathetic pair. EVERY SINGLE PERSON we contact makes a remark about how this is nothing. This part of France is famous for having biting winters. HO HO HO. And our eyes get as big as saucers. I am praying they transfer me to the sunny Lyon mission for winter.
We are freezing to death.
I love her and her crazy ear muffs under her hat. She looks
like a bear. haha
Morning studies by the heater in the corner of our room.
After general conference, our sweet less active friend who CAME (!) leaned over and said: "So, you told me to come to conference with a question. I did. I want to know more about repentance. Can you please tell me more about that? How does it work?"
My heart just welled up with love for this sweet girl and I promised her we'd have a rendez-vous this week and talk about repentance. So, this week I devoted a lot of my studies to repentance. Which expounded into the atonement. Which expounded into grace. Grace is what I want to talk about today.
The best talk I have ever read about this was given by Brad Wilcox. A wonderful man who definitely practices what he preaches. Side story: When I worked at brick oven, he came to lunch with some friends from BYU. He was without a doubt the kindest customer I have ever served. It was my first week serving, and I was terrified and he just made me feel like the best server in the world. And when he left, tipped me over 100%. Just deeply good.
Anyway, this talk is called His Grace Is Sufficient. It completely changed my perspective on why Christ atoned for my sins. Here's what I'm feeling:
I wish we spoke more about repentance as a happy, amazing, life changing, glorious thing. Repentance is so beautiful. Repentance just means turning away from sin and turning towards God. Repentance means changing. When we repent, we're not paying for our sins at all. Christ already did that when he performed the Atonement. The point is to change to be more like God.
Why does God want us to change?
Because God is your loving Heavenly Father and he wants us to be comfortable in his presence. No unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God, but no unchanged thing will even want to. If we are still lusting after the things of this world, when we are standing before our perfect merciful Savior, we will not be comfortable there. We will want to go back to where we felt like we fit in. Christ is not a master holding a whip. He is a beacon of hope and change. Heavenly Father loves you so much and he can see you as your glorious potential, but it has to be your choice to change.
So I need to be working on changing my heart right now. Grace isn't applied at the finish line. I don't try my best and try to be completely perfect, and then hopefully after I die Christ's atonement will fill the gap between my part and God. Grace is changing me every step of the way. Every thought, every action, every word is making in a difference. This is why you must not only stop doing things that are wrong, but also fill your life with things that are good. Church, the scriptures, prayer, etc. Am I better today than I was yesterday? Kinder? More valiant? More honest? More patient?
These are my thoughts on Grace.
We are all saved by Grace. But have you been CHANGED by Grace?
Soeur Autumn Bradley