Monday, March 23, 2015

Sincerity and Testimony

Buenos dias!
It's been a pretty good week! Unfortunately we don't have much time again because we have to take care of my passport, get groceries, go to an early appointment, and mow someone's lawn... but I'll say what I can! 
    One of the best visits we had was with a new family we met through a couple in our ward. Her name is Ellie Leon, and she looks after her 3 grandchildren, Anthony, Susanna, and Chris. She was born in Spain and raised in Argentina, so we had a good opportunity to use our Spanish again. We had a great dinner with them and the couple that introduced us to them named the Richmonds, and then taught about who God our Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are and how to pray. Ellie is not very religious and wasn't willing to participate much in the lesson, but her three grandkids were amazing. We helped each of them draw out their "prayer sandwich" ("dear Heavenly Father" and "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen" being the the bread on the top and bottom, and saying what's in your heart as the ingredients in the middle). I expected them to read the prayers they had just written out, but when we gave each of them a chance to pray, they really understood the concept and said something totally different. 
     I wish I could remember the exact wording or who quoted it, but in the last General Conference one of the speakers quoted Brigham Young saying something to the effect of, "I would not wish any member of this church to do or believe something just because they have been instructed to it by the leaders of the church. Each man should seek out a confirmation of the Holy Ghost of anything I say." 
   It's sometimes easy in the church to assume that we should shove to the side the things we don't understand in our hearts and keep saying "what we're supposed to say" about the gospel.  I've come to realize in a very real way that we can only speak with true authority and with the Spirit when we share that which we know to be true in our hearts by experience and the power of the Holy Ghost. In other words, when we speak 100% sincerely rather than following the "script" as we teach and share the gospel. You can feel, see, and hear the difference when someone is talking about what they know to be true, and when they are saying they're "supposed" to say. The latter sounds like a "tinkling cymbal"--it's almost meaningless to the speaker and the hearer (1 Cor. 13:1). On the other hand, "when man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men" (2 Nephi 33:1). I have never felt the Spirit testify so strongly as when I look someone in the eyes and bore a sincere testimony of the the things I know to be true, or visa versa. If you are struggling with your testimony or with feeling the Spirit, bear testimony to someone of the things you absolutely know are true, and the Holy Ghost will bear record of it to you both. Fan the flame of faith which you already have. 
I can't look you in the eyes, but I'll still bear my testimony. I know that God loves us and is a part of our lives. I know He has a plan for us. I know the Holy Ghost can illuminate our minds and allow us to do the will of God. I know that visions, blessings, and miracles are real. I know that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. 
Till next week!
Elder Gaughan

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