Dear Family and Friends,
The very fact that I am writing this on a Thursday is evidence of the busy week it has been. Busy as a missionary is a wonderful thing though! I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
The absolute highlight of the past week and a half was the brief mission tour of Elder Golden who is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He is from South Africa and so we all enjoyed not only his spiritual knowledge but hearing his accent as well. He arrived this past Sunday and left on Tuesday so his stay wasn’t a very long one. However, he definitely made the most of his time here. On Sunday we had a meeting for the mission leadership and then on Monday and Tuesday we had ones with the varying zones. I had the blessing of attending all three of them and learning so very much. While there were a few constants each meeting provided a unique dose of spiritual nourishment. By the time it was all over the feeling I had was a combination of spiritual high and physical exhaustion, considering the fact that the most of my mission can be described that way, the contrast is found in the fact that this is one of notable intensity. I believe my favorite part of the whole thing was his definition of faith.
Faith is a very basic principle in that it is foundational to many things, but it is also fairly profound and, as a result, very misunderstood by the Christian and non-Christian worlds. For many faith is simply a declaration of belief, but for those who understand the gospel of Jesus Christ it is something far greater.
Faith is an action word, but even more than that Faith=Personal Righteousness. When I had that explained to me it brought a lot of clarity to the subject. If the world could understand that, then it would eliminate a lot of confusion behind the verses in the bible that seem to say that man is saved by faith alone. This definition of faith helps us understand that it is not merely good enough to believe in Jesus Christ, we must believe him too. We must believe that if we do what he asked, we model our lives after him, and try our best to be our best, then he would make up he rest. We must believe and have a hope that if we sacrificed everything to be good person and to not compromise our standards when pressured by worldly temptations–even if it very difficult to do and we are put in very rough situations as a result– that we will not only have a lasting sense of peace and purpose in this life, but we will also be raised up to live with God and have eternal happiness in the life to come. Not only must we believe all these things we must do them too if we want to have true faith,
If any of what I said makes sense, then I hope it would also help you understand why then the restoration of the gospel was so important. Frequently, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are commended for our high standards and example of personal righteousness. This is not just a coincidence. The problem the world faced before Joseph Smith saw his incredible vision was that at the time nobody had enough commandments revealed to them by God that could produce enough faith in the life of any person that would be great enough to bring about their eternal salvation. Along with that, nobody had the gift of the Holy Ghost which not only reveals those commandments to us, but also helps to give us to the strength to live them. The fact that the church seems to have so many rules is in all actuality evidence of the truthfulness of this work, on top of that is the fact that the members of the church actually live them. Seeing as how faith is the first principle of the gospel if that is incomplete then it is no wonder why ever part of the gospel after that is very much misunderstood.
After hearing all of that in a much greater length of time and in a far more expounded way I had an even greater determination to live by every word of God. For if faith produces miracles, that means that personal righteousness is a pre-requisite to the blessings of heaven. Something that as a missionary and frankly as people in general we cannot live with out if we want to be truly happy.
I love y’all!
Elder Joshua Cordon