Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November 9, 2015 The Gift of Tongues

     Greetings once again from Casa Grande! It is my pleasure to address you all again about this past week in “la valle dulce” (the sweet valley).  Elder Parkinson and I have been working hard, probably harder than ever in this part of the Lord’s vineyard.  We’ve really been striving in our calling to invite and help others come unto Christ.  As Christ once bode from the wind-tossed sea of Galilee some time ago to Peter, he invites us all to take these steps of faith to his out-stretched arms (Mathew 14:22-33).  He doesn’t command anyone to not partake of his salvation, but rather says “come unto me all ye ends of the earth,” (2 Nephi 26:24-25).  So as his set apart representatives we set out in search of those who have been prepared to accept, or accept the call and then help them take those first steps of faith striving into the path of discipleship.  Exaltation is the destination and discipleship is the journey.  The journey isn’t an easy one, but then it wasn’t my easier for he who first forged the path showing us the way.
     On Monday we took it easy and just hanged around Casa Grande.  We went to a small Chinese restaurant run by a man who immigrated from China 2 years ago, I am not sure how he ended up in Casa Grande but his food was very good. We then just spent the rest of our time cleaning and resting, a welcome break.  And in the spirit of Family Home Evening which is so essential in the strengthening of eternal families on that path of discipleship, a path that should not be taken alone, we met with the Yesquen family.  We shared a brief message about how we can come to spiritual light on the road to Damascus.  How perhaps we wait for or expect large, spectacular spiritual events in our testimony gaining, perhaps on all illuminating vision but the reality is that we’ll receive our testimony “after the trail of our faith,” (Ether 12:6). That condition usually translates into diligent searching in the gradual gaining and strengthening of our testimony which will come,” line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little,” (2 Nephi 28:30). Such a search is being on the road to Damascus which is a vital part to the journey of discipleship. We then enjoyed some pizza with them which they tried for the first time.
     In the book of Acts we read about many miracles that took part in the first few years of the early Christian church as narrated by Luke.  Amongst the many happenings received in that book, there was one occasion when a large number of people were gathered together for the day of Pentecost.  They all come from different nations and were gathered with the Twelve Apostles who, being filled with the Spirit, began to speak in the native tongues of those present.  Then following Peter’s powerful, apostolic witness of the Savior, some 3000 were baptized in the name of Christ. It can be clearly seen that the gift of tongues has been used in missionary work for quite some time. This past week I have seen this very clearly manifest through the actions of my companion.  It’s been a miracle just to see how far his Spanish has come in the past few weeks.  However, on Tuesday when asked to give a priesthood blessing of comfort, my companion placed his hands upon the person’s head and gave a blessing in perfect Spanish. There was not even the slightest grammatical error and it was so easy to see and feel the Spirit work through my companion in fulfilment to his sacred calling. All present could feel the Spirit associated to righteous priesthood service.  There have been several other experiences which confirmed to me that the gift of tongues is very real, that now the Lord helps us to speak to others “according to their language (and) understanding” like he did in times of old (2 Nephi 31:3).
     M, the son of the R family, turned 12 this past week so as a ward we organized a surprise birthday party which was well attended in support of M and his family. It meant a lot to them and it was easy to feel the love that the ward has for the Ramirez family.  Now with M being 12 he was conferred the Aaronic Priesthood this past Sunday along with this father. Watching them both received the Priesthood was certainly a touching sight. What a privilege it has been to stay here in Casa Grande long enough to see the progress of those whom I watched to be baptized.
     I hope you all an excellent week and can recognize the little miracles that occur each and every day.
I Hasta la proxima!

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