Monday, December 28, 2009
28 Dec 09
This past week has been wonderful. Thank you for all your encouraging words on the phone. I had a very Merry Christmas (a white one as well).
This past saturday we received change calls. Elder Nielsen will be going to Jyväskylä. I will miss him dearly. He was a fantastic companion. And for me, I will be training in Pori. I will be sure to send some pictures next week of us. Wednesday I will be in Helsinki for the trainor’s meeting and pick up my new (brand new) companion.
As you ponder new year resolutions please keep this quotation in mind:
‘’Vision without a task is only a dream. A task without vision is but drudgery. But vision with a task is a dream fulfilled.’’ (Bruce C. Hafen)
I love you. Please remember that the Savior is so near.
Monday, December 21, 2009
21 Dec 09
This past week has been amazing. First of all tuesday was Zone Conference. President Brown taught about how to make Christ more the center of everything. He focused on the basics and opened our eyes through the Spirit to a microscopic portion of the Savior’s Glory. I was truly edified. He showed one video which was niin voimakas (so powerful). Please watch ‘’Lifting Burdens’’ Mormon message on youtube. Especially focus on how you feel when it references your divine potential. It is true. I know it. One quote from the movie was Elder Wirthlin’s which said, ‘’ Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever. Although we might settle for less, Heavenly Father won’t. For He sees us as the glorious beings we are capable of becoming. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation.’’ I know we can reach Heavenly Father’s expectations. Each day we are either improving or not. We are not perfect but if we focus on the Savior then we will feel the Savior’s grace make up for those weaknesses.
Weather- It is quite cold here. At night when we go tracting I wear two pairs of gloves, two thermal pants, and a sweater and coat. The Lord has blessed me with health.
Zone Leaders- This past week was splits with the zone leaders. I learned so much from them. We made cinnamon rolls for them. They were DELICIOUS!!!
Finnish Christmas- Here one tradition is to open all your gifts on Christmas Eve rather than on Christmas. Also they love to eat this rice hot cereal with milk, cinnamon, and sugar. At the ward Christmas party I ate too much of it and felt pretty sick. It was quite funny.
PS Im sorry that my letter was quite choppy. I have so much to write and so little time. Love from Suomi!
Monday, December 14, 2009
14 Dec 09
This week has been amazing. Elder Nielsen and I have been so busy. We love it. Heavenly Father is blessing us to so many degrees: personally, spiritually, physically, and other ways I cannot comprehend with this mortal brain.
Thank you for your prayers. The investigators in Pori feel them.
In the last zone conference we took a language test. Afterwards the language coordinator interviewed us to see where we are with the langauge. They have standardized it so no matter how long you have been in the country you can see where you are. They said if your score was between -3 and 3 you are right where you need to be. Higher the better. In my last interview with Pres. Brown he told me my score was 21. I thought he misread it. So the language is coming along. I only share this so you know the Lord is blessing me with the gift of tongues. He is very generous. I feel His presence often here in Finland especially when I pray and study.
This next year in Finland is going to be miraculous. President Brown has challenged us to prayerfully set goals and increase our faith.
This is my challenge to you. Prayerfully ponder what you can do better this next year. Invite the Spirit to guide you in this. You cannot do this successfully without divine assistance. Include your patriarchal blessing. It is a guide.
I pray for you all and love you each individually. Please know this. The church is led by the Savior.
Monday, December 7, 2009
7 Dec 09
This past week was fantastic. I had district meeting in Tampere (2.5 hour drive because we pick up the Rauma elders). During the meeting I had my interview with President Brown. I love him. I know he was called by a loving Heavenly Father.
This week my companion was talking about how the sun rises and sets within 3-4 hours. To tell you the truth I knew it was dark but I didn't really notice until he pointed it out. It definitely helps staying busy in this blessed work. I love the Lord. As He teaches me I try to write as much of it in my journal/ tiny notepad. President Kopishke (Europe Area pres) challenged President Brown to raise the level of faith amongst the missionaries. We are at a 10 year high in numbers. Pres. Kopishke said that it is not a matter of skill. We are applying preach my gospel in every avenue of missionary work. Now he said we just need to increase our faith. In the lectures on faith by Joseph Smith are given 3 general ingredients for faith
1. To know that God exists
2. To know His attributes, qualites
3. To know that our life is in accordance with God's will
These are three points one can self-analyze and identify areas of improvement. This is my challenge to you all. How can you increase your faith? Whenever I give you a challenge I do it too.
Lastly, could you pray that we will find at least 2 new investigators this week (this is where faith kicks in :) ) Specific prayers are powerful. Remember that Heavenly Father answers our prayers but according to His time.
Love you all
Monday, November 30, 2009
30 Nov 09
First of all I am writing in my journal everyday (I love writing down everything the Lord teaches me through my thoughts, experiences, and the scriptures.
Also thank you all for your letters and emails especially the birthday ones.
This past week has been amazing. I was able to go to the temple. This was definitely needed. This was a wonderful tender mercy for I received sought after guidance and needed strength. I wish you all could have been with me. I got some pictures of Elder Henderson (a stellar elder in northern Finland) and I in front of the temple. I will send them soon. I just have to figure out how for the library in Pori wont allow it.
For Thanksgiving well I ate sandwiches. (sorry nothing extravagant but hey missionary is full-time). This past sunday I gave a talk about the Word of Wisdom. It went very well. This was also the first sunday where I met the members for last sunday was stake conference. Then later that day we had a missionary night where the members invited all their friends to the church and a few presentations took place. We, Elder Nielsen and I, taught ‘’Why we do missionary work’’. We only expected to teach for 5 min and the ward missionary leader would finish….nope. We had to teach for 20 minutes. Well I prayed for help and guidance. As I was rushing what to teach about the quote from one of the Area Presidents for Europe came to mind ‘’when you find yourself in a corner go back to Preach My Gospel’’. So I did. I taught and testified using PMG and everything went so much better.
This next week I have my interview with President Brown (my highlight of each change…besides the rare chance to attend the temple).
I love you all.
Commitment: How can you personally live the greater spiritual law of the Word of Wisdom? Please prayerfully ponder this for we can always improve. Remember we must strive for celestial kingdom.
Monday, November 23, 2009
23 Nov 09
Pori is a beautiful city and my companion is amazing. Miracles have already occurred here. This past we was stake conference for the Tampere stake so I was able to go to Helsinki’s and Tampere’s because of the change. Thank you all for letters, emails, and especially your prayers.
This week I will be going to the temple. I have been preparing mentally and spiritually for this. I have been pondering what kind of questions I need to ask so I learn what Heavenly Father wants to teach me. As we pay the price for learning and blessings then by eternal laws we can receive them from a loving Heavenly Father.
My challenge for you all this week is to do a self-examination. Really ponder how you can purify your heart and motifs. I do this as often as I can. Heavenly Father is bit-by-bit helping me do this. Be patient with yourself. One aspect of this challenge/commitment is to identify one person to forgive. In order to repent (improve or in this case purify your heart) we must forgive.
I love you all and remember we can always do better. One thing that helps in this process is to take a step back and glory in the little victories. This helps one stay positive and motivated. I can attest to this for I need to stay positive in the dark weather. Exercise and nutrition is key.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
16 Nov 09
Thank you all for your emails and letters. Some of the members gave me cake to have on my birthday so Elder Karlsson and I will be enjoying some delicious Finnish cake!
This past Saturday we received change calls. I will be leaving Kouvola and going to Pori! It is, I think, the most west an elder in Finland can serve. I will be going senior. My new companion is Elder Nielsen who has been in the country for 1 change (6 weeks). I am very excited to work with him. We actually went to the temple toghther this past change for our companions had language school. I am going to miss Elder Karlsson. He is training in Kouvola which I am so excited for him.
I love you all. I apologize for this letter is a bit smaller but I have to pack and members want to say goodbye.
Also continue to strive to be led by the Holy Ghost. When you have time please read, no i take that back, study Elder Richard G. Scott's most recent talk from Gen. Conf about acquiring spiritual guidance. While doing so prayerfully analyze yourself and see how you can improve. We all can. I love you for who you are and what you can become.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Also Heavenly Father has helped me so much in learning language and understanding the Finns. This past Sunday I understood almost everything. Then I had some great conversations with the members. There are many reasons why Heavenly Father is blessing me so much. I believe one is that I say my personal prayers in Finnish. This has helped tremendously. I am able to take my time and work through all the grammar ( and trust me there is a lot). On top of that I can review grammar principles with Him. Furthermore this has improved my relationship with my Father in Heaven. If you think about it makes sense. If you look at it from his perspective I would want my son to practice the language I called him to learn and teach in with me.
I love you all and remember if you want to improve recognizing the spirit and following it then first evaluate your personal prayers.
Finally I have a suggestion. You don't have to try this but I highly recommend it (as does Elder Nelson from this previous Gen. Conf) to have a pad of paper next to you when you say your personal prayers and next to your bed. Write down everything and review it in the morning. I promise miracles will occur.
Love you all
Monday, November 2, 2009
2 Nov 09
I am sorry but there is still remodeling work being done in the church where we email so this email does not contain any pictures. The kirjasto ( library) does not allow uploading of photos.
How is everyone doing?! Well, the mission field in Finland gets better each day...and a little colder too:) Currently we are teaching 4 investigators and on top of that Kouvola has so much potential.
This week we will be going to Helsinki for zone conference (my favorite!). This is where all the missionaries from the Helsinki zone come together for instruction for President Brown, his lovely wife Sister Brown, and the zone leaders.
Currently the mission field for Finland is hitting its all-time highs for all the key indicators (i.e.teaches, baptisms, new investigators)! The Lord is truly pouring out His wonderful blessings upon Finland.
Kouvola is also transfering to a biking/bus city rather than car. This is great news for we will have more opportunities to talk, find, and teach.
Cultural observation: There are so many more yield signs than stop signs which is so nice.
I have to go, but I love you all. Remember Alma 37:37
Monday, October 26, 2009
26 Oct 09
Thank you for all your prayers, letters, emails, and to reemphasize prayers. For I feel the power of your prayers. Currently Natalia's baptism and confirmation went splendid. It could not have gone better. We also have Jouko and Markus (father and son). Pray that they will continue to pray and read to gain that crucial testimony. Also Äydin who is 18 and has a heart of gold. His family, in the past, has not approved him reading the Book of Mormon. Please pray for him to have the strength and develop a testimony of the Restored Gospel. Thank you for the prayer of many can move mountains.
Also we have installed studded tires on our auto. Lisääksi(Additionally), I do wear thermals every day. One day I needed to wear two layers of thermal! Some days are pretty cold but some its quite nice. Elder Karlsson and I continue to run 5 days a week (Mondays we do intense workouts in the apartment).
My personal study is my favorite hour of the day. For you can develop your own atmosphere where Heavenly Father can teach you what He needs/wants to teach you. Currently I have concentrated on the Plan of Salvation in that precious hour. During which I have learned simple, yet profound gospel truths and each time the Holy Ghost witnesses it to me. My testimony of the Savior has become more tender and firm. One can always develop a firmer foundation.
I love you all and will be sending pictures soon.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
19 Oct 09
This past week has been fantastic. I love Elder Karlsson. He loves to run, and we cook together which saves money and makes it fun! Another thing I love about him is his ''just do it'' immediately attitude. I am learning niin paljon (so much) from him.
This Saturday is Natalia's baptism. She asked me to be in part of the circle to give her the Holy Ghost. I was honored. Her faith is that of the brother of Jared. She is the pillar in her family and will be the means of bringing them all to the gospel. Heavenly Father is so pleased.
This week we have district meeting in Hyvinkää where President Brown will interview us. These interviews are priceless. President Brown loves us so much. I wish you could all meet him and just hug him:)
One thing I forgot to write about Finland in last week's email is how safe it is here. I often tract on doors where the keys are left in the door...wow!
My personal study is drastically improving. The Holy Ghost is the best tutor and all we need to do is pay the price. What is that price well the scriptures outline it for us, but we must put it into practice. Once in practice then thats when Heavenly Father will bless us abundantly. I remember, Dad, told me that the blessings didn't come to the Saints until the wagons were rolling. (I hope I got that right, Dad).
My recommendation to you is to prayerfully plan your scripture study the day before. This shows to Heavenly Father how much you care and want to learn by the Spirit.
I love you all!
Monday, October 12, 2009
12 Oct 09
Well in Finland it is becoming a little chilly (which is the best to wake up to). Currently we have one investigator who has a baptismal date. We also have so many potential investigators. We are so busy now which is the BEST.
I also wanted to share with you some Finnish customs/things they do. First of all their food is pretty much all organic. Their vegetables almost taste like candy...yum porkkanat (carrots). Secondly you have to pay for grocery bags so people bring baskets. I bring my duffle bag so it works out pretty well. Their chocolate is sooo good; however, I do not eat a lot of it. Kouvola is a driving city. With the members at dinner appointments- you are expected to eat everything on your plate (courteous just like in the US). Also they always feed you dessert. I have not had mustamakara (blood sausage) but I will soon.
My companion Elder Karlsson is amazing. I love his ''lets do it now'' attitude. He has been in Suomi(Finland) for 4 changes (1 change=1.5 months/ 6 weeks). We love to run in the mornings and missionary work. The Lord is blessing Suomi so much.
In two weeks I will be able to go to the temple in Helsinki. I cannot wait for that. The reason is that Elder Karlsson has language school and they send the companions to the temple.
The Lord is blessing me so much with the language. The mission did away with setting specific days to SYL (speak your language). Now we SYL as much as we can all day every day. It helps so much. Pres. Luthy (current temple pres of Helsinki temple and professor of linguistics at BYU) said that SYL is the glue to sticks all the grammar and vocab together. It is so weird to think how little time we have studied Finnish and yet we can teach and communicate. I couldn't do this after 4 years of spanish!
I love you all!
Monday, October 5, 2009
5 Oct 09
This past week has been so busy! On Tuesday we had district meeting in Savonlinna (eastern finland) so we were on the train for a total of 6 hours that day. Then on wednesday was language school in Helsinki so we were there the entire day. Then we had teaches on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. After that general conference in Lahti wassaturday night and sunday....WOW! Now I can take a breath.
We also have another baptismal date. Natalia will be baptized on Oct 24. We are so excited for her. She has already given her mom a Book of Mormon which is great progress. The Lord is really helping soften her parents hearts.
Also on saturday night we received ''change calls''. Elder Karlsson (swede) will be my new companion. He currently is serving in Pietersaari. I am so excited. I heard he likes to run...YES!!!!
I hope all is well at home with the packing/logistics. I love you and remember the small things that help build your testimony are the most important. The two major themes I felt were focused about in General Conference were love and diligence. Just keep doing the small, yet important things. I promise miracles will come into your life as you strive to do so...I promise.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Today I can't write a long letter for there is remodeling in the church so my time is short. Last week was zone conference which was amazing. I forwarded the zone conference pictures. I love you all and will be writing more letters to you all soon. The work is amazing here. I wish you all could be here.
Monday, September 21, 2009
21 Sept 2009
This past week has gone by so fast. We had splits in Hyvinkää with our district leader, Elder Kelley and his companion Elder Schollenberger. We worked hard and had some amazing experiences. For example, Elder Schollenberger (was in MTC with me) and I went tracting. The Lord blessed us with the gift of tongues for we understood the people and were able to converse with ease. All credit goes to Heavenly Father for there is no way once could in less than 6 months of studying the language be able to converse with the people. What is also humbling and exciting is how much there still is to learn. Being on a mission has enlarged that fire to continually learn and grow. One teacher from the MTC said, '' Your mission is your launch pad to life to bigger and greater things.'' That is so true!
My testimony of prayer has grown ten-fold. This past week President Brown has requested that we concentrate our studies (in preparation for zone conference) in ch. 8 of PMG. In it one sentence stood out from amongst the others: ''Pray mightily over your goals.'' This past week I have put more effort into this challenge. At the end of the week we got 3 new investigators! Missionary work in Finland is growing exponentially. I love it. Remember Heavenly Father hears and answers every prayer. Pray to see His tender mercies each day and record them. This will build your relationship with Him for we all need to improve this crucial eternal bond.
Monday, September 14, 2009
14 September (Syyskuu) 2009
This past week has been amazing. The Lord is teaching me so much about myself, Finnish, being a Christlike companion, and improving.
This past week my understanding of what everyone is saying is improving drastically. The Gift of Tongues is real. In church I was understanding discussions. Also the Lord is helping me improve my study methods and build the fire of learning Finnish. With the Spirit you can learn so much more including the unsatiable thirst for more knowledge. During the process the Lord blesses you even more with strength, insights, application of doctrinal principles. If we want to improve the Lord is there. Like it says in the scriptures His hands are still outstretched. We just need to reach.
In the Kymenlaakso branch (Kouvola) the stake presidency visited to call a new branch president. He has four children with another on the way. He is studying to get into medical school. He is such example to the members here in Kouvola.There are so many good families here.
PS Hope you enjoy the pics!!!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
AJ says this is the most rewarding thing you can do at age 19. It is hard work but it is where you develop the skills and attributes that will bless you for the rest of your life and into the eternities. Being in Finland, sharing the message about our brother Jesus Christ to the Finnish people is so fun. I know that Jesus Christ is our Master. He loves us so much that we cannot understand it completely.
He says "Karlie I am happy that you love school. I love school too. Right now I'm going to school too from 8am - 11am. First it's personal study, then companionship study, and finally language study. My teacher is the Holy Ghost. I do my best to listen for he knows everything. I want to learn everything I can."
We love you AJ!
Monday, September 7, 2009
7 Sept 09
This past week has flown by so fast. I had my interview with President Brown at district meeting and it was so edifying. What is even better is I get to serve with him the complete two years here. He will come home one month after me ( I may have said this in the last email).
President Brown taught us about the spiritual nature to planning. He referenced Moses 3:5 where everything was created spiritually before it was physically. The Lord planned....effectively....with the Spirit. He also taught about how the Lord had a vision when planning and doing. He challenged us to pray for the vision Heavenly Father has for our individual cities.
The President of the Europe Area told President Brown recently that Finland has never seen these numbers (baptims) before. During the summer months (typically low numbers because of vacations) there has been a consistent high number of baptisms. He told President Brown to ''tell the missionaries they are doing the right things. Tell them to keep it up.''
I love you all and remember this is the greatest work on the earth. What privilege all of us get to be a part of it.
Monday, August 31, 2009
31 Aug 2009
This was the last week of the first change. This next week is District Meeting which means I have my personal monthly interview with President Brown!!! I love him so much. He has paid the price and continues to do so to be a great mission president. I will be returning home about a month before he does. So we get to finish up together.
The Finland Helsinki Mission is hard-core Preach My Gospel which is the best. We are all focused on bringing our brothers and sisters unto the Savior. We all believe they are out there ready to be found. We just have to put forth the faith and effort. Also something new here, the area president of europe has emphasized ''teach to find''. This is a new approach they have implemented. It is where one missionary immediately begins teaching in a few sentences (to whoever they meet on the street, bus, train) and then asks a question about what they just taught to help the person really think about it. Then the missionary testifies. The companion then testifies, asks a question, and teaches more. This can continue to go until either you get a teaching appointment, contact info, or they just are not interested.
Also the members here are so kind (they also cook the most delicious food). Kouvola is the perfect city for me to start in Finland. I love this city.
It is getting a little colder. It seems that fall has come. The smell of fall is my favorite (Mary, Laura, and Sarah know that). Also the country here is beautiful. As we drive from appointment to appointment we have the opportunity to observe beautiful Suomi.
The Lord has taught me so much this first change and is continuing to teach me more. I love how when we want to learn and grow the Lord is there to help. We just need to ask.
I love you all and will continue to keep you all updated on Finland.
Vanhin HamnerRakas Perhe
Monday, August 17, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
3 Aug 2009
This past week was hard but awesome (I like it when its hard because you know you are doing the right thing then). Last Thursday was District Meeting in
The branch here in Kouvola is quite small but there is so much potential. We are working hard as we contact and tract. The Lord is definitely helping me in understanding this language and speaking it. This past Sunday was fast Sunday and I bore my testimony. I was initially nervous but the Spirit calmed me and I felt great. The peace can be described like a bright sunny day right after a spring rain.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Hope everything is going well at home. I am loving the MTC more and more each day. Last night Elder Bednar spoke to us. It was AMAZING!!! He spoke on discerning between the promptings of the Holy Ghost and your own thoughts. His answer will surprise you. He said to quit worrying about it. Just be a good boy, remember and keep your covenants, and keep all of God's commandments. He said if you do these things you will be in the right place at the right time. He also pointed out that erronneously some LDS only will think a prompting from the Spirit must be some dramatic event. On the contrary, the promptings from the Spirit most often come as thoughts or in other words "the still small voice" . He said Moroni doesnt text or instant message us evertime we have a "spiritual" prompting. Just be a good boy/girl and press forward with faith. The Spirit will guide you as you act. Don't wait until the Spirit prompts you what to do.
That's the gist of what Elder Bednar spoke on. It was edifying to be in the gymnasium with him. I will never forget it.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Today I went to the Provo temple to do sealings. It was phenomenal. It was amazing to see how it will be when i get married. I will be writing you more.
The Finnish language is going great. Tomorrow I will be teaching the first 15 min in Finnish where Im supposed to get to know the investigator in Finnish. I cant wait for Finland. I am so blessed to be able to go there. I love this gospel.
The Finnish language is coming along well. This Thursday we are teaching the Restoration for 15 min in Finnish with the Plan of Salvation for 30 min in english. This language is sooo exciting. I wish I could share some of my class notes with you but for one, I do not have a scanner and second, this keyboard does not have some of the Finnish letters. My companion, Elder Smith, and I are learning so much from each other. Yesterday, Elder Neuenschwander and his wife spoke to us. I loved every second of it. I took copious notes for he had numerous tips to becoming better missionaries. I cannot wait to get to Finland. I love the people and the country.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The spirit was strong and I was in awe of these humble young men who were there to report to the service of thier Heavenly Father.
PHOTO: (Austin, Amber, Mary, Laura, Jordan, Sarah, Elder Hamner :) Kaity, Karlie)
Even though he was already officially an Elder because he was set apart, I was honored when he asked me to put his tag on him Vanhin Hamner. Now it was really official.
"And whatsoever they shall speak as they are moved by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.
Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants.
Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.
Go ye into all the world, preach the gospel to every creature, acting in the authority which I have given you, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Doctrine & Covenants 68:4-6,8
How awesome that AJ is literally the voice of the Lord and that he is promised that the Lord will stand by him, really stand by him - so close that he can bear witness that he is there.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The focus of my talk today is to invite the Spirit to testify of the truthfulness of my words regarding the Atonement. I also hope that through my words today, ensure that you will have grown closer to the Savior and strengthened that relationship we are all need of improving. I pray that my remarks to you today will touch your hearts and reinvigorate our souls to have a greater hunger to understand the Atonement more in our lives.
Why Understand Atonement?
Some might wonder what difference it makes whether or not they understand the Atonement, as long as they believe and accept its consequences. Such a need is illustrated by an experience of Florence Chadwick, as shared by Sterling W. Sill.
It was July 4, 1952. Chadwick, who had previously swum the English Channel, now attempted the twenty-one mile swim from the southern California mainland to Catalina Island. The water was a freezing 48 degrees. The fog was thick and visibility almost nil. Finally, only a half mile from her destination, she became discouraged and quit-had it been the cold water or the distance. It proved to be neither. She responded, “I was licked by the fog.” She then recalled a similar experience while swimming the English Channel. Evidently the fog was likewise engulfing. She was exhausted. As she was about to reach out for her father’s hand in a nearby boat, he pointed to the shore. She raised her head out of the water just long enough to see the land ahead. With that New Vision, she pressed on and became the first woman to conquer the English Channel.”
That story teaches a magnificent principle: with increased vision can come increased motivation. So it is with the Atonement. As our vision of the Atonement is enhanced, our motivation to embrace its full effects is proportionately increased.
Pres. Howard W. Hunter gave this promise:” As we come to understand His mission and the atonement which He wrought, we desire to live more like Him.”
Elder Bruce R. McConkie shared his testimony of the need for this spiritual pursuit in our lives:
“The atonement of Christ is the most basic and fundamental doctrine of the gospel, and it is the least understood of all our revealed truths. Many of us have a superficial knowledge and rely upon the Lord and his goodness to see us through the trials and perils of life. But if we are to have faith like that of Enoch and Elijah, we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.
Understanding its Infinite Depth
When I was 8-10 years old one of my heroes was batman…and still is one of my favorite comic heroes. But in a recent movie about batman, Bruce Wayne’s father said to him when he fell down a pit “Bruce why do we fall? So we can learn how to pick ourselves up.” That quotation has stuck with me for many reasons. One is that all of us are imperfect. We will all make mistakes but through those mistakes we are to learn to become better, “how to pick ourselves up”, and become more like our Savior. We all are here to learn and grow. We will all fail at some point. Failure simply means a new way of discovering answers and truth. Failure is a good thing as long as we continue trying to succeed until we reach our goal. No one remembers that Abraham Lincoln failed repeatedly in business and many elections. You see, we only remember his success in leading our nation in a time of great trials and tribulations. General Grant failed repeatedly in business and all other occupations except the military. Lincoln needed a winning general and he found it in Grant. Remember to keep getting up and trying. We were sent to this earth to succeed and succeed we will.
Unfortunately many when commit sin believe how can God forgive me. Also many repent but still feel guilty for what they have done. They cannot lay it aside. Truman Madsen once said,
“I cannot bear that kind of testimony. But if there are some of you who have been tricked into the conviction that you have gone too far, that you have been weighed down with doubts on which you alone have a monopoly, that you have had the poison of sin which makes it impossible ever again to be what you could have been- then hear me
Truman Madsen said, “I bear testimony that you cannot sink farther than the light and sweeping intelligence of Jesus Christ can reach. I bear testimony that as long as there is one spark of the will to repent and to reach, he is there. He did not just descend to your condition; he descended below it, ‘that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth’ (D&C 88:6).”
The Atonement was accomplished by an infinite being of infinite power, but, of equal import, the effects of that Atonement were infinite in time, coverage, and depth. This event has no geological limitations-no state, country, or galactic boundaries that it cannot or does not cross. It knows no time constraints. It descends beneath all transgressions, all pain, all temptations, and every demand for faith. Its influence and effect pervade all space, all worlds, and all forms of life. There is no crevice it has not filled, no abyss it has not plumbed. The Atonement is infinite in its depth.
While believing in Christ and his Atonement, some people have innocently, but incorrectly, placed limits on his regenerative powers. They have somehow converted an infinite Atonement into a finite one. They have taken the Atonement and circumscribed it with an artificial boundary that somehow falls short of their particular sin. C.S. Lewis offered this counsel:” I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.”Stephen Robinson constructed a similar observation: “I have learned there are many who believe Jesus is the Son of God and that he is the Savior of the World, but they do not believe that he can save them. They believe in his identity, but not in his power to cleanse and to purify and to save. To have faith in his identity is only half the principle. To have faith in his ability and in his power to cleanse and to save, that is the other half.”
When we more fully understand the depths to which the Savior descended, the breadth to which he reached, and the heights to which he ascended, we can more readily accept that our own sins are within the vast sphere of his conquered domain. (2 Nephi 10:20 says Let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off)
There is a story of a mother teaching her children a life lesson. The mother asked the children the clean the floor. The children obeyed and then went outside to play. Then one child entered the home to find her mother on her knees scrubbing the floor. The child confusedly informed her mother that they had already swept and cleaned the floor as requested. The mother responded, “ It’s not until you get on your knees that you see the spots you need to clean.” What a wonderful lesson to teach. In order to really analyze our standing with our Heavenly Father we must do so praying.
Blessing of a Peace of Mind
I would also like to speak on the blessing of a peace of mind. Let’s recount the woman who suffered from “an issue of blood” for 12 years. Remember how she touched the hem of the Savior’s garment and was instantly healed.
“Whatever the cause of her covert conduct, no sooner had the act occurred than the Savior inquired, “Who touched me?” Peter was amazed. Why should it matter? They were in the midst of a throng of people; many had pressed about him- but the Savior’s spirit had been aroused by one whose touch had not been prompted by chance . ..The woman, unable to hide, fell before him trembling and confessed what she had done. Her mortal body was rejuvenated, but her spiritual and emotional tranquility had been left in want. She had peace of body, but not peace of mind. Now the Lord would give her both: “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace (Luke 8:48). Oh, what balm those few words must have been to her ailing spirit! The sensitive, tender soul of the Savior knew that this good woman of faith had been only partially healed.
Neither the healing of the body nor the healing of the spirit is complete without a peace of mind.
Every attempt to reflect upon the Atonement, to study it, to embrace it, to express appreciation for it, however small or feeble it may be, will kindle the fires of faith and work its miracle towards a more Christlike life. It is an inescapable consequence of so doing. We become like those things we habitually love and admire. And thus, as we study Christ’s life and live his teachings, we become more like him. We become what we think and ponder about.
Main source: "The Infinite Atonement" by Callister
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Elder Austin Stuart Hamner Jr.
Finland Helsinki Mission
Provo Missionary Training Center
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604
The MTC will give me a P.O. Box and email once I arrive so my parents will keep you apprised of the update.
Finland Mission Home
Elder Austin Stuart Hamner Jr.
Finland Helsinki Mission
Neitsytpolku 3 A 4
This is where you can send packages once I’m in FinlandJ