Since I just barely wrote on Thursday, and nothing much happened over the weekend, I decided to dedicate this letter to sharing a spiritual thought for the week.
As missionaries we teach people everyday of the miraculous life-changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We explain the important doctrine of salvation. The steps we need to take in order to return and live with our Father in Heaven. In search for eternal happiness, we find peace and happiness in our life here on earth. The message we share is powerful yet incredibly simple as well.
In Numbers 21:4-9 it explains the story where the children of Israel, while wandering in the desert, began to complain and murmur because of their afflictions. As a result of their ingratitude and lack of faith, the Lord sent forth fiery serpents to bite and torment the people. Suffering the consequences of their actions, they plead to Moses for a way to overcome their afflictions. The Lord answered him saying,
''Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.''
The Lord created an easy way for the people to be healed and saved from the fiery serpents. We know from the Book of Mormon that this experience foreshadows and symbolizes a greater, yet still simple, way for all mankind to be saved from their fiery serpents as well. It says in Helaman 8:15,
''And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal.''
So we know that the way we can overcome our fiery serpents, whether they be consequences of sin or pains and afflictions of which we have little or no control, is through the Savior Jesus Christ. Only through Him may we recieve, ''that life which is eternal.''
But is it really that simple? As missionaries we explain everyday that praying, reading the scriptures, and going to church will strengthen your faith and invite a spirit of peace and hope into your life. We teach that this faith leads you to repent and aline your life with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Necessary steps in this process, and the process of salvation, are baptism and then confirmation in order to recieve the Holy Ghost. Finally, we continue on this path of discipleship and help others along the way as well. In this way we, ''look upon the Son of God.''
However, many people feel the simplicity of the way is too good to be true. Can the ''secret'' of eternal happiness really be already prepared and laid out right in front of us? Nephi elaborates a bit more on this matter using the same example of Moses and the Children of Israel,
''He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.'' (1Nephi 17:41)
In the recent General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke on this same subject,
''Sometimes, the truth may just seem too straightforward, too plain, and too simple for us to fully appreciate its great value. So we set aside what we have experienced and know to be true in pursuit of mor mysterious or complicated information. Hopefully we will learn that when we chase after shadows, we are pursuing matters that have little substance and value.''
He goes on to explain that the gospel is, ''so simple a child can grasp it, yet so profound and complex that it will take a lifetime, even an eternity, of study and discovery to fully understand it.'' There is a place for everyone and their level of understanding in the gospel. All we have to do is begin and live it. In his talk President Uchtdorf lays out the simple process of living the gospel as well,
It's an incredible, never-ending cycle that fills our life and the lives of other with light and love.
I know that this gospel is true and has blessed my life tremendously. And now, here on the mission, I have the incredible priviledge to witness the blessings of the gospel in the lives of others more than ever. I know that its power is derived from its simplicity. As along as we have a love for God and a desire to serve Him. And so,
''do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. They way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever...For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternall bliss.'' (Alma 37:44,46)
''It Works Wonderfully!'' President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Oct. 2015 General Conference:
To email Elder Foust, his address is: firstname.lastname@example.org