Saturday, January 16, 2016

2/23/2015 From Elder Gary Crye

[Family letter mentioned the home branch and stake (congregations) were emphasizing the practice of having more family councils. - Caralee Crye]

[Gary's response]

Good stuff. Family councils? Interesting. Something that may be useful is the "companionship inventory" section from Preach My Gospel that goes as follows: 

At the end of your weekly planning session, share with your companion appropriate goals, and ask for his or her help to accomplish them. Discuss the strength of your relationship with your companion. Discuss any challenges that may be keeping your companionship from working in unity or from being obedient. Resolve conflicts. Share with your companion what you think his or her strengths are. Ask for suggestions on how you can improve. If needed, set goals that will improve your relationship. Conclude with prayer.

[Caralee's comments]
I head a definition of Faith yesterday.  I liked the way how it is described.  Faith = hope, believe, and do.  There is also discussion of a letter that Elder HInckley received while he was a missionary:  Five words saying:  Do not doubt; just believe.  That letter was also the theme that Elder Holland spoke at the Seminary and Institute devotional a few weeks ago.  I suppose with the way things are going in the world, we all could work on gaining as much faith as we can.

We could all work on that. Regarding the phrase "do not doubt; just believe", it's interesting. Some people interpret that to mean blindly believe and obey. That interpretation is incorrect. We seek learning out of the best [sources]. The thing is that when some people have questions, they interpret having a question as having doubt. There are some very clear answers out there to people's "doubts." You just need to continue having faith and to find the answer.

If your "doubt" is a concern with a specific person, just understand that the Atonement fixes everything. God's plan is perfect. He's not going to fail because that person failed.

So, I agree. Just believe. :)

 [more of Caralee's comments]
President Holland gave me a new calling (I still keep my current calling as primary teacher) to be a "Preparing for the Temple" teacher.  I'll be teaching those who plan on serving on a mission as well as others who desire going to the temple.  I have a question for you....  now that you've been on your mission the past six months, if you have one (or two) suggestions, what would you say would be most beneficial for members (both current and new) of the church in focusing their goals with the temple?  It doesn't have to be specific to our branch, but rather your observations in general.

Hopefully this is coherent. I'm just throwing out a few thoughts as I do a few other things.

A lot of members out here, particularly those that have never been to the temple, misunderstand sacredness for secrecy and mystery. Since people often refer to the temple in unnecessarily veiled language, it makes the temple seem like something unattainable for all those that aren't perfect. Sometimes it's perfectly necessary to speak in veiled language. Christ spoke in parables. People struggle to determine when they need to talk abstractly. See, there are things about the temple that you are allowed to talk about outside of the temple. You should be very respectful when discussing these things, and you should only discuss them in the right environment, but the church is very transparent regarding things that might surprise you. For example: . There are unendowed church members that still refer to the garments as magic underwear. People who speak with clarity help out a lot.

As missionaries, we have the opportunity to be very clear and often a bit blunt with people. Temples are something that existed in the primitive church, but they were lost after about 70AD in the Middle East. This is the very same church and very same gospel that existed when Christ was on the earth. He truly is our savior. He truly restored this truth again to the earth, and it's important. If you believe in the Restoration, then you should know that to qualify for the highest blessings, you need to attend the temple regularly. To do so, you need to live the commandments and qualify to enter. Don't put off acquiring blessings. Do the things that will bring you the most happiness. Go to the temple.

Probably the biggest thing that helped me prepare for the temple was knowing that the power of the Atonement is made manifest when we make covenants with God. That's a very simple truth, much like the law of obedience that states:

 "20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
"21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."

That's part of why taking the sacrament each week is vital to the repentance process. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. Be where you should be, when you should be there. Do something good of your own free will and reap the reward. There's a talk I really like listening to while I'm out here. It's a bit old, but it's a great one:

Somehow I got from the temple to sacrifice. They really are related. It takes a bit of time to go to the temple. Okay, then. What's the reward?

Some people just need clear instructions. They also need to know that it's not this mystical thing that they'll never understand. Like the gospel, you practice at it. You work at it. You can understand it, but there's always more to learn.

The weather's been relatively very pleasant here in Windsor. Still pretty cold, but there were several days this week without snow or much wind. The members say it's worse this year than usual here in Windsor. Not sure what I think of that. Not sure if I mentioned this in my last email, but I heard the latitude here is equivalent to the northern tip of California.

We had a baptism and confirmation just this last week. No pictures were taken, since the family (mother and daughter) is very shy. Very few people were there, but the Spirit was definitely present. I confirmed the daughter just yesterday. 

Here in Windsor, we're receiving tons of referrals. In most areas here in the mission, missionaries are full-time finders, and we do as much teaching as we can. Here, the pendulum is starting to swing in the other direction. We're mostly full-time teachers. It's great. Perhaps that's why I've said the weather is mild. We haven't been out much.

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