Monday, December 16, 2013

Enabling Power of the Atonement

Man... I have learned so much on my mission so far. It's the greatest decision I have ever made. I think I could live the rest of my life like this if I just had my family with me. It's the greatest feeling in the world to see people change their lives. I wish you all could meet Mildred. I wrote a little bit about her story about reading The Book of Mormon a couple weeks ago. She's incredible. Before I talk more about her baptism, let me fill you in on a little bit about this week.

I think I started off my mission a little "childish." I was pumped up, beating my chest every time I would look down and finally see a name tag on my lapel. I wanted to live every minute without a regret and just work, work, and work some more. I had a vision in my mind that at the end of these two years, I would sit across from Dad and look him in the eye, being able to tell him that I gave everything. That I held nothing back.
So I started and continued my mission like that. I would study, obey to the "T" and just work. I then had this thought hit me a week ago that was like a dark cloud over my head. The thought was, "If the Savior Himself appeared in the middle of Marietta right now, every person that wasn't prepared... Who's responsibility would that fall on?"
I was sitting at the time and sank in to my chair. The weight of that type of responsibility was overwhelming and I couldn't bear it anymore. I fell to my knees and prayed. The feeling of inadequacy was unbearable. I had thoughts, words I had said, and promptings I had ignored, come rushing back to my memory.
The reason I wanted to write about this is because of an aspect of the Atonement I had never really considered. I had committed sin growing up, bringing me to repentance, and then the incredible feeling of being forgiven. I had experienced all that, including the first few months of my mission, being so grateful for the Atonement. I could be clean! Repentance, when it was done properly, always felt awesome. Anyway, I was repenting of all of these thoughts that were coming back to my head. "I'm sorry for this... I can't believe I didn't go back and talk to this person... Sorry for not calling him... etc"
I continued doing this. It became frustrating though because I wasn't feeling anything. Where was that awesome feeling of forgiveness?
The thought came to read President Uchtdorf's Priesthood conference talk on "Rising Up." After reading it, I fell back to my knees and picked up where I left off on my repentance. Heavenly Father spared me with the answer.
"You can do it now!"
What I never realized until this week was the ENABLING power of the Atonement. To enable somebody to do something or become someone he couldn't do unless he received heavenly help. If I was asked to give a definition on the word/ phrase of "enabling power of the atonement," I would simply say, "to make one 'mighty.'"
Isn't that incredible though? Most of you probably understand that principal but I finally could understand it through experience. The atonement wasn't just suffered for our sins, or our pains and sicknesses, but to enable us to become something we could not otherwise become. To fulfill tasks that are much too large for a 19 year old.
"If the Savior Himself appeared in the middle of Marietta right now, every person who was not prepared to stand before Him, would look to me." Man, the thought still gives me chills. The "feeling" that I was looking for finally came, however. Alone, I can't do this. But "He who sent me is with me..." I can't fail! The final score is already posted on the scoreboard. I just need to invite people to look up, see the scoreboard, and put on the winning team's jersey. I can't begin to tell you the assurance I feel from the authority of my calling when I am out here. I'm not 'mighty' yet, but I'm striving. I like looking at this like a literal mission. A "Search and Rescue" mission. Because this is a matter between life and death- ETERNAL life or death... It makes it fun. I can get off my knees in the morning and jump out of the apartment with a sense of urgency.

I wish I could write more but I invite you to think about conversion at some point this week. Elder Bednar, who also coined the phrase "enable", made a comment that his mission president asked him. "If one of the apostles fell apostate, would that shake your testimony?"
Elder Bednar replied as a young missionary, "Well yeah. Of course. It would shake my testimony but it wouldn't change it."
I was reading in Alma this week about the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's and their conversion. The scriptures continually say, "converted unto the Lord." What makes someone have a testimony vs a conversion? And to take it one more step, "converted unto the Lord?"
The Anti-Nephi-Lehi's are the definitely the answer. To be able to just kneel down on the ground and let people kill you so you wouldn't break your covenant? Are you kidding me! Man. That stuff gets me FIRED UP!

I got to go unfortunately but Myisha is incredible. She sent us this text this week. "I believe I am ready as a daughter of our Heavenly Father. I am a witness, I come to accept these values and I am prepared to strengthen home and family and make sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple and enjoy His blessings."
Are you kidding me?? She's talking about serving a mission now and she's not even baptized yet! She received her witness of The Book of Mormon is true this week. She's another example of being converted unto the Lord. Not to a congregation, missionary or welfare... She's awesome. 
I'll close with a thought Mildred told me yesterday.
"How do you feel now!?"
"He (Christ) has brought me a long way in the last few months... (talking about the death of her husband) I am alone in time, but not in spirit. // I feel like a whole new person. I'm so happy."

I love you all! Y'all are incredible and I can't believe all of the love that I'm receiving from friends and family. I have never been so grateful for things in my life. Your letters, packages, and prayers mean everything to me.

Hope you all have a "White Christmas!" There's no snow here, but it sure will be white! 
Elder Welch

Here are some pictures of Mildred at her baptism: 

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