Monday, March 24, 2014

Love You All!

Dear Family and Friends,
This week has been a little long because we haven´t been able to find a lot of new investigadores, however it has still been great to teach those we do have. We are teaching a family now who will be baptized as soon as the parents can get their wedding papers figured out. This family is such an example to me. They are so poor that the parents sleep on the floor, and their 3 children share one bed. When the mom tried to do her paper work for her marriage, she first could not afford it (less than $10) and also she has no identification because she was an orphan growing up. she tried and tried and her and her daughter had to sleep in the street early one morning after she was trying to figure things out. I am so grateful for demonstrations of faith like this to bless my own testimony. It is truly incredible.
Also, mostly for my parents, I wont be able to access the internet at all for the next two weeks, because for Carnival we have to stay in our house for 4 days, we can´t even leave for Church haha. because there will be crazy people in the streets drinking and throwing stuff. so next monday, no letter, but the monday after, yes. Also, if you have read anything about flooding in Bolivia, my area is fine. there was some craziness for the elders in Trinidad, but besides that we are doing great.
Okay, this letter is going to be a very "Cassie" letter so bear with me. I thought i would write about some of my insights because of my mission, how my testimony is developing, and why my sincere desire to share is continually stronger.
First of all (now its going to get abstract and Cassie-ish) sometimes it is difficult to keep in mind the immensity of what i am trying to do right now. and it is interesting the ways in which i can be reminded. For example, sometimes i am just walking in the filthy street, tired, hot, and maybe not really thinking. And suddenly i look up and notice above the constant noise of motorbikes and honking and above the crumbling buildings, the clouds - with lights and colors on them from the sun setting somewhere i cant see, and the beauty and peace is such a contrast and i am caught up in wonder for a minute. because i remember that i am not just living in a fake town in a little pop-up book or something, but i am on Earth, the same Earth with the US and Africa and Europe, and countless people going about their days, my mom maybe on a run, my dad maybe at work, and i am here walking the same 20 dirty streets each day in Montero. But every single one of us no matter how we are filling our days are of the same value and importance, and i am here because i love love love the people where ever they are in this incredibly varied earth. And I know that my message is and will be important for them whether they can accept that now or will inevitably accept it in the future because it is unchangeable truth. and all of this is in that feeling i get when i finally just look up, am startled by the clouds that remind me of the magnificance of a world where any one else can look up and see the exact same view as me, and then we eventually put out heads back down and everything about us goes back to being different. I guess my goal here is to help myself in order to help others to look up more often, up towards our Creator and remember why we are all so similar and why our goals can be the same.
It is incredible that we are so different, but so so the same. our differences are infinite, an infinite combination of spiritual elements, physical elements, environmental elements. But it is because of these differences that we all need the same thing in order to make just the inequity of life on earth with all its variances - an infinite atonement. I love reading about the laws of existence in 2 Nefi 2, about the necessity for opposition because this allows for reality (this can be understood as simply as cold does not exist without hot and vice versa) and that since reality is conditional upon opposition, reality also requires eternal laws in order to create order (because the opposite of order is chaos, chaos is devoid of meaning, and the simplest of our human emotions can convince us that our existence is full of meaning). So when you accept the reality of laws of justice, and the obvious fact that because of the conditions we live in here on earth with infinite variances and influences for good and bad, it is quite simple to accept the reality of a necessity of some sort of saving act, to satisfy law and make infinite injustices just in the end.
And of course this act is the Infinite Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. We know from Alma that the Atonement not only covers sins, but pain, sickness, temptations, afflictions - all forms of inequality, injustice, sadness. When i think of my major times of pain as well as my daily stupid frustrations, my large errors as well as my daily faults, it seems an Atonement for me alone would need to be infinite. But then to multiply myself by billions, or maybe by an infinite number depending on if the Atonement is an infinite act for numberless worlds.
Sometimes the perfection and infinity of Christ is so overwhelming to think about, that he becomes abstract, instead of a living, breathing fellow Son of God. For me sometimes it becomes so abstract that it is hard to remember the Atonement as an act of perfect love in action, instead of just a word we use. But One day recently I thought about if i would be willing to atone. And its not the same question as "would you die for a friend?" because of course i would do this in a heart beat. But to atone - even for one person - taking on every conceivable horror mental physical spiritual. No i would not be willing. But then even more, I think we often dont think about the prerequisite to atone - utter perfection. We think of perfection as in Christ is Perfect, but do we really think about what perfection is? We believe in a Gospel of process and progression. In order to become perfect one must go through a process of Consecration. This signifies that one must completely give over his will to God in perfect love for God and for others. Christ´s whole essence is energy exerted outward, he wants only for others, He can "do nothing of himself" only the will of the father. He is living and breathing self-denial and submissiveness and this is his exaltation. when i think of the word exaltation or glorification in heaven its like being a royal or something, with everything I want and resting from care. But really the exaltation and glory of Christ is complying with his Father´s will, and His will is always whatever it takes to benefit his children. So if i ask myself the question again - would i be willing to atone? (and if i am really being honest with myself) no. but more than that am i even willing to do what it takes to become qualified to atone. and my answer is a big resounding no. I want to be willing in the spirit of my testimony of God, but my body mind and natural essence fights my willingness to give over my whole and complete will to God every day. every day this is a struggle. because it takes the greatest of faith to honestly and truthfully trust that if we are completely swallowed up in the will of the father - which requires self denial, the opposite of our nature as natural men - that if we completely lose ourself we will in reality find ourself and find perfect love. Right now i am still working on the faith and courage to do this in the smallest parts of my life.
This thought process allows me to see a tiny glimpse of the pure powerful perfect love behind the Atonement, and that defines Jesus Christ.
The talk that made me cross the point of no return in my decision to go on a mission is one that my dear friend Paige sent me while she was on her mission. Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father by Neil A Maxwell. Everyone should read it because it is so beautiful, and has helped me understand with much more clarity what it means to keep my covenants as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.
I have more to say, but i am out of time, so until next time. I love you all and have a testimony of my Saviour Jesus Christ.
Love, Hermana Bingham

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