Sunday, August 7, 2016

Fwd: The Atonement

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: jen blackwell
Date: Sun, Aug 7, 2016 at 6:45 AM
Subject: The Atonement

My dear friends,
A little over a year ago I was sustained as the Stake Primary President. It was, as is often the case, a calling I never anticipated and it stretches me in ways that I feel not so comfortable. ( a few of you may understand that feeling, eh!) while I am lacking in many areas of my calling- at least that's how I feel most of the time- when I asked the Lord "why me?" I received a very clear impression. My calling had to do with two areas of focus- inclusion for our special needs children and preparing for future service opportunities with an emphasis on missions. This coming Saturday is an activity that I had an immediate vision of at that time...we are having a morning with the missionaries, a mini MTC for all the senior primary children in the stake. The children will learn about dress and grooming, modesty, recognizing the spirit, health and nutrition and relationships. The missionaries in our zone will be the teachers and we even have our wonderful mission president and his awesome companion speaking and attending! Your prayers for the success of this activity would be appreciated.
As I visited with our zone leaders, I felt so strongly that the two areas of focus for this morning with the missionaries should be personal worthiness/preparation and a desire to serve...and that desire should be across a lifetime, at all time, in all things, in all places.
As I've been pondering this more, I had another thought and it's one I felt to share. These children come from all sorts of backgrounds, situations, abilities...just like all of you. And all of the people you meet each day. Some will come from not so supportive homes. But they all can make progress and serve. 
I thought of the people you meet and teach, how big of changes some must make. I marvel at the firesides at the testimonies. Such incredible life changes. Part of the reason they are able to make those changes is because they feel your belief in them and through that they are able to feel our Savior's love and access His Atonement in their lives. You teach them to 'own' the good part. That they are not chained to previous mistakes or challenges. You teach them to be true to themselves, and that they can be their best self. I am praying for those of you serving in my stake to help the young ones you meet this Saturday to find confidence in their best self and how to access the Atonement for all the mistakes we ALL make along the way.
I have confidence in each of you reading this that you strive to help others access and utilize the Atonement. That you believe they can be their best self and progress towards exaltation. That they are not chained to their pasts.
But what about you? 
Do you teach others to have confidence and that the Lord loves them, while not fully accessing that in your own lives? The most powerful missionaries I know are ones who humbly know in their hearts they are loved...and forgiven. Their personalities vary from shy, quiet souls to the ringleaders with boisterous laughs. That part doesn't matter. What matters is the heart. What matters is owning the Touch of the Master's Hand in your life. Not just teaching others to recognize and accept it, but living it in a way that others feel it by your actions, along with hearing your words. WE are the ones who limit ourselves when we label ourselves. You work hard to help investigators change their personal perspective, I invite you to look at your own self talk and raise your game. At dinner last night, we ended up in a conversation about how we all have different interests, abilities, talents and one elder quickly shared about how impressed he was by his new companions talent...which led to an impromptu musical number on our very less than in tune piano. I was impressed with both these young men during that interaction. One for sharing his talent, the other for showing Christlike love - the look on his face while his companion played was inspiring. 
We also talked about some Mormon Messages when they shared a spiritual message before they left, and "the refiner's Fire" came up. My closing thought to you is to look inside yourself. Own the beauty of how the refiner is working in your life and as you do, I promise other's will see it...and through you, will see Him.
Have faith, have hope, live like His Son. Help others on their way.
Much love and prayers,

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