North Carolina Charlotte Mission

Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are your brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee. -Alma 31:35

Sunday, May 26, 2013

4/1/13 "I can break these cuffs!"

"I can break these cuffs!"
"You can't break those cuffs."

(I chose this because one of our neighbors got the cops called on him the other day.)
Ooooh, buddy! Conference is coming up! So excited!

Have you all filled out your brackets? One little game I always love to play at Conference time is to try and guess which Apostles will speak at which sessions. (Guessing when the First Presidency will speak doesn't count!) It's a fun game to play, but to do well at it you have to have a good memory of who's spoken at what time for the last few conferences. For example, I think it's highly likely that we're going to hear from President Packer in the Priesthood session and Elder Holland in the Saturday morning session. You fill out your guesses and see how close you get.
Well, it's been a crazy week. We got back in contact with Brother Johnson, a man that I've taught for three months who disappeared since Stake Conference. We took our new investigator Shane on a tour of the church and invited him to Conference. We had a couple of good lessons with Brother Green, and we're going to have a huge one with him tonight when we try and figure out what his holdup is.
This week has also seen the advent of a new member lesson, pitched to me by Elder Risenmay. He would read to the family Alma 50, which is Captain Moroni preparing the Nephite cities, fortifying them against Lamanite attack. So, while he's doing this, I draw a picture of the member family in the center of a piece of paper, with marauding Lamanites coming at them from each corner.

The Lamanites are things that attack the family: contention, media, over-scheduling, whatever. Then, I begin to draw in the fortifications, namely heaps of earth, wooden fence, pickets, towers -- things that protect the family, like family home evening or priesthood. I get a real kick out of it, since my drawing skills have been mostly shelved during my mission thus far, and the members get a kick out of it too. Especially when I draw the dad so that he looks really buff.
Since there are currently five missionaries living in our apartment, we are in desperate need of personal, creative lessons to teach the members. I send a shout out to everyone out there to help supply us with clever object lessons that we can show the kids. Anything would be appreciated :)
It has been interesting for me, being here in Charlotte, to see the approach of Easter. I've seen enormous advertisements, noted large crosses with fabric draped over them, and seen all manner of hype around it. I'm very glad that they celebrate this sacred day and pay it honor. I note, however, that despite all the churches here, despite their size and grandeur, despite all the things they've done to try and lure people in and boost their attendance, the sad fact remains that Easter is one of two days in the year when mainstream Christian people really go to church. 
I truly truly have loved Easter. Like so many other things, it has taken on a special meaning for me now that I am on a mission.
I have thought and puzzled and prayed, and it has come to me that the very greatest question of life is:
"If a man die, will he live again?"

The truth is, you will never truly know until you die. I fully believed our Heavenly Father intended it that way. If He gave us any hints of what would come afterward, or if He made it obvious that death was not the end, then there would have been no meaning in this test that we are now going through. There has to be an incredible doubt around what comes after death. There has to be no way of really knowing. If not, there could be no faith. We must be kept from a perfect knowledge so that we can have faith. If we have faith, we can be tested.
I read Jesus the Christ by Elder James E. Talmage in January. Something I read in there gave me the idea that the Savior had perfect faith. As part of the Savior's particular test in mortality, He had to go about with the knowledge that He could do anything if He wanted to, but He couldn't. He could easily have called down angels to help him; He could have easily turned stone into bread; He could have easily come down from the cross, but He didn't.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Savior Himself did not have an absolute, perfect knowledge that there was life after death. He had complete faith that there was a God, and that He was the Son of God, and that He would thus be able to come back to life after He died...but I am led to believe that He didn't know all this. His faith was just so strong, His confidence so sure, that we can't really tell the difference by looking at it. Despite this lack of complete knowledge -- as I see it, this is the Gospel according to Elder Fisher here -- He never once turned to self-indulgence. He never once gratified himself, instead going through with the whole Plan of Salvation, suffering and dying for us. He was willing to bet His whole life on faith.

The message of Easter is that, if a man dies, he shall live again. For when the third day came, the disciples found an empty tomb, and heard the angels proclaim, "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here; for He is risen!"

Easter is the great celebration, the time where we remember that the Savior conquered death, and because of that, death need not make us afraid. Families are eternal, and death is not the end. We may not come to a perfect knowledge of such things, but we may come to a perfect faith of them.

I add my witness to those recorded in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and those given by the modern-day prophets. Families can live together forever through Heavenly Father's Plan. Death is not the end. I know this to be true.

I love you all, and I still pray for you. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

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