"Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; and ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours."
- D&C 78:17-18
Quick note about Greensboro: All homeless people here have to be registered before they can ask for money from others. So, rest assured that you won't be giving your charity to just any old Joe Schmoe panhandler: you'll be giving it to a registered panhandler.
We had three different investigator groups at church yesterday, including Benton, a man who is set to be baptized on the 28th. He basically fell into our laps and is ridiculously well-prepared. For example, he's the first investigator I've ever had who's read Jesus the Christ by Talmage.
The scripture at the top of this email was shared by a member of the bishopric in testimony meeting last Sunday. It happened to be exactly what I needed at the time and has really made an impression in my thoughts.
There is a sister in my ward who is called "The Queen of Physics" because of her highly acclaimed and renowned work on synthetic diamonds. When I met this particular sister, I was fascinated to hear about it. Though I didn't hear the specifics, I find it extremely cool that humans have the capability to artificially create something like a diamond.
It got me to thinking. As we all know, normally a diamond is made when carbon, one of the most common substances on this planet, undergoes massive heat and pressure. This heat and pressure turns the otherwise worthless carbon into something beautiful to behold, harder than anything else, and of great value. This sister is famous because she can make precious diamonds out of lowly carbon.
Compare this, then, to our Heavenly Father, who has told us that His work and His glory is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." It is His glory that He can take something as weak as a human soul and make it into something like Him. As a perfect being, it is His glory that He can make other perfect beings.
But it is difficult, though. Just like it takes enormous heat and pressure to make a diamond, the process of becoming like God is enormously difficult. So difficult, in fact, that of the billions of individuals to have attempted it, only one, out of all of God's children throughout eternity, has ever managed to do it on His own.
Our Heavenly Father told us that mortality would be hard. We would face things beyond our ability to overcome by ourselves. This is why a Savior was necessary. Not only would He redeem us, but He wouldstrengthen us. The promise was made that these challenges we faced would not defeat us, but help us grow. We would become stronger by overcoming challenges and passing through tests. This is the only way to become like Heavenly Father. A diamond cannot become a diamond without heat and pressure.
On my mission I have encountered problems and struggled with things. The Lord assures us that we might not be able to bear all things now, but we will, someday. When we were toddlers, it was a struggle for us to walk more than a few steps. Now we can do it with ease. Similarly, the temptations and weaknesses that give me so much trouble today will someday no longer be a struggle for me. The Atonement rescues us and sets us free, and provides the strength to overcome, an inch at a time, until we have become what our Father in Heaven wants us to be.
These were the thoughts that went through my mind at sacrament meeting. I am so grateful for the growth I have experienced on my mission and I look forward to the changes I will yet go through during this final third. Life is a wonderful and beautiful thing, isn't it?
I want you to know that I know the Atonement is true. I have felt the Savior's strength in very direct and special ways this last week. I am so grateful for it.
Love you all. Hurrah for Israel!