Monday, March 28, 2016

How Beautiful Upon the Mountains are the Feet of Him that Bringeth Good Tidings

Dear Mom,

So to help you out with your seminary request for teaching Isaiah 53--

From what I have observed, most new converts to the church who truly embrace the church and its teaching enjoy a newfound sense of identity. Beforehand, many don’t understand their true relationship with God, that they are his literal spirit children. Many also do not understand their purpose on this Earth---they think that Adam and Eve messed up big time in the Garden of Eden and that we're now living under God's B plan (as if God just wanted us to come to Earth so we could worship him endlessly, and that his plan was somehow ruined).

Without restored gospel truth, I have seen that most people here live their life believing that we are either hopeless (so why bother trying), or they think that Jesus Christ's role was to allow us to be lazy here on Earth (i.e. "We're all saved anyway, hallelujah, now I can do whatever I want.").

Both lifestyles are contrary to happiness, When people accept the message we have to share, and align their lives with the commandments, they begin to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, and start to understand and experience true, eternal happiness. 

This understanding of our divine identity and this happiness are often forgotten when people are not 100% converted. Many become caught up in the routine of church (teaching lessons, planning activities, fasting, etc.), and don't remember the reason behind everything we do, which is Jesus Christ. 

When Isaiah talks about beautiful feet on mountaintops, he is talking about His (Christ's) feet. However, we can all experience a little bit of what this scripture is talking about through missionary work. 

It's important to notice that, the phrase "beautiful feet" isn’t literal. Jesus was described as a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief ---- not one you'd find on the cover of Hollywood magazines. Interestingly, my feet are pretty disgusting as a result of missionary work, I’ve got about three warts on the big toe of my right foot that I’ve been dealing with for about three weeks now (don’t worry, I’m treating it). I also had tons of different sores. Back when I used to wear the closed toed sandals, my feet got weird tiger-striped tan lines. I’m also getting over some sort of allergic reaction that I had during the week which gave me red rashes all over my body, including my feet, and my left foot also got a little swollen (don’t worry, I’m also treating that too).

So, we're not talking about a physical kind of beauty, but there is something really special about helping people to understand the same gospel truths that you know. My favorite converts are L--and M-- . Elder A-- and I taught them just as we would any of our other investigators, but they accepted the gospel so fully. They are now married and making preparations to go to the temple. I’ve heard that L-- also has 3 callings in his Branch now.

Once while I was visiting Cococodji to do a baptismal interview, I ran into M--, she was so happy to see me and kept saying, "Hey it's Elder Walls, it's because of him that I found the church!"  Which, I suppose is partly true, I helped in the process, but Jesus Christ is the true Shepherd. 

It's very fulfilling to be a part of His work. Hopefully, one day we'll all stand side by side on the mountaintops together. I'm sure his feet will outshine ours by a long run!

Hope that helps you Mom!
Elder Walls

PS My letter to the family keeps getting erased--so frustrating! I haven't gone to the doctor again--I've been kind of focused on this allergic reaction I have had this week. It is very irritating! After about 15 days of being on the amoxicillin (for the other problem I was having), I broke out in this full body rash. I don't know what is going on with my body. We did that allergy testing before I left for Africa which specifically said I was not allergic to penicillin, so I don't know what my body is reacting to. I will try to get a check up appointment soon. Love you!

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