Date

October 6, 2015

Area

Provo, UT, USA

Companion

Elder Gabriel Battazato

Week 5 - Last week at MTC

This week has been kind of bitter sweet. We as a distinct will only have only 6 more days at the MTC and in the United States and then I will be 5300 miles away from home in a foreign country trying to talk to the natives

Well, I'll start with what happened this week

We were visited by Claudio R.M. Costa of the Quorum of the 70 spoke to us, He spoke about superheroes and real heroes. As a child he would always go to the movies on the weekend to watch his favorite superhero movies and how he loved just watching them beat the bad guys at the end and being bold and full of justice, but that's just that they were fictional not real, intangible beings who give up their lives to save others... he then said that we are his superheroes. We who are called to give up two years with family and friends so that others can be with their friends and family for all eternity. He also told us that we could teach the Gospel of Christ to people but we will never figure out how we actually changed that person’s life till we meet up again on the other side of the veil. “You can count the seeds in one apple but you can’t count the apple trees that will come of those seeds." I realized this is my life. Some missionaries met my parents about 25 or more years ago and I've been raised in church and I will carry on their legacy and teach other families who will hopefully carry on the gospel... this really touched me spiritually and I felt honored for this.

I believe it was the night before, I prayed to my Heavenly Father above and I got this overwhelming feeling of extreme doubt and great inequity and that I wasn't good enough and that I wouldn't be able to accomplish a single thing and all the mistakes that I had made came back to my remembrance and I felt unworthy to be a representative of our Savior Jesus Christ, even though I had long ago repented and I felt and had known I was forgiven of these deeds. At that moment, I felt virtually and spiritually alone. I asked one of our branch leaders for a blessing of comfort to get rid of this overwhelming feeling I was having. I needed something to help me know I have a strong foundation that I was not alone on this mission and that The Savoir would be with me through ever step.

My Branch leader decided that he wouldn't be the right person to do it and that I should ask my companion and my district to get together. I asked my companion Elder Battezzato if he would be okay with giving me a blessing in English, not Italian, and he obliged. Elder Battezzato told the branch to get together so they could give me a blessing and I felt the power of brotherhood and love from my district that I've never felt before as they laid their hands upon my hand, while they were mostly in pajamas, but nevertheless, they still participated in a circle. Elder Battezzato started and I started just weeping. Those who have seen me in extremely spiritual moments would know that I’m a baby with holding back my tears and they seem to just flow without cease. He told me, "God will always be with you and the adversary will try his mightiest to stop you from bearing the truth of this message and will try and make you doubt everything. The adversary is real and will try and make you give up. He knows your heart and mind and will try and stop that from teaching the people about Jesus Christ." Elder Battezzato spoke more words but I really can’t remember them to save my life but I felt like a weight had been lifted from my chest and shoulders, as if Christ took my "yoke upon" himself. Elders Warner and Nelson took me aside and talked about that they have had some of the same experiences. How they felt alone and that they were not good enough and that the sins they had been forgiven for, were still stains on them but they all told me that if they could overcome it, I definitely would be able to. I love the missionaries in my district.

I told my MTC teacher my experience and he asked me to have a question with me when we would watch general conference. I was reflecting on a poem by William Ernest Henley, called Invictus

Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning’s of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.

How could I be the master of my fate, the captain of my soul?
I also found these scriptures which are very similar
Psalms 23:4 and 2 Nephi 22:2

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation.

In general conference Larry R. Lawrence of the Quorum of the 70 gave a talk in the Saturday morning session, where he spoke of the rich young ruler and his encounter with Jesus Christ. Matthew 19: 16-22

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
He saith unto Him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

The rich ruler was keeping all of the commandments and once he asked Christ himself "what lack I yet" the Savior told him to get rid of all of his possession and give it to the poor and follow him, but he was prideful of his possessions and didn't want to truly follow the guidance of Jesus Christ. Brother Lawrence then taught when we ask of God of what to change; we cannot just not follow His guidance because we are prideful of our situation or are reluctant to change, when we ask God "what lack I yet", we should be willing and humble to accept whatever criticisms we receive. This hit me and answered my question. How can I be the captain of my fate and my captain of my soul. I need to be led by God and by His Spirit and then I could be able to act without influence of the advisory. I "will fear no evil, for thou art with me " and the " Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song" and " my salvation".

Our Sunday devotional was visited by Vocal Point, Brigham Young University's premiere 9-man a cappella ensemble. They sang this rendition of Nearer My God to Thee and it was beautiful. I think you should watch it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyxXGdG3-Io

Love,
Elder D. Dakota Stephens
France Lyon Mission
Sept 2015 - Sept 2017




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