Hey everyone! So I forgot to mention in the last e-mail that it was about -15 degrees Celsius while I was writing it, ha ha! These last two weeks have been extremely cold. It warmed up a few degrees this past week, but that allowed it to snow, and we got absolutely dumped on.
One member in our little branch said that it hadn't snowed like this since the 70's. So yeah, lots of snow. I don't think I'll ever see a morning in Chernigov where Elder Neuffer and I go outside to run--because of all the snow. Looks like we'll keep doing stair-runs in our 14-story building!
Today we went to an 800-year-old church that had been converted into a museum after it got a few bombs dropped on it during WWII. It's ridiculous how old this city is! It has maybe the most historical significance of any city in Ukraine besides Kyiv, so that's fun for a historian like me.
This week I was able to bear my testimony during sacrament meeting, and it was a sweet experience. The scriptures often talk about how the Lord uses the weak to show His strength, and I'm delighted to say that I can fulfill those words.
Yesterday, I was making an extra effort to study charity or the pure love of Christ. I try to work on developing charity every day because it's a lifelong pursuit, but yesterday I focused even more on it and combined my studies with fasting. I've known for a while that charity is a gift from God--not something that man can simply produce by himself.
In both Moroni 7: 48 and 2 Nephi 4: 21, it says that we can be "filled" with the love of God. Sometimes we ask in prayer every day to be filled with charity, but we feel like nothing is changing. I believe this is because we are already filled with something else.
Let's compare ourselves to a glass. Sometimes we ask for God to fill us with His love, but we feel like nothing is happening. Is God not answering our prayers? In this circumstance, I believe that God is pouring His water into our glasses, but it never enters because our glass is already filled with sand!
What is this sand? Personally, I believe that the sand is everything that has to do with the self--or selfishness. As long as we are filled and caught up with the self, we cannot have charity because charity is God's love for the children of men, and while we are filled with ourselves there is no room for anyone else. We must make room in our glasses by forgetting ourselves. We must get rid of our selfishness. We must get rid of the sand. When this sand is gone, we will finally have room for God to fill us with charity.
We all know that the sand and water cannot both occupy the same space (Matthew 6:24). We only have enough room for the water as we've freed up by getting rid of sand. So if you're asking God to fill you with His love, my humble advice to you is to start digging because as long as you're full of sand, God's love can't possibly fit in your glass.