We had a multi-zone conference with Elder Zwick of the Seventy this past week. It was incredible!! I learned so much and came away feeling so uplifted! Also, fun fact. Sister Zwick went to Shorecrest when it was new. Elder and Sister Zwick sat at our table for lunch and it was fun to get to know them. Most of what was talked about centered on the Atonement and how we can really change ourselves. President James talked about goals and how a good goal can change everything. When we set goals, we have faith that we will be able to accomplish what we have set out to do and we take steps to make that happen. That is a similar process to applying the Atonement. When we have a vision of who we want to become, we must first have faith that Jesus Christ can help us get there. His Atonement does not only cover our sins, it covers everything. Christ has personally experienced everything we go through, from something as simple as being sick to the tragedy of a heartbreak.
Sister Zwick's talk really struck me. She shared a story from when they were in Mexico. While watching a group of people come to the temple, she noticed that everyone from a certain village had a distinct way of greeting people. These people speak a Mayan dialect that she did not understand. She asked the temple president what they were saying. Their greeting translated to "how is your heart?" She then talked about assessing the condition of our hearts daily. Are our hearts pointed to Christ? Do we have His words written on our hearts? Have the covenants we made become a part of who we are in our hearts? When our hearts are changed through Christ's Atonement, we are never the same. The ultimate end of the Atonement is to change us, to make us better. Sister Zwick pointed out that the story of Alma the Younger and his mighty change of heart is located in the chronological center of the Book of Mormon. Similarly, our hearts and the ability to change them are at the center of our lives. Christ's Atonement should be the centerpiece of our lives. When we allow Him to change our hearts, we become better and closer to the person our Heavenly Father wants us to be.
We taught Eric about the Word of Wisdom this week and he wasn't sure that it was for everyone. He understood that living the Word of Wisdom will help keep people healthy and prevent addictions, but he said that some people can drink coffee every day and be totally fine. I had the thought that Heavenly Father does not give commandments with exceptions. His commandments apply to all of His children equally. The commandments are given to bless us and protect us and He wants that for all of his children. The prophet reveals God's commandments for all of His children, not just for members of the Church. Everyone, whether or not they belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is blessed by following God's commandments.
Sorry this is a fairly short email this week, hopefully I will have more to talk about next week.