September 6, 2010

Dear Family-

It’s been a pretty awesome week and I’m really excited for the coming one. This Friday I get to go to the LA temple! One of the women who was recently baptized is doing baptisms for the dead for the first time. Since it’s her first time, and we’ve taught her, we get to go with her. We won’t be able to perform baptisms or be baptized, but we can do anything else, including performing the confirmations. I’m really excited and she is as well.

We’ve also started teaching a really cool couple lately. They were married in the temple and he served a mission, but he’s kind of slipped away. He wants to grow his testimony though and come back to church. He has a seven-year-old son and one of his motivations is that he wants to baptize his son. It’s interesting to teach people who already know all or almost all of the doctrine. We aren’t really showing them anything new. Instead, we are reminding them of the most important aspects of the Gospel and showing them how they can grow their testimonies. Last night, we taught them about the importance of prayer, studying the Book of Mormon, and partaking of the Sacrament. They agreed to start reading from the Book of Mormon and praying every day as a couple. I’m really excited to see how they progress.

One last thing: I found a really cool insight in the scriptures this week. I was studying Ephesians chapter 6 about the armor of God and I was able to apply it more personally than I have before. First is, “having your loins girt about with truth.” Our testimony is made up of what we know to be true, so we can protect our children by sharing our
testimonies with them. Second is, “having on the breastplate of righteousness.” The breastplate protects our heart, or the center of who we are. Righteousness is achieved by obedience to God’s commandments, so we can protect ourselves by being obedient. Third is having, “your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” To me, this means protecting ourselves from exhaustion. Doing the Lord’s work, in any capacity, can be exhausting, but we can prevent exhaustion by studying the Gospel. Gospel study is the first thing we do each morning as a missionary, so it is our preparation. Fourth, “above all, taking the shield of faith.” A shield protects any weakness we have. We can protect our spiritual weaknesses or doubts by relying on a firm faith that Jesus Christ is our Savior. If we don’t understand a doctrine or commandment, we can trust that it will work for our good because Christ is at the head of His Church, and He wants the best for us. Fifth, “take the helmet of salvation.” Salvation is achieved through ordinances and their accompanying covenants. We can protect our heads from unclean thoughts by remembering the covenants we have made. If we are thinking of our covenants, we are not thinking of sin. Finally take, “the sword of the Spirit.” A sword can push back enemies from yourself and others. We can similarly drive away evil influences and protect those around us by inviting the Spirit.
I hope that you are all doing well. I love you!

-Elder Emery

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