Week 9–Peace out Provo

In less than 24 hours I will be out of the MTC.  This morning we said goodbye to Elder Vera Ovejero who is heading off to France.  In an hour we’ll say goodbye to Elder Glenn, heading to England, and then at 1:00 we’ll see off the Singapore missionaries Elders Allen, Yu, Olsen, and Boud.  The Canada and California missionaries leave tomorrow morning at 4:00 and then the rest of us leave at 5:00.  Pretty crazy.  Our MTC zone sends Chinese speaking missionaries to 26 different missions around the world.  In just two days we’ll be sending people to Singapore, Taiwan, Canada, California, France, and England, all speaking Chinese.  It’s awesome.

So if you recall back to my first email I sent out I said we got to hear from Elder Bednar, one of the twelve apostles.  A while back Elder Anderson came as well.  This last Tuesday we were able to hear from Elder Christofferson.  AND THEN last night Elder Ballard came.  So not only were we visited by 4 Apostles over the 9 weeks here at the MTC, our first and last MTC devotionals were Apostles!  Extraordinary.
Anyways, I don’t have a lot of time to email today since I have to finish packing.  The past few days have been pretty great, yesterday I was able to teach a lesson on Faith in Jesus Christ in His Atonement.  I would like to say a thing or two about faith that I learned while preparing for it.  The prophet Brigham Young said, “I have faith in my God, and that faith corresponds with the works I produce.  I have no confidence in faith without works.”  He goes on to make a promise, “If the people will only be full of good works, I will insure that they will have faith in time of need.”  Consistent good works strengthens our faith.  In order for our faith to lead to miracles, we must have good works.  We must be doing all we can be doing.  Brigham Young also taught, “When a person is placed in circumstances that he cannot possibly obtain one particle of anything to sustain life, it would then be his privilege to exercise faith in God to feed him, who might cause a raven to pick up a piece of dried meat from some quarter where there was plenty, and drop it over the famishing man.  When I cannot feed myself through the means God has placed in my power, it is then time enough for him to exercise his providence in an unusual manner to administer to my wants.  But while we can help ourselves, it is our duty to do so.”  I would like to add to the end of that, but while we can help others, it is our duty to do so.  God has given us power to accomplish many things.  He has given us the means to not only feed ourselves but also feed others, physically, spiritually, mentally, whatever it may be.  We must do our part and perform good works, not only to help strengthen our faith, but to show our God that we have it.
The last thing I would like to point out about faith is that it is meaningless and powerless if it is not directed towards something.  We can have faith in the idea of faith, but that is empty.  We must have faith in our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement.  We must trust that through Him we can return to our Heavenly Father.  Through Him we can overcome any challenge that lies before us and find relief from any sorrow.  It isn’t through determination, sheer will power, or good planning that we can become better people, that we can become disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is ONLY through Faith in Him and His Atonement.  That faith leads to repentance and change.  That faith teaches us to love all of God’s children.  Having faith is essential.  I’m striving to strengthen mine and I challenge you all to seek to develop yours.  Have a desire to believe, then experiment on the word of God, keep His commandments, and your faith will grow.  I know that to be true.
God is good.  I thank Him daily for sending me to Taiwan.  Wish me luck out there!  I love you all.
-Elder Councill