This week The Lord taught me a lot about agency.
We know that we have agency because of an event known as The Fall. It is when Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil and, in doing so were cast out of the Garden and into the world where they were subject to sin and death.
“And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of Justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.” (Alma 42: 14)
Fortunately an Atonement was made and “God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of Mercy, to appease the demands of Justice.” (Alma 42:15)
However, we know “it is by Grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23) When we repent not and experience not a mighty change of heart we cannot fully enjoy the blessings of The Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Because we may only access Our Savior and His Atonement through the principles and Ordinances of The Gospel, preformed under the correct authority, missionaries are commissioned to..
Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving The Gift of The Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.
Now this is where my lesson on agency comes into play. A missionaries role is to invite, not to convince, persuade, or force. Now matter how much I dearly love the people we teach and interact with I cannot force them to choose to follow Christ.
This week we had a service opportunity to help shear some goats! Now the first goat was older, more experienced, and for the most part was very patient as we worked to relive her of the massive amount of hair she had. She accepted what were were doing for her and was clean withing about an hour.
The second goat was much smaller, and looked like it would only take about 20 minutes to shear. But this little sucker (her name is Tempest) had never been sheared before. I’ve never heard an actual screaming goat until this week. She fought like crazy to get out of our hands and away from the shears. Eventually I sat on the ground, put her in a headlock, wrapped my legs around her and forced her to stay still.
She didn’t like that very much. As we worked to free her of her coat she moved and wiggled, and screamed. The young boy helping us accidentally cut her-badly with the shears and all because she wouldn’t accept what we were trying to offer her. Therefore she suffered the consequences.
As I reflected on this I couldn’t help thinking how much these two goats are like the people I have taught throughout my mission. Some recognize the Gospel and it’s truthfulness. They eagerly desire to reap the rewards of the Atonement and accept The Gospel and all it’s glory.
Others are like the small goat who accept the Gospel, but fight the whole way. They deny the power of the Priesthood and refuse to accept the truthfulness and the authority of The Lord’s message. I have met many of these people and developed strong relationships with several.
It breaks my heart when they do not accept The Gospel, but this week I finally realized the value of their agency.
“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (2 Nephi 2:25)
If someone chooses not to accept The Gospel now then that is within their right and power. “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” (Article of Faith 11)
We cannot give up when someone chooses to worship God differently than we do. We ought not to disregard them, cease to be their friend, or cast them aside. They are beloved Sons and Daughter of God and those I have taught who have not accepted The Gospel mean a great deal to me. I love them with all my heart, and so does Our Heavenly Father.
We all have the poer and the ability to choose, let us choose righteously! Choose good! Choose God! Choose to pray, read, and seek the will of The Lord! Only blessings will come as you do so, I promise.
I love you all and I know The Gospel of Jesus Christ is found on the Earth in it’s fullness today. It blesses my family, my friends, and my loved ones every day. i love it. I love The Lord. I love you.
Love, Sister Johnson
Here is me eating food. The cupcake was for my 6 month mark! the apple fritter was for funsies and the ice cream was because I was having a rough day and all the Elders were making fun of me. So I ate ice cream.
We found a huge covered bridge!!! As we were driving we had quite the debate on the appropriate way to receive wishes whilst crossing a covered bridge. I think you have to put your feet on the dash and sister Evenson thinks you just have to hold your breath….but my wish came true so I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to put your feet up.
We went to The Shenendoah Caverns last Monday! It was so cool!!! We were over 200 feet underground and totally would have been buried and squished if there was an earthquake. Super awesome. My favorite thing was these formations that look like Bacon. They actually call them cave bacon. It looked so good I almost licked it…but that would have been a federal offense so I didn’t…but I wanted to.
So…funny story here. We were coming home and stopped by a house. Well the post office was next to said house and outside of the post office were KITTENS. LOTS OF KITTENS. So immediately we started grabbing them and throwing them in the car to rescue them from the evils of the world. Soon we had seven cats in our car and no idea what to do with them.
So we decided to take them to the animal shelter! But we had a small problem, the animal shelter wouldn’t be open until tomorrow morning and we couldn’t take them home. We also didn’t have a box big enough for all of them to just set them outside the animal shelter.
So we made a difficult choice and kicked five of the biggest kittens out of the car and kept the smallest two. We figured they were the most likely to be adopted. Then we called a friend. She readily agreed to house the kittens for the night so we could take them to the shelter in the morning.
So the next morning we picked them up from our friends house and took them to the animal shelter. They promptly told us they didn’t have room for two adorable, young, and sweet kittens and to go put them back.
We took them back where we found them and said so long farewell. I’ll write more about this later.