I love watching conference! As I girl I always thought it was so long and boring and now I feel like it goes by too fast! It was a great Easter weekend and even more special. We got to eat lots of Bacalao (fish) with the members, and the only reason I like that is because it has my last name in it. Not just being able to watch conference and eat Bacalao is what made it a great weekend, but I truly love celebrating all that Christ has done for us.
I am grateful for the atonement of Christ. I have been giving the blessing to see the atonement work in not only my life, but the lives of so many other people this past year and a half. I truly have a testimony of the atonement and Christ love. I know he lives and because of that love, his atonement is accessible in so many ways for EACH one of us.
I have come to learn that part of our mortal experience is to learn how to access the atonement. We all access it in different ways, but the only way to truly have a testimony of Christ and his love for us is to experience the atonement in our own lives. We cannot even come close to understand what he suffered, but as we use the atonement in our lives we will feel it and the Holy Ghost will testify to us that something so unimaginable is real.
Last night we were visiting with the Gospel Principles teacher. Hermana Ida is an example of someone who really magnifies their calling. She gives assignments to those that assist her class, she calls and invites every one of them personally to attend on Sunday, she looks for new investigators and invites her neighbors to join, she worries about how we are doing and gives the best lunches, and she does all she can do to raise her two teenage boys alone. Hermana Ida is incredible!
On the outside you would never know any difficulties she has had in her life. You would never know that she is the ONLY member in her family, but despite much opposition she served a full time mission. You would never know that she was once married in the temple to a return missionary and divorced due to an affair. You would never know that she herself has fallen into the traps of the adversary and been excommunicated. You would never know, because she has accessed the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Hermana Ida is a living testimony to me that the atonement is real.
Hermana Ida told us a little bit of what has happened in her life last night and Hermana Hafen asked her `` What kept you going in the church?`` It`s not usual for someone with so many difficulties to remain so strong and still be going. She explained how she would go to church even though she was unable to partake of the sacrament and how just a year ago she got re-baptized. She told us that when all was lost she went back to the basics of the gospel, reading the Book of Mormon, daily prayer, and attending church EVERY Sunday.
I testify that as we read the Book of Mormon we are reading another testament of JESUS CHRIST himself and it will help us come unto him. I testify that as we pray fervently every day having faith in Christ our prayers will be answered. I testify that every Sunday as we sit in sacrament and give testimony that we remember Christ and his atonement he will show us just how much he NEVER forgets about us and that he never stops loving us. These things are essential to access Christ power.
We all need to pass through difficulties to gain our testimonies of Christ. Sometimes we access the atonement due to our own choices, other times we access it because of the consequences of others choices, and even the most obedient people will always need the power of the atonement. Whatever our situation is though, it`s important to know that it is ALWAYS accessible.
Take the example of the prophet Nefi. He was one of the most loyal and obedient servants of the Lord and despite this obedience he still suffered the consequences of the decisions of his un-loyal and disobedient brothers. Although, as he was tied down and harassed by his brothers he prayed, having faith in Christ, saying `` O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound.`` and when he spoke those words ``behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren, and I spake unto them again.`` (I Nephi 7:17-18). That power he received came from the atonement of Jesus Christ and a faithful prayer.
The atonement isn`t just for the obedient, Alma the younger was another prophet he wasn`t always as loyal like Nephi, but was able to become like Nephi. In the scriptures it talks about how he literally went around trying to destroy God`s church until one day an angel visited him and he felt the burden of not being loyal to the Lord. He felt the guilt of his sins saying ``And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins`` until he remember something his dad told him saying: `` concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.`` ( Alma 36:17) He then was able to pray, repent, and receive forgiveness through the power of the atonement.
No one is immune from needing the power of the atonement. The atonement helps us become well and more understanding of our Heavenly Father, his plan, and our Savior, Jesus Christ. We can learn and understand the atonement from being obedient or disobedient, but it doesn`t matter what our circumstances are, that power is always accessible; it is just a matter of how and when we will make the decision to access it.
I know Christ lives. I know that the power of the atonement is real. I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loved us before we came to this earth and that he sent his son so that we can feel of that love and one day return to him. I know that daily prayer and scripture study are essential to this plan. I am so grateful that I can participate of the sacrament every week and that I have a forgiving Heavenly Father.