This past week was good. We had a Zone Conference with Elder Packer of the seventy which was awesome. He laid down the law and helped me get some aspects of missionary work into a better perspective which I'm grateful for.
I was really grateful for this past week in Oxford. It's my last week here and it was a blast! To be honest when I first arrived here with Elder Acosta we had very little work to do and it was very hard. I was happy to see how the area has grown and I pray that the new missionaries will continue to improve and help others come closer to Christ.
At church they asked me to give somewhat of a departure testimony/talk which I was happy to do. The last time I gave a talk was when I served in Pittsfield and it was absolutely terrible. I did not prepare because I was a missionary and I thought that meant I could get up and give a great talk without preparation. It was a stupid idea. Anyway I put a bit more time into preparing and I thought it went well. I even made someone cry haha. I think I'll just tell you what I talked about and then be done with my letter.
As far as determining my topic I was reminded of the prophet Jacob who said "for why not speak of the Atonement of Christ and attain a perfect knowledge of him" (Jacob 4:12)
Many people use the phrase "Apply the Atonement" it's not a phrase that's used in Scripture and rarely is the time ever taken to explain the how of the application. It's like being given medicine to cure a disease and not knowing whether you're supposed to ingest it, take it through an IV or apply it as a cream, etc. Without that knowledge it doesn't do us any good.
A phrase that is commonly used in the Scriptures and I believe holds the same meaning as "apply the Atonement" is "Come unto Christ" (Moroni 10:32) when I discovered that it was very revelatory for me because our purpose as missionaries is to "invite others to come unto Christ...". In other words we invite people to apply the Atonement in their life. The best part is that the rest of our purpose teaches us how to apply the atonement. It is through "Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end" (PMG, 1) as we focus on developing and acquiring these principles and ordinances we are able to apply the atonement.
Ultimately "enduring to the end" is the faithful observance of the other four points of focus and it all culminates with the reception of the holy ghost "which bringeth sanctification because of [our] yielding our hearts to God" (Helaman 3:35) If we aren't feeling that sanctification then take a step back and look at the preceding ordinance: baptism, or for those who have been baptized it is partaking of the sacrament. What is wrong with our participation in that ordinance that hinders our receptiveness to that Spirit?
If we struggle with feelings of worthiness or doubt in partaking of the sacrament then take a step back and repent or change your life to be in greater harmony with Christ's teachings. Then proceed with assurance that you are worthy to partake of the sacrament.
If we recognize the need for repentance in our lives but lack the conviction to make the change then remember that faith is unto repentance. As the prophet Samuel said "And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins," (Helaman 14:13). When we struggle with repentance take a step back and work on developing your faith! Paul understood the importance of faith as he resolutely testified "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians4:13). Faith is the first building block of our testimony. If you struggle to have Faith then find whatever desire is within you and "let it work within you until you can give place for a portion of [the scriptures]" (Alma 32;27)
As we focus on these principles and ordinances I know that they will lead to the development of Christlike attributes and ultimately life eternal (Moroni 8:25-26).
I hope that makes sense and that it will help you gain a better understanding of how to "apply the atonement"
Elder Trevon Turley
Thanks so much for sharing your son with us! He has been a great missionary and we have really enjoyed having him in the Oxford Ward! He's been fun! Even if he does have to give me a hard time about my beloved Utes. I'm a big Utah fan and that is always one of the first questions I ask the missionaries from out west. Where does your allegiance lie? When he first got here, he didn't really have an allegiance. Now I think he does. Even if it's just to get at me!
The Burt family