Posted by: rusch | August 5, 2006

Letter To Nathan

I wrote this letter to my Brother. I am more then happy to share it with all of you here and “The Truth”. Pretty much this sums up what I think the gospel is and about and my feelings about serving others. Hope you enjoy.

-Chris-

Dear Elder Rusch,

Months ago I thought about writing a long paper full of wisdom about what to do as a missionary. It must have been deleted or couldn’t be found which is good, because the “epistle” was not very good. I was not where I am now in my spiritual journey, and I don’t think you want seven single spaced typed pages. I hope that you will settle for however long this ends up being.

The last word of the last sentence is significant, being. During the past couple of years, being born again has been something that I have tirelessly studied. Jesus said in the New Testament:

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).

Alma the younger was in torment following the appearance of an Angel warning him that unless he repented, he was going to be cast off. After being delivered from torment, the Lord told him:

Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God (Mosiah 27: 25-27).

These scriptures, and many others, make it clear that the point of the Gospel is not merely doing good works, but to change men and women into holly beings that are able to receive the God’s glory and live in his presence. The question then is not what are you doing, but through your actions what are you becoming.

A mission serves two purposes. The first is preaching the Gospel and bringing people to Christ. First and foremost this should be your focus and the focus of all those who labor as missionaries. No young man should be sent on a mission to be reformed; reformation and repentance that should take place before he leaves.

The second purpose, perhaps unstated and indirect, is to in part bring about this change in the lives of those who serve. Dedicated Charitable service will change a person and make them more Christ-like, then anything else. A mission most definitely falls under the umbrella of dedicated Christ-like service. Rest assured, there will be plenty more opportunities throughout your life to render Christian service to others. While working with God’s children in such a sacred work, one cannot help but have their hearts touched.

Elder Henry B. Eyering has said:

But remember: the things we do are the means, not the end we seek. What we do allows the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change us into what we must be. Our faith in Jesus Christ brings us to repentance and to keeping His commandments. We obey and we resist temptation by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. In time our natures will change. We will become as a little child, obedient to God and more loving. That change, if we do all we must to keep it, will qualify us to enjoy the gifts which come through the Holy Ghost (Henry B. Eyering. As a child. Ensign, May, 2006).

Everything that we do in the Church is not an end but means unto an, that end being the Eternal life of God’s Children, our brothers and sisters.

Then end or purpose of missionary work is not merely for a person to be baptized, but to put them on the course of life long conversion, of becoming more like Christ through the Atonement. For all of us to be as the Greek translation of Matthew 5:48 says to be whole, complete, fully developed, lacking nothing (see footnotes to Mathew 5:48. Greek footnotes are labeled GR).

Always remember that the Atonement is the Gospel. Without it, nothing else matters. Without it, no program or auxiliary could stand on its’ own.

On the way home, Mom asked me if I was prepared to serve a mission. I frankly answered that I was not. I believe that my mission was at the end of an era. An era where every young man was to serve, and where the resources that missionaries use were not readily available to the general membership of the Church. I guess the thinking on the part of many local leaders was that if we can just get a young man to stay worthy to serve through high school, then everything else would be taken care of.

Count it a great blessing that there are mission preparation classes and of all things, be thankful for Preach My Gospel. I used it at EFY and it is an amazing resource. The old materials were like a twenty caliber rifle. Preach My Gospel is a howitzer in comparison.

You are more prepared then any of your brothers when we left to serve.

Well, there is not much more to say that has not already been said by any other member of our family or President Weiler.

Take care. Be obedient. And not only be a missionary, but seek to become a disciple of the Savior. While it may not seem like it now, missions come to an end. But discipleship and conversion of the self and others is a lifelong endeavor.

In conclusion consider the words of Moroni the last prophet of the Book of Mormon.
He said:

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot (Moroni 10:32-33).

Seek to come unto Christ. Seek to bring others unto Christ. That is the whole point of what we should be doing.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


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