The Character of Christ

Jul 28, 2014

The Character of Christ

I can’t believe another week has gone by this fast. It is the weirdest feeling to think about what I was doing this morning and then realizing five minutes later that that was two days ago. The first three days felt just as long as the next ten.

Well the devotional on Tuesday was pretty good, Stanley G. Ellis of the Seventy spoke along with his wife and eight of his nine children spoke as well. They all served missions, except Sister Ellis, and they all went to Brazil, Portugal, or France, except the daughter who is out right now is in South Korea. It was a great message, about being obedient. Before the devo, Elder Ridenour and I were going to go to the choir practice and then sing in the choir for the devo. But there was so many people and many passed us in the huge mob of a line, that when we got about twenty people away, they said that there was no more seats for the choir members, and so we didn’t get to sing in the choir even though we spent an hour in line. It was a little frustrating, but I think that it was time well spent, because Elder Ridenour is the quietest member in our district and I got some time to get to know him a little better.

Since we are about to go out into the mission field our teachers have been asking us what some of our favorite parts of being in the MTC were, and I said how I loved the devos, and then this Sunday I got to go to three! There was a departure devo. from the MTC Presidency, and they gave us a lot of practical advice, including that we will become someone’s “missionary” out in the field, and how important it is for us to stay active in the Church after our mission. President Hacking told a story about how one of his converts, forty years after he baptized her lost her parents, and needed some comfort. So her husband looked up her “missionary” to give her some comfort. He said that he was so glad that he didn’t have to say something about how he was so sorry but that he wasn’t an active member anymore and how that would have done irreparable damage to this Sister. I guess I never thought how I could still have an impact on the people I meet in the field 40 years after my mission.

Then we had the Sunday night Devotional and it was exceptional. Stephen B. Allen was one of the funniest speakers that I have ever heard. But first thing he did was ask how many times we had read the Book of Mormon, and we found out that the missionary who had read it the most times had read it 38 times! That’s a lot of reading. Probably the things that I will remember most from him was to pray for charity, and to resist the temptation to be stupid. I might have a challenge with that one, but I’m going to try my best.

The last one was a film that is only shown at the MTC. It is a devotional that Elder David A. Bednar gave on Christmas some years ago for the MTC. It’s called the Character of Christ. It was one of the most amazing experiences that I have ever had. He clearly explains that the character of Christ is that He turns outward, when any of us would have turned inward. When He was exhausted, worn out, mentally and physically after fasting forty days and forty nights Christ is tempted of the Devil three times, but Elder Bednar said it was only one temptation. It was for Him to deny who he was, as a Son of God, and to turn inward. But He didn’t. Then in Matthew 4:11 it says that angels ministered unto him. Elder Bednar said that this is only right, that at this very low point in the Savior’s life that He should get some comfort from on High, but then he said that this verse is translated incorrectly. He says that in the JST it tells us that Jesus learned John the Baptist was in prison and sent angels to comfort him. The Savior turned outward. Then when he suffers in the Garden of Gethsemane and He asks His three chief apostles to watch one hour, and they fail three times. Elder Bednar says that surely the Lord is a little disappointed, and then he is betrayed by another of one of His closest friends with a kiss. Then He is about to be taken and there is a little scuffle and a guard loses an ear. Elder Bednar says that it is amazing to him how the Lord cared about this man’s ear after all He went through. He just took on Him all the sins of the world, bled from every pore, was disappointed and betrayed, and he cared about someone who should have been his enemy. Elder Bednar says if he was there he wouldn’t have cared at all about someone’s ear! The Savior had every right to turn inward and think about Himself, but He didn’t. Elder Bednar also talked a lot about Mosiah 3:19 and that our whole goal on our mission is to put off the natural man and do as this verse says, but if we think about ourselves it won’t happen. We have to be converted, defined as turning away from the natural man, to Christ. Anyway it was a fabulous talk and it was really life changing. And then as I was saying my evening prayer, the thought came into my head, that after all of these amazing devotionals that were so life changing, the Sacrament was still the best part of my day, and if I had to pick between watching Elder Bednar’s talk and taking the Sacrament it was the Sacrament all the way.

Something that I have been pondering is what my teacher said to me a few days ago. He said he was confused when people say that they feel such an amazing Spirit here at the MTC. He said why can’t we feel that Spirit all the time. I have really been thinking about it and the only conclusion I can come to is that it is because my entire day is filled with uplifting and spiritual things.

Another great experience that I had on Saturday was giving a blessing with my companion, Elder Topham to a Sister in our district. She said she just needed some comfort and that she was feeling troubled about some stuff. The night before Elder Topham and I realized that we never extended the offer of a blessing to any of the Sister’s if they needed or wanted one so we did the next day. This blessing was something that I have never before experienced. When I gave the only other blessing I have ever given I was so worried what I was going to say and was stressing out that I couldn’t hear the Spirit telling me what to say so I wasn’t saying much of anything. Well this time I really did what the Scriptures said. I opened my mouth and it was filled. I just started talking and, amazingly, words just spilled out. At times I paused thinking ok, what do I say next, and I couldn’t think of anything. So I just started talking again, and as more words came. I knew that there was no way that this was coming from me and I knew it was what God wanted this Sister to hear. It was one of the greatest experiences that I think that I have ever had. I just felt so honored to be a part of it, and to get a glimpse at what Heavenly Father felt for this Sister.

Anyways sorry for writing you a book this week, but I fly out on Wednesday and report to the Travel Office at 2:30 in the morning. It’s going to be a long day. I’ve only got one day left, and it seems like I got here like yesterday. I’m so excited for Aaron and Mykaela and others to get to come here, because it is such an awesome experience. I know the Lord lives and He loves us so much. All we need to do is to try a little harder to be a little better (that’s what Bro. Griffin, my BoM teacher at BYU would always say)

Love you all a whole lot,
Elder Hayden

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