Monday, February 11, 2013

Matthew 25:40

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Ether 12:18
For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.
Mormon 9:19
And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
Moroni 7:29
My beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.

My dearest family and friends,
I testify that miracles have not ceased. While there are so many ways in which the Lord miraculously extends his hand into our lives, we so often ignore or do not recognize His divine influence. But, as in times of old, there are moments and experiences that even the hard of heart and blind of spirit cannot deny or explain. I would like to briefly relate an experience that  we are living here, now.
About three weeks ago we received a message asking us to go and visit someone who needed a blessing, someone who was sick. They did not include the severity of the situation or, in truth, any details at all. As ordained Elders, holders of the Priesthood- the power and authority to act in the name of God- we went to search out this man. Following the pattern taught by the Savior and his apostles as outlined in James 5  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, we arrived and proceeded with the blessing. The man is named Jose and he was bedridden. Unable to walk, his skin ravaged with a disease that appears much like leprosy. White sores that cover his entire body with the exception of his face. He was a man broken, not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well. Living completely alone, in an old and abandoned hair salon. Without water or a bathroom. Only a small cot and a bucket to take care of his necessities. His sister visiting once a day bringing what she could afford to give him to eat and a bottle of water. It is hard to imagine truly a situation more tragic or crippling. And so in we walked, young men of little experience, but with the certainty of the power of God.
And so we anointed his head with oil, placed our hands on his head, and gave him a blessing of health and strength.
My dear friends and family, the power of God to heal is real. This man has done more than walk. In these short two weeks he has not only been able to lift himself out of his bed, but also has opened up and expressed himself in normal and profound conversations. He has not only found the strength to support his weight in moving himself about, but also the endurance to take hold of shovel and spade and go into the streets to work clearing and cleaning the streets in hopes that someone gives him money or food to eat in return. He has the determination to turn his life around, this time putting his trust, not in the weak flesh of man that corrupts (he learned in a very real way the truthfulness of this statement) but in the strength, mercy, and love of God that will not falter.
Jose found the strength yesterday to walk the mile and a half from where he is living to the bus stop with us to attend church. This miracle is not yet over. While God has begun to physically cure this man, the deeper and profounder cleansing of the soul is still in the process. Having never had the opportunity to study or learn to read, we are now doing all we can to teach this man the plan of God. The miracle is truly just beginning.

And so, doubt not, but be believing.

I hope that you are able to feel uplifted and edified by that experience. I would like to also briefly share some boring and mundane details of things I have done recently, that for whatever reason sometimes make this experience feel more real.

After almost 7 months of bathing in cold water, we talked to a good member of the ward who came over one evening and fixed our boiler, or water heater. For the last two weeks we have been enjoying warm water to bathe in again. What a blessing!
I have begun to enjoy making a simple smoothie in the mornings of banana and milk to accompany my oatmeal. I started putting the bananas in the freezer as I used to see my mother do and it has made me remember the many mornings of oatmeal and ¨banana shakes¨ that I enjoyed so much throughout high school. But seeing as how our freezer section of our fridge had almost completely iced closed (perhaps 4 inches by 3 inches instead of the 12 by 6 that it could be) I decided last night to deice it. We ate the little food we had in the fridge and let it melt overnight. While it is something of extreme simpleness and commonality, I found great satisfaction in scrubbing out the fridge this morning, inside and out, and leaving it completely clean.  I can now put perhaps 8 bananas to freeze at a time instead of 1 and a half. J
Elder Rios is a great companion and we are getting along great. We will be working super hard this week and I am looking forward to it. He could well have been my friend before the mission as well, seeing as how our personalities are similar and interests as well. It is nice to work with someone that can be my companion and also my friend. I feel now that the language is no longer a barrier and I can express myself freely and openly as I desire.

I hope that those who read have enjoyed and I hope very much to have the privilege and pleasure of hearing from you again soon.

Elder Brighton

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