Monday, October 28, 2013

The more that happens the less I have to say.

And so this week I can simply report that I am well and learning a lot. So many things to do and get done. And amazingly for as many new things that we learn, we can never, ever apart ourselves from the most basic and crucial things. I know the first principles of the gospel are the most important. 

With love,
Elder Brighton
The more that happens the less I have to say.

And so this week I can simply report that I am well and learning a lot. So many things to do and get done. And amazingly for as many new things that we learn, we can never, ever apart ourselves from the most basic and crucial things. I know the first principles of the gospel are the most important. 

With love,
Elder Brighton

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dear family and friends,

I am doing great and learning so much. I feel that I have really learned how to accept challenges as learning opportunities. I know that the experiences and trials that I am having now will be a great blessing in my life one day. What a great blessing to see challenges as learning opportunities.

My most impressive thought for this week is about poverty and self-sufficiency. Any person that has the honest desire to help someone leave poverty must realize that it does not come through a gifting or alms program. When we simply hand over any amount of money to another person we only temporarily satisfy a need that then grows because of the increased dependecy on that gifted money that develops. Really helping a person requires much more than that. 

If we have the desire to help someone overcome poverty or dependency it requires teaching and analysis. In reading the teachings of modern church leaders I found the idea that rang most true to my experiences that I have yet heard. The leader expressed that the idea is to lift and elevate the person to a level of self respect and self suficiency. In order to do that, they first need to feel secure, protected, and in a stable position. Providing first for their immediate needs of food, clothing, shelter, fuel, etc... Then moving in with determination and love to analyze their situation, resources, abilities, and plan to become entirely self sufficient. If we give without the intention to help them become self-sufficient, we fail in our plan. But likewise, it is nearly impossible to inspire and elevate someone with an empty stomach. 

I found that to be a beautiful combination of the natural compassionate instincts to eliminate suffering, while showing a greater comprehension for the ultimate goal and purpose.

I am learning a lot here, the least of which is not love and patience. 

I love you all and patiently wait for the time when we will be together again.

Elder Brighton

Monday, October 14, 2013

I have continued to ponder how the Atonement can actually heal us of pain. It is not so difficult for me to understand how the sacrifice of Christ allows us to repent of sins, insomuch as He paid the price putting himself between us and the effects of the law if we accept the conditions of repetence that he offers us. 

But for me the part that leaves me pondering is how He can help us be healed and feel better in those times of pain and rejection. Let me share my brief thoughts from this week.

Many toddlers and young children have a tendency to search out their mothers when they hurt themselves. Among them there are many that want their mothers to 'kiss it better'. This is an interesting phenomenon. Something that I have seen now in more than one culture and something that appears to be a little silly or unnecessary. But the incredible part about it is that it seems to make a difference for the young child. With this simple act of consolation, truly the recognition of a problem or pain, and the (admittantly inconsequential) kiss of a wound- the child is 'healed'. 

Now that is the interesting part. Where was the pain to begin with? If it were in the bloody knee, as would seem to be the case, why does an inconsequential kiss quiet the howling? The answer is in the expectation, attitude, or faith of the young child, The toddler really believes that the kiss will help and heal.... and so it does! 

So it is with the Atonement. The Atonement requires faith in order to take affect. Simply going through the motions does not have a great impact. But believing that Christ understands what we are going through, knowing that He too has suffered it, and then asking for his alivement has the power to heal us inasmuch as we believe. 

Does it sound like some mind-trick? Let me conclude with my thoughts to that question. It is necessary that we believe in order for God to complete his purposes with us. He created us so that we can be like Him. So that we can live as He lives and act as He acts. Raising a bunch of doubtful children who soley learn to go through the motions without being truly converted to eternal truths and principles would serve neither Him nor us. And so in order to encourage and lead us towards a real conversion, one that comes only throught the constant participation in a personal interaction with God and His eternal laws, He must require us to believe. He must require us to love Him. Were it not so, we would never be able to be completely ready to stand in His presence and receive our eternal recompense.

As I have pondered and applied the principle of faith in my life, my personal relationship with God, and my interactions with the rest of my earthly brothers and sisters I have felt the power of the Atonement. Unlike the 'kiss it better' treatment, there is a real power in the kiss of the Lord. One accessable only on conditions of faith and repentence. 

Elder Brighton

Monday, October 7, 2013

This week a Young man sent us a message a Little after 9 pm. He asked us if we could stop by his house. Sincé we know him well and he would not ask if there were not something wrong, we went out the door running. We arrived to find that he had had a big fight with his father. To make a long story short... his father had been unfaithful to his mother and the situation is quite complicated. He has been preparing for the misión, but is now unsure of what is going to happen. He asked for and we gave him a blessing before quickly retiring to our house to be home on time.
With that as a background let me share with you some of the thoughts I had that evening. I found it difficult to sleep as I pondered both that situation and another one of an investigator we have who is struggling because his brother is a meth addict. Lots of things. Lots of suffering and pain.
As I gave that priesthood blessing I felt inspired to say more than once that this good youth remember all that he had learned about the Atonement of Jesús Christ. That he turn to and draw himself near to its power.
And for lack of time, let me share you my thoughts that evening as I sat thinking a Little late, asking myself how it could all work. How does it really work? Sometimes a semi-poetic form helps me to concrete my thoughts, and so that is what came out.
Could anothers suffering really dull the pain?
Does knowing I am not the first to fall change the way I feel here on the ground?
What does the blood of another man have to do with my own?
Blood long spilt
tears long shed
pain long gone
But that is where the error is
for God there is no time
That pain and anguish that he felt
in truth he feels it now
It's not from a royal throne he speaks
but rather from my side
not that he felt, but that he feels
not that he cried, but that he crys
not that he lived, but that he lives
Our Savior, King, who died
Who passed through that uncertain curtain
in doing so it fell
it could not hold his perfectness his power conquered all
and so although he long since fulfilled and more with me
I find Him at my side again in this my time of need
I started out this thought process a Little upset or questioning, but by the end understood things much differently.
The atonement is not something that happened, but something that is happening. The Atonement is not an event, it is a law and a power.
I found that as I studied the scriptures I found many of them referring to this moment in the present tense, not in the past or future. Saying that he suffers, for example, instead of suffered, or will suffer.
Not enough time to elaborate, but there is a brief thought I had this week.
With great love,
Elder Brighton