|I had a very happy reunion with my hija, Hermana Luna, this week :) When I finished her training and left Pisco, she started right away to train a new missionary. Now she is serving as an STL in Ayacucho - boy am I a proud mama :)|
|My two hijas Argentinas! Hermana Luna and Hermana Calderón.|
This week my companion and I had an experience that strengthened my understanding and testimony of the Atonement of Christ. I would like to share with you all.
First off - to prepare you to understand the story - here in Lima, the main mode of transportation are buses. Now - when you think of a bus, I promise that you are not thinking of a PERUVIAN bus. Better explained, they are giant 12 passenger vans with the slide open doors (think "stalker van," and that's pretty close), with all of the seats ripped out so that 25-30 people can cram inside standing up and ride to their destination. There is a man that sticks his head out the window yelling where the bus goes, and if you want to get on you just stick out your hand so he stops the bus. Once you are in - you are IN. Crammed against a bunch of strangers, screaming through Lima traffic and INSANE driving (there is NOTHING in the United States that even compares).
My companion and I got on one of these buses the other day (like we do every day), and we saw a young man get on the bus. The cobrador (the guy who goes around charging everyone for being on the bus), asked the young man for his pasaje (..passage? the money you have to pay to be on the bus.) The young man handed the cobrador 1 sol (a sol is what we use here in Perú). Immediately, the cobrador told the young man that 1 sol was no longer sufficient - the price had raised to 1.5 soles. The young man, who was obviously just coming from the university or something of the sort, did not have any more money than the single sol that should have paid for him to make it home. He tried to explain himself to the cobrador, but in these types of situations, there is no mercy. You pay - or you get off the bus. That is how it works.
The young man kept trying to plead his case - but it just made the scene worse. The cobrador started to yell at him, INSISTING that he get off the bus RIGHT then if he couldn't pay. My companion and I were crushed in the back of the bus, and we watched the whole scene from behind. My heart just broke - I wanted to reach out and do something, but it was impossible.
The young man, almost in tears, starting to push his way towards the door of the bus so he could get off at the next stop. Right then, an older man reached out his arm and grabbed the young man by the shoulder. "I will pay for you," he said gently, "Don't worry." The older man handed the extra money to the cobrador and got off the bus at his stop. The young man really did have tears in his eyes and was only able to get out a "Thank you," before his life-saver got off the bus.
Friends, family, brothers, sisters - the standard that our Father in Heaven expects us to live is a HIGH standard. It has to be - because the blessings of exaltation are real and eternal. We alone cannot pay the price that is required to enter into His kingdom and deserve such celestial blessings. Alone, we will ALWAYS come up short.
.... But Jesus Christ has already paid the price. He is the one that gently reaches out His hand, puts it on our shoulder, and promises us, "I will pay for you. Don't worry." Even with all that we do, we NEED Him to pay that price.
There is nothing more marvelous and astounding like the doctrine of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Every time I think about it, I give thanks to my Father in Heaven for letting His Son pay such a price for me. I cannot wait until the day when I can kneel before my Savior, know Him face to face, and express my eternal gratitude for the eternal and infinite gift of His atoning sacrifice. Words will be hard - but I know I will have tears in my eyes as I tell him, "Thank you. Thank you for paying for me."
I testify that He lives. I know that this is His doctrine and restored church. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. He is my best friend and my greatest teacher.
I testify that He loves YOU. He paid for you, too. Let Him heal you and make you new - the blessings are REAL and eternal.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.