I cannot believe my brother is headed to the MTC in two days! Time has flown and now it’s your time to shine, Shane (soon to be Elder Huang)! I am so proud of you and I know that you will be a phenomenal missionary. Join the ranks! I love you so much!
With my grandma passing away on Monday and then finding out one of our sister’s grandma passed away Friday night and then attending a funeral of one of the members of the ward on Saturday, I’ve been thinking a lot and relying a lot on my testimony and knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. This week was also another testament to me that Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives. We got to teach about the Plan of Salvation more than usual this week and the Spirit touched me each time that it is true.
We believe that before we came to earth, we lived, as spirits, with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and each other. The plan was presented, that we would come down to earth to gain experience as well as a physical body so that we can become like our Heavenly Father. His goal for us is to help us gain immortality and eternal life and become as He is. Adam and Eve were the first people on the earth and because they partook of the fruit, they were cast out of the garden and became susceptible to physical and spiritual death – two things that separate us from being able to return to live with Heavenly Father. But because they partook of the fruit, the rest of us were able to come down to earth and gain a physical body and experience for ourselves. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we knew that coming down to earth was the only way we could become like Heavenly Father.
Luckily, because Heavenly Father knew that life on earth would be difficult and we would need guidance, He gave us many resources such as family, prayer, scriptures, prophets and the gospel of Jesus Christ. From the scriptures and prophets, we learn that if we follow the gospel of Jesus Christ – faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism by the proper priesthood authority, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end – we can return back to live with our Heavenly Father.
Part of this plan is that we will all die. Death of a loved one can be one of the hardest things to face here on earth, but I am so grateful to have the concrete knowledge that death is not the end, it is just a phase of the eternal plan of salvation. All it is is the separation of the physical body and spirit. We believe that when we die, our spirits continue on to the spirit world, where we continue to learn and progress. Those who have heard and lived the gospel go to Spirit Paradise and those who did not have a chance to accept or hear the gospel have the chance to be taught by missionaries up in the spirit world. But because they don’t have a physical body anymore to do the saving ordinances, such as baptism, that is why we have temples – so we can do the work for them. They have the opportunity to accept it or reject it.
We wait until the resurrection and final judgment. Because of the Atonement, we believe everyone will be resurrected, no matter what kind of life they led. Immortality is a free gift to all. Then based on our faith AND works, we are placed into one of three kingdoms of glory. The Telestial Kingdom is for those who did not choose to accept the gospel and didn’t lead very good lives. The Terrestial Kingdom is for those who didn’t accept the gospel, but led good lives and were righteous. The Celestial Kingdom is the goal. People who accepted and lived the gospel and did all of the saving ordinances go to the Celestial Kingdom. This is where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and where we can be with our families together forever. This is eternal life and eternal happiness!
Central to the whole Plan of Salvation is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is only through the Atonement where we can overcome both spiritual and physical death. It is through the Atonement where all unfairness can truly be made right. It is through the Atonement where we can feel complete forgiveness and have our burdens and guilt lifted from us. It is through the Atonement where we can gain the strength we need to overcome trials. It is through the Atonement where our weaknesses can be made strengths. It is through the Atonement where justice and mercy are satisfied. I have gained an increased testimony of the power of the Atonement on my mission. I have seen it change the lives of others as well as mine. I am so grateful for my Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I am grateful to know that I will see my grandma again. I am grateful to know that we have temples where we can do the work of salvation for those who have already passed on. I am grateful to know that my grandma has the opportunity to learn about the gospel in the spirit world. I am grateful to know that she will be resurrected with a perfected body and won’t need to suffer anymore. I am grateful to know that there are second chances. I am grateful to be able to teach and testify of God’s perfect plan for us. I know that it is true and that it is real.
I love you all and have a wonderful week. Sorry, neither me or Sister Hobbs have a camera cord and we don’t have an accessible computer so there probably won’t be pictures for awhile…