Iaorana tatou! Not too much to say this week, but R was baptized on Saturday! he had some doubts a few days before but eventually decided...

Iaorana tatou!

Not too much to say this week, but R was baptized on Saturday! he had some doubts a few days before but eventually decided to go through with it. We'll work hard now to help him stay active, despite a less than ideal family situation. But that was the highlight for the week!

Just one other story to share:
So last Thursday we had a lesson with D, and we shared our thoughts from Elder Renlund's talk last Sunday, about repentance. He talked about the joy that comes from the choice to repent, and I loved the scripture that he shared, "By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them." I felt this applied to D, who is in the repentance process but still has trouble forsaking his problem with alcohol, which also keeps him from coming to church and receiving the many blessings that God has in store for him. Elder Renlund also wisely warned us against obstacles to our choice to repent, such as: "blaming others, even if justified, allows us to excuse our behavior;" and "minimizing our mistakes, even if no immediate consequences are apparent, removes the motivation to change," and "We should be wary of discounting sinful behavior by undermining or dismissing God’s authorship of His commandments."

Coincidentally, some of those hit a little close to home for my companion and I.


Well, mission rules are pretty clear: don't keep pets. But I've got a confession: we kind of sort of have a dog. His name is Celine, named after Celine Dion even though he's a boy because the sisters before us like Celine Dion. We're not really sure how he got there, but he sleeps under our porch and follows us around when we're in the neighborhood. Perhaps he took a liking to the other sisters and followed them home and he's been there ever since. We don't even feed him; our neighbors take pity on him and feed him. He's annoying but cute and loyal and I don't have the heart to chase him away.

So I could blame the other sisters, since it was them that brought him there. I could minimize, since he rarely causes problems, and we rarely feed him so it's more like the neighborhood's dog that happens to sleep under our porch. I could even question or bend the rule, saying that in my opinion God loves animals too and that might justify us letting him hang around instead of trying to chase him away.

Well ever since Wednesday night we've put the whole Celine situation into question. As we were coming home and about to turn into our neighborhood, we heard a dog cry. It was Celine, who had recognized us, lying next to the road. He had been attacked by some other dogs, chased, and finally was hit by a car. A neighbor brought him back to our house in a wheelbarrow. He's doing better now, but anyway. Since we're moving soon, finally, we needed to find someone to take care of him and our nice neighbors said he could stay with them, since they already feed him anyway.

Back to Elder Renlund's message, repentance truly is a joyful choice! Most of us, when we hear "repent ye, repent ye!" would rather cringe and stick to our normal habits that don't seem to pose a problem for the moment. But God has given us the power to know the difference between good and evil, and he has given us the choice to repent and learn from our mistakes, instead of staying the same and never progressing. That would nullify the entire purpose of our life here on earth: to learn and progress! In order to make these changes, we must first trust in the Savior. "Real repentance must involve faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith that He can change us, faith that He can forgive us, and faith that He will help us avoid more mistakes. This kind of faith makes His Atonement effective in our lives."

I know that God loves us, and He sent His Son so that we can learn from our mistakes and become worthy to receive the blessings that God has planned for us. We can live with him again!

I could go on for another few hours probably but I need to go. So ask your local missionaries. They're probably wiser than me and don't have a dog, but they still can teach us a lot about repentance.

Je vous aime,
Soeur Ladd