Serving in the Mexico Mérida Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Scary Haircuts and Bank Analogies

Hola Familia,

Sigh. Your letters were like balm for my soul. I so needed to hear from you, and I so needed to hear about the reunion. It was like hot missionary soup for the soul. YOU GUYS-- ETERNAL JOY IN FAMILIES IS SO REAL-- even if sometimes in real life it seems far away. Faith faith faith.

Got my hair cut for the first time in Mexico. They do not require credentials in Mexico.After our appointment, I walked out with a mullet and Hermana Pitcher with a monk-chop! We were rather frighteningly medieval and masculine. Hermana Pitcher took it the worst. We drew a picture...

and then we cut each other's hair in the apartment to try to fix it. It was kind of scary. But it turned out okay. You can’t really tell how short it is from this picture (it's half-way between my chin and shoulders), but I wanted to show you our garden, too.

I’ve been thinking a lot about forgiveness this week. I used to think I was such a forgiving person because I had never had a problem getting over it when somebody offended me and never had a problem with grudges. But then I read in the dictionary that the definition of forgiving means “allowing room for error or weakness.”

And man, I have such a hard time giving people time and space to improve their errors. And being able to like people even when they’re thinking and behavior is flawed. Or I want justice to be enforced for flaws. I quickly realized I was not a very forgiving person. Good thing Christ is. He is so MERCIFUL that we can mess up and He still likes us, even giving us undeserved blessings and withholding consequences.

ANALOGY:  It’s kind of like when we mess up, the big Bank of Justice charges a price that’s quite hefty. We go into debt. But Christ says “It’s okay. Don't worry about going into debt-- just take this credit card called “GRACE and MERCY” and charge it to my credit account and I’ll pay it for you.”

The only catch is that there’s a four-digit PIN to be able to charge things to the account. It's “Faith in Christ--Repentance--Baptism with Authority--Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.'' The problem is that lots of people never learn the PIN or even know it exists. Or they get it wrong, because they believe incorrect things about Christ, or don’t understand who Christ is to know how to repent to be more like Him, or their baptism isn’t done with authority so they can’t receive the Holy Ghost-- and it’s that last digit that is the most crucial as it’s the Holy Ghost that cleanses us from sin, that removes the price from us, that gives us access to the card.

Don't think you have the PIN memorized from just hearing about it in church. It requires a little more than casual study… and a little more than occasional practice.

So everything is free-- Christ pays everything-- but you can’t use His payment unless you know how. 
And I love how, even after we’ve been cleansed and we’re debt-free, and then we mess up again, Christ must say “You went into debt AGAIN? Sigh. Está bien (it’s okay)—here’s some more money. Just try to make a profit with it this time.” 

Are you USING the Atonement to improve?

Pues, buenas tardes, familia. Le amo mucho.

AMOR, Hna Ludlam

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