A letter from Grandma and Grandpa DemarsDear Family and friends:
It's been awhile since we've written. We are still alive and love the gospel. I am being put to shame by our wonderful grandchildren who are serving missions for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our latest, dear Hillary, is in her second or third week in the Provo MTC. How we love all our missionaries. She is number 5. By the time we get home, three will have returned home but barely.
We know what they are in for. The most challenging, yet most rewarding experience of their lives to date. What a blessing it is to serve the Lord and truly be an Ambassador for our Savior Jesus Christ.
Yesterday was a "red letter day" as mission days go. The Lord opened up my mind and literally "poured" revelation into my mind. It happened while we were attending a District meeting, which is where all the missionaries attend a weekly meeting and receive training. We were reading in 3rd John about love when it seemed that my mind was opened and I realized for the first time what Mormon was talking about when he said concerning Charity, that we should pray unto the Father with "all the energy of heart" that we may be filled with this love, which he has bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son Jesus Christ. I have read this passage many, many times and for the first time, I GOT IT. When the Lord says "that if we have not Charity we are nothing". I didn't fully appreciate the full meaning of those words. John, who is referred to as "the Beloved" in the new testament describes God as "God is Love". I've always wondered about that statement and then it came. Love, or Charity which is "the pure love of Christ" is the most powerful force in the universe short of the Priesthood of God. If we understand and apply love in our lives it will change us in everything we do or say. It will give us more power over the adversary than anything else we can pursue in this life. When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, He answered, "That we must love God with all our heart, with all our minds and all our strength", and the second commandment was like unto it, "that we should love our neighbor like ourselves". (If those aren't the exact words, please forgive me). What Jesus was saying was that Love had the power to change our very natures. If we truly love the Lord and love our neighbors, we would have no desire to do ill to anyone. Gone would be the need to be critical or to "judge others", gone would be the taking of offense at what others might say. You would have your minds so filled with love for others that it would be impossible to think that they might be saying harsh things about you.
I thought about Christ on the cross talking to John the Beloved and saying unto him, "behold thy mother", and to the grieving Mary, "behold thy Son". And the scripture says that from that moment he took her with him unto his own home. Have you ever wondered why Jesus would ask John to take care of his mother? Remember, Jesus had other brothers, one of which became an apostle, James. Why didn't Jesus remind James of his duties to his mother. I feel it was because of the love that John had not only for Mary but for EVERYONE. Jesus knew that John would "Love" his mother like no other mortal here on the earth and that's what he wanted. That's why he was called "the beloved" because of his tremendous capacity to love. As you read through the book of John in the New Testament, and then through the books of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John (all written by the same author) you will see the word love is written there more than by any other author in the Bible. Who was it that loved people so much that he wanted to be able to share the gospel with them until "Christ returned to the earth again". John the Beloved. I just can't imagine how hard that would be.
One of the exercises we performed yesterday at District meeting was "how to correct a companion who was being less obedient" in keeping the mission rules. We are told that "obedience brings blessings, EXACT obedience brings Miracles." How to accomplish that without bringing contention into a relationship was addressed. I felt inspired to suggest that instead of trying to "call that companion to repentance" that perhaps a better way was to "pray to love that companion with "all of our hearts". I can speak from experience that this works better in a marriage or in any other relationship than trying to "change" your companion, or the other person. The truth is that we can only "change ourselves" and by so doing your "change of spirit" will do wonders to set an example for others. Once again the "power of love" can perform miracles.
Think of what they did to Christ as the scourge him, smite him and spit upon him and he suffereth it because of his " loving kindness and long-suffering for the children of men." We are told that we must "cleave" unto Charity which is the "pure love of Christ", and if we should be possessed of it at the last day it will be well with us.
Frankly, I feel so inadequate and unable to express my feelings of that which was conveyed to me through the spirit. I would make this observation. If we begin to be filled with this Charity of which Mormon speaks we will be unbelievably kind. We could never conceive in doing anything that might harm, hurt, downgrade, or offend another. We could suffer all things and would be willing to, to avoid hurting the feelings of another person. We would not seek for recognition, be impatience, gossip, or think evil of another person. We would not seek for the praise of the world.
I know what I have just written it true. I would urge us all pray about it, ponder the words of Mormon in Moroni chapter 7, and then follow his admonition that we will "pray with all the energy of heart, that we might be filled with this love."
Mom and I love our mission. We are continually reminded that the "mission is as much for the growth of the missionary as it is for the people you might serve. We love you. We pray for all of you. Each of us has his or her individual challenges. Charity will help you to overcome them.
Love, Grandma and Grandpa Demars - currently serving in the Laoag, Philippines Mission