I swear, every week goes faster than the last!! Everything is just blurring together.
One of my favorite things that happened this week was a lesson we had with a less-active family. We had studied and prayed a lot and felt like the thing this family needed to hear more than anything else was a lesson on the Atonement. When we got into the lesson, it was Hermana Barrios' first time meeting with them so we started talking about other things to kind of help her get to know them a little bit better. The conversation went off in a totally different direction, far from the Atonement. After a little bit, we started talking about missions, and simultaneously, Hermana Barrios and I both started telling the story of our first day in Oregon, of going to the beach, of burying our fears at the foot of that rock. We shared our mission scripture (D&C 6:34):
Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
We bore testimony about the Atonement and about how Jesus Christ really is the rock upon which we must build. The Spirit was so strong as we bore testimony about the Savior, each one of us in the room could feel the truth of what was being said.
Also this week, Hermana Barrios and I were asked to give trainings in both Forest Grove and McMinnville zones. As we were preparing for the McMinnville one, we felt absolutely stuck. We did not know what it was that we should speak about, we talked about so many ideas. Finally, at 9:30 pm the night before the training, we came to the conclusion that we again needed to talk about the Atonement. We went to bed with that idea in mind and then studied it the following morning. In our personal studies, we both came to the same realization that the "gospel of Jesus Christ" IS the Atonement. If you had asked me last week, I would have said that the gospel of Jesus Christ was faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. However, as I studied, I read the bible dictionary under "gospels" and this is what it says:
"The word gospel means 'good news.' The good news is that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his or her works. This atonement was begun by His appointment in the premortal world but was worked out by Jesus during His mortal sojourn."
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the good news. It's the only thing that allows us to have the hope of one day returning to our Heavenly Father and seeing our loved ones again. Faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end are not THE GOSPEL; they are the steps that allow us to gain access to the Atonement of Jesus Christ and to be able to fully feel its power in our lives. I am grateful for this act of love performed by our Savior and I'm especially grateful for this Easter season to be able to celebrate and ponder about it even more.