Posted by: elderleach | February 14, 2011

A Higher Education

Molweni, friends and family! Wow, it seems like forever, but at the same time just like yesterday since I last made contact. “Mission time” is an interesting thing—days feel like weeks, weeks feel like days and months feel like a speck in time. It seems like just yesterday I was exploring the jungles of Knysna in the cold winter months between June and September, and here we are almost done with summer (well, winter for all of you!).
I’ve learned some valuable things this week that I would like to share. Kwa Magxaki (have you learned how to pronounce that yet? It’s not what you think…I promise!) is a wonderful place with humble, receptive people. Most profess they already have a church and know who Jesus Christ is and, for that, we express our gratitude for their act of faith in Jesus Christ. However, the message that doesn’t seem to resonate with many of the people I have met on my mission so far is this: we have not come to destroy what you know to be true, we have only come to support it and complete it.
Christ’s true church was not established on faith alone, nor was it established on a “sprinkler system” form of baptism. It simply is not good enough to have 85% of the truth. Yes, it DOES matter who holds the authority to administer baptism and the Holy Ghost. God really does care how things are done in His church. Yet, too many passively accept “The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Sparknotes Version” and proclaim that as enough.
Three times this week Elder Nkala and I heard the same plea from three different people, 2 who are less active in this church, and one whom we are teaching. This is what he have heard: “Please guys, I want more than anything to know the scriptures and to recite versus from memory. I want to know how to apply these words to my life. I want to live these words so that I can know what is right and what is wrong. Please guys, you need to teach me.”
We hardly have a substantial knowledge in the gospel as to help everyone and their problems. We are 19 year olds (well, Elder Nkala is 23), so why do these people seek advice and help from two young men who have hardly lived through the thick of life? Because we have been taught all of our lives. If I may speak for myself, from before the time I could speak to the time I boarded that airplane to begin my missionary service I have been taught and instructed in the ways of the Lord, both from the Bible and the Book of Mormon, not to disregard the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History. I knew how to pray at a very young age, and was taught how to recognize my Heavenly Father speaking to me.
I was taught how to understand old English the Bible and Book of Mormon contains so I didn’t have to settle with the easy way out Bible’s that remove subtle sacred truths just to make reading it easier.  I was taught how to take what I have learned and apply it to my life situations so I can help lift those around me. I was taught who Jesus Christ is and what He wants us to become. I still messed up many times along the way and I’ve hardly learned enough, but I don’t expect to never get a question wrong on any college exams either.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ IS a higher education. You can learn all you want in this life, but if studying the life of our Master comes as an afterthought, what a great disadvantage that will be in the life to come! For that is why we are here on Earth in the first place: “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to preform their labors.” Alma 34: 32
I find it interesting the prophet Amulek says “the day of this life”. Life sometimes feels like an eternity, but in reality it is just a speck in the great and marvelous Plan of our Father which had no beginning nor will it have an end.
I am grateful for education, specifically religious education, and for parents who have taught me, for that is why I am here today. This should be something sought after from everyone of God’s children. There’s still time to earn the highest degree in the school of God: the Celestial Kingdom!

I love you all,

Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission

 

1. The view outside our flat in an area called “Despatch”. It is an exact replica of Lovell, WY. Seriously!
2. The inside of our boarding.

3. Elder Nkala and I!

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