Looking Beyond The Mark!

Hello:

This past week was a blast! We had a wonderful Christmas. I had the opportunity to talk to my family and we had some crazy weather. On Christmas Eve, my companion came up with the great idea of going out and knocking on doors and giving out short printouts of the scriptural account of Christ’s birth. We also read it with them and invited them to remember to keep the spirit of Christ in Christmas. It was a great success. A lot of people were in a hurry because they were heading to or setting up for Christmas Eve parties, but they almost all stopped to hear a scripture about Christ and remember him. We talked to a lot of people and now have a bunch of return appointments to go to. Christmas day was extremely fun as well because we were able to talk to our families. That is always such an awesome thing to do! I am so grateful for my family and all of the love and support I feel from them. Then to top it all off, almost as soon as I got done skyping, we got a notification on our phones that there was a tornado forming nearby! Luckily we all stayed very safe and it didn’t come that close to where we were having our Christmas dinner. Since then, it has been very stormy weather and we have been on the watch for more tornadoes.

I also learned a lot this week during personal study! One of my new favorite verses is Jacob 4:14. This is a great scripture! The part that I like the most is when it says (right in the middle of the verse) “Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall.” It made me think: What is the mark and when am I looking beyond it? We were talking with a man in our ward that knows a lot about the gospel and the Book of Mormon and he told us some really interesting things about this scripture! He first told us that the name for the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet is translated as “the mark”. It’s shape or the way you draw it is in the shape of a cross, maybe to symbolize the cross and Christ’s sacrifice (The Atonement). So “the mark” is the Atonement of Jesus Christ! Knowing that, we are “looking beyond the mark” when we disregard the Atonement – forget that without it, we would have nothing else or when we focus on things that are so much less important. I see this all the time when talking to people about the Book of Mormon. Sometimes, all they want to do is talk about Joseph Smith, polygamy and crazy stories about church history (never focusing on the fundamental teachings of the Book of Mormon). It is not often that we meet people that desire to talk about what is actually inside this book (a testament of the validity of the Atonement). These people are “looking beyond the mark” and neglecting to talk about what is actually important. It is crucial that we strive to always keep the Atonement of Jesus Christ in the forefront of our minds. If we don’t, we will also be guilty of looking beyond the mark or the atonement and this will bring confusion and dissatisfaction into our lives. I am so grateful for all of the experiences that I am having and this great holiday season. I love and miss everyone back home and hope that you have a wonderful week.

Love,

Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve Celebration

Elder Neser

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