Last weekend we had our Guzman District Conference. What a wonderful weekend we had. We drove up Saturday afternoon. It was so very congested as we left Guadalajara. Oh my, the air was full of smoke and dust. The traffic was very heavy and tangled. As we got out of town, and continued on to Guzman, we saw field after field on fire with farmers tending the flames. One fire with it’s heavy black smoke was dangerously close to the highway. There were so many trucks contributing to the poor air conditions by blowing their diesel fuel and kicking up dust. In addition, it was a blustery and overcast day...what a mess.
But, we had a lovely drive together. We listened to music and visited with each other, and even gave our grandson a face time call for his birthday.
We arrived in time for President to be at his 4:00 pm priesthood leadership meeting. The adult session was at 6:30, and although it was not well attended, we felt a great spirit.
In each of these District conferences, and Stake conferences here in Mexico, the Mexico Area Plan is taught and retaught, strengthening the members understanding and commitment to pay a full tithe and fast offering donation, to keep the Sabbath day holy, and to participate in family history work.
I love how the area plan is so perfectly and tightly woven together with our missionary purpose and work. Our missionaries teach these principles and truths in virtually every lesson they teach. We are hastening the work of salvation as we teach and reteach the five preach my gospel lessons again, to strengthen the active members, as we reach out and teach those who have lost that vision, and of course as we search and find those who are seeking to find greater light, truth and peace in their own lives.
President began his remarks by asking what the 5th Article of Faith was.
He was so delighted when this little boy's hand shot up in the air.
Of course, he knew it perfectly.
President Clayton went down closer to the congregation and with the white board, taught with great emphasis, hoping for more member participation, the simple but powerful doctrine of God’s purpose and desire to bring His children back to live with Him. Defining the word doctrine which simply means beliefs, President taught that there are many doctrines in the world but the doctrines of the restored gospel differ from all the others in that they are true and come from revealed truths through living prophets by the power of the Holy Ghost. He taught that we lived with our Father in Heaven before we came to earth. That God loves us, that we are His children, that God desires for us to be happy, and to return to live with Him again. Family life here on earth is patterned after our life in Heaven with our heavenly parents. While on earth we marry and create families where we love and care for each other and for our children. He emphasized that if we as parents yet imperfect as we are can desire to be with our families forever, how much more our perfect Father in Heaven loves us and wants us to return to live with Him once again.
But there is a problem. We cannot return to live with Father in Heaven because where He lives no unclean thing can exist. And we are unclean because of our sins. Justice requires payment for all broken laws and on our own we are unable to pay for our sins in order to become clean. But knowing this from the beginning our loving Father in Heaven provided a way for us to return to Him again. It would require that Justice be paid in full for all of our sins by a perfect being--one without sin and error. So He gave us a gift--His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life without sin. He is full of compassion and love. Because of His perfect life and His atonement He was able to pay Justice for our sins and make it possible for us to once again live with Father in Heaven. And because Jesus Christ paid Justice He has the right to extend His mercy to us. However, He requires something from us to obtain His mercy. He requires that we repent of our sins, obey Him and follow His example by being baptized and confirmed. Thus we see that our Father in Heaven provided us a way to return to Him. It was His Son. He is the great gift from the Father to us all.
We can return to live with Father in Heaven only through the atonement and mercy of His Son Jesus Christ and we can only receive that mercy by repentance, baptism and confirmation and following the Son until the end.
I just cannot resist the smile of
the Tamasula Branch President's little
daughter Viviana. While the priesthood leadership
meeting was going on, she walked round
and round the sidewalks of the church
building, and kept saying hola hermana
Clayton, hola hermana Clayton as she would
pass by me and hand me a dandelion. What a cutie!
As President Clayton was finishing his remarks, he invited each member there Saturday evening to invite someone, a family member, friend or neighbor to come to conference tomorrow morning. He said, let's fill this room to the brim.
When we arrived this morning, there was not an empty chair in the room. They were videoing the conference to make it available in other rooms in the building.
President shared a story of when he was a young boy visiting his uncles with his family in Colonia Garcia Mexico. One stormy day, they were in their truck going up to their uncles ranch. The rain had made the mountainous roads treacherously slippery and muddy.
As they were driving they came upon two young men dressed nicely walking carefully along the muddy road on their way to a dance. President’s dad had stopped and offered these young men a ride on the back tail gate of their truck. President said as a young boy, he remembers watching them from the back window as they hopped on the back of the truck swinging their legs, laughing and very grateful for the ride as the truck made it’s way along the muddy mountain road. As they were continuing down the rocky, curvy road, their tires lost their grip and slipped off the road sliding down a muddy slope and finally hitting a tree which stopped them from going further down the ravine.
When the truck had started to slide off the road, these two young men had jumped off. Once the truck had come to a stop, despite their nice clothes and excitement for the dance, they happily and with great attitudes tried to help President’s dad get the truck unstuck.
President says he specifically remembers that as his dad shifted the truck in reverse, and tried and tried to back up and out, the tires spun round and round, and thick hot mud spewed up onto these two young men. These young men laughed and kept working.
This experience was one that helped to changed president's outlook on life, as he saw first hand how these young men were happy, and willing to help, not letting the unfortunate circumstances ruin their good happy attitudes, even when they were covered with mud and late for their dance.
President highlighted several circumstances that Nephi had been through, not only embarking into the unknown wilderness, but leading out in the difficult and dangerous errands the Lord, through his father sent him on, and in withstanding the contempt and constant struggle from his older brothers. Nephi's words, we lived after the manner of happiness, speaks volumes about his attitude and perspective and trust and faith in God.
President spoke words of love and encouragement to this congregation of saints, praising them for their faith and perseverance, and, he left a blessing upon them.
Here are our fabulous missionaries serving in the Guzman Zone
Here are the members from the Tuxpan Branch in their
van going home together from our conference today.