Monday, November 28, 2016

The Second great commandment - Lewisburg, Tennessee

Hello everyone,

I really love you all and want to take time to say thank you for each of your help. I know this letter goes out to a lot of people, but I do know and love all of you and I mean it when I say to you, individually, that I would not be here without you and the help you have given me. Thank you for every bit of friendship and compassion.

Yesterday, our bishop told us the story of his childhood friend. This friend had a hard life, but our bishop was always there to help him. He struggled to fit in in school, moved many times, and was bullied a lot, but bishop Ostrander was there to comfort him and tell him that he was a son of God and he was loved. Eventually that friend fell way from the gospel. He told himself that the others there would hate him and judge him for his mistakes and he could never be accepted back, but bishop Ostrander was there and told him that it wasn't true. It didn't matter what the others thought, he needed to go to church to be healed for himself. After years of trial and many many difficulties, that friend was able to finally make it back to the church. With the help of bishop he was able to change his life. He has a wife and children now to whom he is sealed to for all eternity. He is free from the pain and mistakes of the past. Last year he was called to be a bishop. He said he never could have made it without bishop Ostrander and was so very grateful that he had been there his whole life to help him.

Then bishop paused for a bit and choked up. He told us that that friend was actually himself. He needed his own love and help to make it back. He needed to be grateful to himself for making the right decisions and working hard enough to get where he is now. All of us need to be grateful to ourselves for the good decisions we make. I am grateful that I had the faith and the love to turn my life around and prepare to come on a mission. I am grateful that I have had the strength to stay out here and keep serving even though it gets tough. As I ponder on this I am reminded of the story from the Savior's life found in Mark 12

28 ¶And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

The second great commandment it to love thy neighbor AS THYSELF. So many times I think we forget this part. I challenge each of you to take time this week to thank yourself and love yourself for all the good things you have done for yourself and others. Not in any selfish or vain way, but with charity, which is the pure love of Christ which endureth forever. Learn to think about yourself the same way that your savior Jesus Christ thinks about you. Learn to love yourself the same way Heavenly Father loves you end expects you to care for others. I can promise you will feel the spirit and find within yourself a greater desire and strength to improve and become more like Christ.

I love you all and hope you have a great week. Thank you again for all that you do!

Elder Basham 

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