Sunday, September 13, 2015

To Live Pure Religion Is To Serve And To Visit...


Dear Mama and Papi,

Thank you so much for my package! I went to the offices today to pick it up, and I must say, "I am a happy sponge!" Elder Martinez was Elder Sage's previous companion, so it's pretty easy to get in contact with him. (Not to mention, we're to always have the secretaries' phone numbers in our phones, so yeah.) 
So, with this week, all of the youth went to FSY. (For the Strength of Youth. It's a youth program that the church puts on during the summer and the kids go for 5 days. Formally known as EFY.) The experiences that they had were just marvelous. (Based on accounts we heard on Sunday.) Now, I've never been to EFY or FSY, since in the states, you gotta have a bit of moolah to go, but here the youth get to go for free, but I can see why, since some of the opportunities that we have back home, they don't do here, such as scouts or trek. Anyway, with the youth, they all came back different; they radiated a different light. 
One testimony given by one of the older youth hit home with me. He spoke of going and just loving the group he was with, the spirit that he felt, and all of the wonderful things he was able to learn that helped strengthen his testimony. This is where it got personal for me. When he returned, he said that he was unable to recognize his own home. Sound familiar, Mama? Haha. At that moment, my mind returned to a more confusing time (namely, my youth) and also a very important time: the summer before I started my senior year. I had just gotten home from my second and final trek. 
For those who don't know what trek is, trek is something that happens every 4 years. All of the youth from our local congregations get together to remember the Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains in a very unique way. The youth are divided into families and together as families, they take a journey together pulling a handcart for 5 days in memory of those who did the same so many years ago so that we could enjoy the privilages of worshipping the Almighty God and his Son, Jesus Christ. 
Well, I too strapped on my hiking shoes, threw on a hat, and put my shoulder to the wheel pushing/pulling a handcart over a planned, but challenging trail for 5 days. For me, the second time was truly the most special, as I had developed a very special relationship with my maker over that time. Upon returning home, I remember feeling very confused. Frustrated, actually, and I was unsure why. After breaking down in tears and talking to my mother and one of my ecclesiastical leaders at church the next day, I realized that what I had felt was the Holy Ghost touch my soul in the most profound way, and I had loved it. 
So, needless to say, I knew how this young man was feeling. But what he said afterwards showed a spiritual maturity as well. He made the declaration that he was going to live everything that he was taught. This young man had seen that he had been given much and knew that he too must give; give of himself. In his epistle, James teaches this in the final verse:"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (See James 1:27) 
To me, this is something I've kept in mind throughout my mission ever since I learned it. To live pure religion is to serve and to visit. I've kept it in mind because I know that it is the way that I can continue to feel the same spirit that I've felt while in the mission following the completion of it and my return home. I know that living pure religion brings us closer to our Heavenly Father and helps us develop our Christlike attributes. (For an inspiring message on the subject of pure religion, give a listen to "Pure Religion", A BYU speech given by Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy. This can be found at

Y, pues, no puedo escribir esta carta sin decir algo a mi querida abuelita. (Sorry for all you english speakers, but this is for my grandmother.) Muchísimas gracias por mandar me un poco de dinero para apoyarme. Te agradezco mucho por tus oraciones y por todo que has echo para mi desde que me fui. Te quiero mas que puedo describir. No te desanimes por tu progreso en tus rodillas. Recuerda que nos enseña Alma en el Libro de Mormón: "mas he aquí, te digo que por medio de cosas pequeñas y sencillas se realizan grandes cosas;" (Vea Alma 37:6) Poco a poco, te vas recuperando. Cuídate mucho! 

Well, that's my typical father. Haha. Gotta say, I miss his behavior sometimes. In the end, they always made for good stories. Haha. Well, that's all I got for you this week. I love you all tons!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, Forgot to tell you this. In my district, we have an Hermana from Honduras. Her name is Hermana Montoya. I told her that my mother is from Honduras, so naturally, she had this to say: "Manda saludas a mi paiza!". So, there you have it. Haha.

PSS, This photo's kinda awkward, but I like it nonetheless. It was taken at the wrong time, but there's something charming about it. Here, I am with Elder Sage, to my left, Elder Lopez (another Elder Lopez. He's from Durango. A norteño.), and Bruno Mars. Well, it's actually an Elder named Elder Diaz. We took this picture with him and his return itinerary, since he leaves in a couple months. We call it the death letter. Haha.

No comments:

Post a Comment