It takes a lifetime to not even become close to perfect, but this is not enough [by our own efforts] to prepare us to become like God. In The Institute manual for the New Testament, it talks about John 3:3-5. Being born again is not an event, but a process.
『Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles confirmed that it is a process:
“We were born again when we entered into a covenant relationship with our Savior by being born of water and of the Spirit and by taking upon us the name of Jesus Christ. …
“Latter-day Saints affirm that those who have been born again in this way are spiritually begotten sons and daughters of Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 5:7; 15:9–13; 27:25). Nevertheless, in order to realize the intended blessings of this born-again status, we must still keep our covenants and endure to the end. In the meantime, through the grace of God, we have been born again as new creatures with new spiritual parentage and the prospects of a glorious inheritance” (“Have You Been Saved?” Ensign, May 1998, 56).
To be born again requires both our own effort and “divine power,” and for most of us, this happens over time rather than all at once, as Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:
It was Jesus who stated that entry into the kingdom of God requires that one be born again--born of water and of the Spirit (see John 3:3–5). His teaching about a physical and a spiritual baptism helps us understand that both our own action and the intervention of divine power are needed for this transformative rebirth--for the change from natural man [or natural woman] to saint (see Mosiah 3:19). …
“You may ask, Why doesn’t this mighty change happen more quickly with me? You should remember that the remarkable examples of King Benjamin’s people, Alma, and some others in scripture are just that--remarkable and not typical. For most of us, the changes are more gradual and occur over time. Being born again, unlike our physical birth, is more a process than an event. And engaging in that process is the central purpose of mortality” (“Born Again,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 77–78).』
I highly recommend going on the Gospel library app and following along with the Book of Mormon study manual as you read, especially if there is something you don't understand.
The Bible is wonderful and it has laid the foundation for many things, but the Book of Mormon is unique because it wonderfully explains over and over again how the conversion (or born again) process occurs within the human spirit, and what kinds of things block that process. There are other sublime teachings too. We need all the scriptures so that we might have a full understanding of God's words, and so that the scriptures might be One in our hands. This is similar to what is described in Ezekiel 37, that the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim would be joined together, one in our hand - vs. 17.
You can find information about the Gospel library app here:
https://www.lds.org/pages/mobileapps?lang=eng or in the Application section of your mobile phone.
Other study helps for the scriptures are here:
As for the missionary work,...
One miracle that happened last week was with a less-active/recent convert, M_____. She's from another near-by country in Asia. We fasted for her because she was having a really hard time because of her exhausting work schedule. So we fasted for her on Sunday. Then Friday, we went to her house and she really opened up to us. She has such a strong testimony of Jesus Christ. She always prays and she finds happiness in the Jesus Christ's gospel. She has other employment lined up and then will be able come to church!! It was such a miracle that she opened up to us about her feelings and what was in her heart. We were going to teach about *Patriarchal Blessings and help her prepare to get one, but we learned that she was previously preparing to go to the temple and she really wants to go so we changed our lesson to talk about preparing to attend the temple, and it was very good! She's going to go to the temple with her friend sometime soon!
[* A Patriarchal Blessing, is a blessing given by the laying on of hands on the head of the recipient. Inspired words of counsel are given, in prayer format. The Israelite tribal lineage is given by inspiration, either natural lineage or by spiritual adoption in to that tribe. Yes, not all Israelites by lineage are Jews. Ten of the tribes were scattered into the nations, and their descendants are now all over the world. ]
Speaking of the temple, yesterday was temple day in Tokyo.
Here's a picture of Sister Madsen and I on the temple grounds.
Sister Kirsten Parker
P.s. There's been a few [milder] typhoons but they are fun! There's been no danger so far! :)
Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅