Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

La Abundancia

3 Nephi 28:2 -- 4 Nephi 1:38

My brother served as a missionary in some of the unknown cities of Paraguay.  Before he returned with his stories I never thought I would visit Paraguay.  That soon changed when he came home.  There is now an almost magical place that he has helped add to my bucket list.  I cannot wait to go.

A couple of miles off the main highway there is the city of Abundancia.  The name of the city means “Bountiful” in English.  The people of the city do not have many material possessions, but what they lack in the finer things of this world they make up for in the finer things of heaven.

Abundancia is a one-mile long dirt road with shanties and simple shelters lined on either side.  At the end of the road is a beautiful brick chapel with a white steeple that reaches into heaven.  The contrast of their church building is reflective of the contrast these peoples’ hearts are with the world they live in.

On Sunday mornings the street begins empty, but if you were to stand on one end of the town you would watch people spill into a river of gathering saints as they headed to the chapel.  Without much consciousness of time, they come out of their homes, seemingly spontaneously, some barefoot, as they anxiously enter their treasured house of worship.

People in other places of the world have everything except happiness.  The people of Abundancia have nothing except happiness.

“Therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.”  (4 Nephi 1:3)

Don’t you love the description of the people in the land of Bountiful—the ancient one—after the Savior ascends back to heaven?

“There was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people…there were no envying, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” (4 Nephi 1:15-16).

It is almost as if He never left.

And the truth is—He didn’t, really.

Every truth needed to live in a Bountiful way has been revealed to the earth.  Every key to that kind of happiness seems to have already been given.

“When Satan is bound in a single home—when Satan is bound in a single life—the Millennium has already begun in that home, in that life.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 172)

Don’t you know homes like that?  Don’t you know people like that?  What principles govern their lives that bring about that heaven on earth?  I bet after a careful observation we would see similar qualities we find in the Book of Fourth Nephi.  Qualities fresh on the minds of people who had just spent days with the Risen Christ.

Perhaps today, with thoughts of Abundancia—ancient and modern—dancing in our heads, we can resolve to live so our family and our community can start living in this precious and priceless way.

Shall we...?

Emily Freeman