Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Don't Get Discouraged. Noah Preached the Gospel for Hundreds of Years - then the Lord Drowned All His Investigators."

This week started out hard because almost all of the appointments we scheduled for the week cancelled. But I think this may have actually been a blessing. We had to tract a LOT this week. But I think we saw answers to our prayers. I've been praying earnestly to have the Lord help us find those who are prepared to hear the gospel...those people who are truly searching for the truth. And because we had to spend so much time tracting, we found some AWESOME new investigators. One person we tracted into had been taking the missionary lessons in another state, and when we met him, he said that they had even been talking about getting baptised. He moved to Bloomfield two weeks ago, and we are so excited to start working with him. Then we met a guy who said his best friend is Mormon, and he and his wife would like to learn more. Then we met another lady who is elect, and prepared! Sister Crossley and I just came out of her home BEAMING! She was expressing concerns she has about her life and about her family and about God, and as she spilled her heart to us, sections of "Preach My Gospel" just flashed through my mind that would answer so many of the things she is feeling. "Preach My Gospel" is wonderful that way! Each sentence is crafted perfectly. It really was written with help from beyond the veil! We can't wait to show her that Joseph Smith was just as confused as she was, and that our life on earth is full of hard things. That's kind of the point of life, but our Heavenly Father really does have a plan for our happiness! She started praying recently, and now believes that there is a God. She shared an experience about how one of her prayers was answered. Some of her friends and family are Mormon. One of her friends told her about "that Church on Blanco Road" and how she should go to that one, and as a youth she used to spend a lot of time outside the temple. We can't wait to show her that the Church can be a family to her. So needless to say, we're excited about some of the people we're meeting. I'm SO THRILLED to be staying in Bloomfield for another transfer. I can't wait to see what happens.

I mentioned last week that we have been volunteering at a nursing home. Well, on Tuesday, I had to sing for them while Sister Crossley played the piano (she'd try to sing and play as much as she could ). They even announced it over the loud speaker! I haven't sung in public for so long! But it was fun, and most of the people just slept through it anyway.

One day this week, we ran into a Baptist preacher who sat us down and gave us a lesson. But he was super nice, and he said he had read our literature. Then a couple hours later, we saw a Seventh Day Adventist whose dream is to have us (the Mormon missionaries), and his Jehovah Witness Missionaries show up on the same day, and have a sparring match. Oh boy! Can you just imagine!? That would be way too heated.

My perspective on my mission has changed a lot in just one transfer period. I came out here because I wanted to serve more..with all my heart. I didn't really expect blessings. I just wanted to learn how to serve. But I'm learning that this opportunity, itself is a blessing. To be able to be a part of Heavenly Father's work is such a blessing. He is letting us take part in what he does, to practice, and learn to see as He does. Ever since I started, I've felt glad that I made this choice and I've been happy to be on my mission. But at the same time, I've wanted the time to go by fast. I keep looking towards the end and thinking about what lies in store for my life. I guess that's just like me though. I am always looking one step ahead. I need to learn to enjoy every moment, because even when it seems long, the time will really fly by and my mission can never come back again. What other time can I feel the strength of the whole world praying for me? I guess that's life though...always enjoy the stage of life that you're in.

While studying Preach My Gospel, I read about the power of just reading the Book of Mormon with investigators. So we decided to try this tactic of reading together with one person who hasn't been progressing for years. As we read, there was just a peacefulness and Spirit in her home that I hadn't felt there were usually going crazy, but this time was different. It reconfirmed to me how powerful the Book of Mormon is! She is also taking Bible studies with the Jehovah Witnesses. It was cool to see this lady make connections between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. She was studying in the Bible about the destruction of Jerusalem, and thought it was interesting to see Lehi and his family escaping the destruction of that city.

I often think about how much work has to happen before the Savior can return. I used to think the Second Coming would be near, but when I see how much has to happen first, it seems a long ways away. But when Heavenly Father wants something to happen, he can speed up the work tremendously. Just look how fast temples went up in 1999-2000. Also, a lady in our ward said that she and her husband calculated (years ago) the time it would take to teach the gospel to the whole earth. If each LDS family could teach just one other family the gospel every year, the whole earth could be taught in just seven years. That is an amazing statistic. My mission is also making the apostasy after each dispensation seem so real. I look at how many people reject the prophets and scriptures today, and then I imagine Noah or Moses or Christ living among us today...and the rejection seems so real. Oftentimes, we look at people who rejected the prophets in olden times as just "stories" or as being overly wicked. But I am beginning to see how easy it is for people to reject prophets who live among them. Joseph Smith brought forth the Book of Mormon and people said there could be nothing added to the bible...but Christ did the same thing. He brought forth new teachings, and the Pharisees said you can't add anything to the Law of Moses. In the MTC my companion talked about the other records which must come forth after the Book of Mormon, and how people will have to accept those books as the Word of God as well. I thought that idea was interesting. Also, I read page 199 in, "Preach My Gospel" in district meeting this week. I often don't feel "mighty in speech" and wish I could just write to people how I feel. I loved what that section had to say about Brigham Young's experience with the missionaries and how sincerity of speech is more important than eloquence. Even Moses wasn't strong of speech. But the Spirit is what magnifies what we say.

I looked back on my life this week, and really appreciated how the Lord has guided me so perfectly. I truly have been so very blessed in each stage of my life.

I love you!

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