"Wherefore, whithersoever they shall send you, go ye, and I will be with you; and in whatsoever place ye shall
proclaim my name an effectual door shall be opened unto you, that they may receive my word."
- Doctrine & Covenants 112:19

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

8 Months later...

This week has been so busy but so good!

We've been taking lots of tours in the Beehive House and I think we are actually starting to give good tours haha.

It was actually kind of a weird week. I'm not sure how to explain it, I guess it was just one of those weeks. But for example...

Saturday night we were contacting at the Christus when someone ACTUALLY proposed at the feet of Christ. That's so weird to me that someone would propose there! It was pretty awkward. They had blindfolded the girl and walked her all the way up there and all their extended family members were around filming it as they took off the blindfold except that it wouldn't come off at first. Haha it was really funny to watch!

There's so many other weird stories but those don't really matter. We had some great lessons where the spirit was so strong:

Here is one lesson...Some sisters that went home this past transfer contacted me a guy they had recently met named Jordan. Well we met up with him on Thursday for a lesson, and it went...okay. Haha. He is 28 and lives here to teach flying at the SLC Airport. He lives with a Returned Missionary and had been walking on Temple Square when the Sisters contacted him. He grew up Pentecostal but when he got older, it kind of rubbed him the wrong way and he felt like they were staging the 'speaking in tongues.' So he left the church and became Agnostic. He started to drink and smoke and make bad choices and some years later he got turned to AA, which has really helped him. Now he doesn't use those substances and because of the AA program, he has been praying daily. He feels that it helps him from being tempted to drink. In AA, they are taught to pray to a higher power, but not necessarily God. So he prays to God but isn't sure if He exists. We asked why he decided to meet with the sisters and with us and he said he had nothing better to do. We had a long lesson with him doing HTBT (PMG) and teaching about the nature of God and how we can feel His love and how He reveals truth. We shared the First Vision and the spirit was really strong. He would kinda laugh to brush off feeling the spirit, I think he's afraid of finding what he's been looking for. We talked about how he can read and pray about the Book of Mormon to know if it is true and he thinks that is biased and that he will be convincing himself. The experiment mentioned in Alma 32 is perfect for him. It talks about planting a seed and measuring it's efforts. The previous sisters had him read it, but when we mentioned the experiment, he didn't remember reading that. He really liked that idea and said he would read it. Sorry this is all so scrambled, I promise the lesson went better than this haha. But we just told him that all it will come down to is him reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. We told him that we are not here to try to convince him, but we're here to help him find out for himself. We told him that we could be in a room with no windows and tell him that the sky is green, but it would be silly to take our word for it. He would have to go outside and look for himself. That's what we invited him to do is to ask God and trust Him enough to get an answer so he can know that God exists and that He is there. He said that his level of commitment on a scale from 1-10 is a 5. I think he got a lot more than he was thinking when he came that day. But we're not here to be friends or to offer him the Gospel lightly, this is salvation, and he needs this. We're here to harvest. At the end, we asked if we could meet with him again the next week and he said that before he had just been coming because he had nothing better to do, but now he would actually have to pray about it. I was so happy with that answer, that meant that he was serious about it, and that he was thinking. When we followed up with him this week, he hadn't read Alma 32 and said that he wouldn't be back this week but that he was doing his own 'research.' I asked how he was doing his 'research' and he said Google. No way haha the worst. So I g ave him a quote from Elder Anderson in the last General Conference: "Studying the church...through the eyes of its defectors is like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus." I love that quote. I don't think it really phased him but we have so much faith! I know that Heavenly Father will help him. We are praying for him that his desire will be strengthened and his heart softened. We know we can see miracles because this is the Lord's work, and the Lord works miracles. We also put him on a list of people we all pray for as a District. Someday he will totally be baptized.

Another lesson we had was with a guy named Richard. Actually it's such a cool story!

I found him when I left SLC and went to Columbus. He sat next to me on the plane and we talked for a long time about his religious background and about the church, and he actually gave his information to me to learn more. I couldn't call him while I was in Ohio so I tucked away the old planner. Well the Spirit reminded me this week that his number was in my old planner so I called him and it was a great conversation. At first I was a little worried because the very first thing he said is that he volunteers regularly for his catholic church program that he loves. But the Spirit has perfect timing. He lives in Glendale, and the missionaries have come by many times but he said they are always pushy and it rubs him the wrong way, so he would never take a Book of Mormon. After our conversation of establishing expectations and our purpsoe of missionaries and why we wanted to call him and teach him more, he said that if missionaries came right now he would take a Book of Mormon and he would read it. It was way cool. He said that he was hoping I would call and that he knows it is a sign from God. We called him again yesterday and he is going to read the Book of Mormon online until the missionaries come. We're excited!

This week I have been reading 'The Ricciardi Letter' again. I don't know if you've heard about it, but it's a letter of a Returned Missionary, Elder Humphry, talking about his crazy trainer, Elder Ricciardi. It turns out that Elder Ricciardi was about the boldest and most consecrated missionary in the history of all missionaries. It is really inspiring to read as a missionary, but I bet as a Member it would also be inspiring to apply not only to missionary work but trials that we could be going through, so I will attach it. But two things I like and want to share are:

-One, he tells a story of a previous life lesson he learned that applies to missionary work: "When I was in high school, I worked at a golf course. I became friends with the assistant pro and he started to give me free lessons. I quit after about 10 lessons for one simple reason: I was frustrated by the 55 things you have to think about almost simultaneously in order to have a good swing. The club pro finally advised me to stop taking lessons, go play and do one thing for him, just swing, swing, swing. That’s it. Do not give any care as to where the ball goes, just swing. He told me “Danny, you will enjoy golf better by just swinging”. The same applies to missionary work." And then he talked about how we don't have to be perfect. All Jesus Christ expects from us to to open our mouths, and He promises to fill them. We just have to "swing" and talk to everyone.

-Two, he later gets transferred to an area that was really an armpit of the mission. It was really hard and although he was being exactly obedient and working as hard as he could, he couldn't see any results. Finally he went and let out his frustration to the Lord in prayer. He prayed for a very long time, out loud, longer than he had ever prayed before. The answer he got to his prayer changed the mission for him and I think taught him an eternal lesson. The answer was: "Elder Humphrey, I am here. I know who you are. I sent you to those neighborhoods, the very ones where you experienced nothing but rejection. I prompted your changes in direction to even more difficult neighborhoods. I know where each of the elect in your area resides. I know their names. I could send you to those addresses only, and save you the time and sacrifice looking for them. BUT ELDER HUMPHREY, WHAT GOOD WOULD THAT SERVE YOU? The mission experience is to do what you are told, when you are told, to go where you are asked, and know that the blessing comes from enduring what I ask of you. This is not about you; it is about opening your mouth at all times in all places. Doing my will without thought to the end result or consequence… this is what serving a mission is. " It brings me back to that quote, 'don't be so faithless that you have to see the results of your efforts.' This is our life experience too, we can't pick and choose our trials but God has created a meticulous and specific plan for each of us, and every one of those plans leads to joy because that is God's purpose for us.

That's why we don't care that our weeks was full of strange people and strange events because we don't need to see the results of our efforts. We just simply want to be instruments in the Lord's hands. We are so lucky to be missionaries!

Well that's about all we have time for. We'll write more about the other investigators we have next week. Thanks for the prayers, I feel them and they are so appreciated.

Love you!

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