|Trying to teach her companion how to frown|
To the best family and friends eva! :)
I can't believe this week is already over. I have learned so much that I don't even know where to begin. I guess I will begin with the greatest miracle of all. Which just so happens to be my core experience with God for the Week. We had a baptism!!!!! I have learned so much from spending time with him and teaching him about the restored gospel. One lesson I think that is of utmost importance is learning to let the Holy Ghost teach and not the missionaries. When we realized and started to pick up on the fact that he liked the missionaries more then the teaching, we prayed really hard to be able to get out of the way and let the Holy Ghost teach him. And let me tell ya when that started happening that is when he started to change. In the last month he has become a new person. As we worked with him to resolve his concerns we truly grew to love him and he felt the spirit. So on Friday it was the sweetest experience to watch him be baptized. I felt such a strong spirit there. He had asked me to give a talk on the Holy Ghost. When I got up there and I looked at his bright smiling face I just started to cry, and I couldn't stop for a little while. I felt such a strong spirit and love for him from our Heavenly Father. I knew that He was so pleased with the decision he had made. It was such a sweet experience to be able to witness that.
In my practice as Jesus taught I learned the importance of listening to the voice of the spirit. In a lesson we had with a wonderful family in the ward, we watched the mormon message, Voice of the Spirit, by President James E. Faust. This Mormon Message is about fine tuning a radio to clear out all the static that suffocates the station you seek. It shows an old man fixing an old radio and as soon as he finds the right station he is at peace. He is calm. He can hear the line perfectly. It relates to the spirit in the fact that there is only one line of clear listening, and that is of the spirit. Many of the things in the world suffocate our spirits ability to listen to the Holy Ghost. So what are the things that suffocate our spirit? Many things of the world seem praise worthy, and seem as if to be worthy goals to pursue. But in the Lord's eyes are they what is most important? When we do things in our everyday life are they suffocating our spirit or letting our spirit grow closer to God.
In Moroni 7:13-16 It says
13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
God has given us the ability to choose right from wrong. It is as plain to see as the day light from the dark night. As a missionary there are many things, that if I choose, will suffocate my spirit. But I know that as I focus all my time and energy on serving others and helping them come closer to Christ, I will be able to listen to the voice of the spirit. President Boyd K. Packer said "The spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all. Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening and say in our manner and expression, like Samuel of ancient times, 'Speak [Lord] for they servant heareth." As we are willing to listen, the spirit will come into our minds and our hearts.
I think from the year that I have been serving, I have learned a lot and changed dramatically. As Sister Lloyd and I say, your mission is the fast track of salvation. There are so many life lessons learned and so much spiritual growth that it's crazy to think it's only been a year. From my experience I think some of the best advice I could give to new missionaries is to build and strengthen your relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, every single day. After all this is the Lord's work. We are representatives of Jesus Christ. We should act the part. I know that as we have this focus everything else will fall into place. As we try to emulate the example of our Savior, we will be freely obedient because He was and is. We will be submissive to our leaders and to the spirit. We will be humble, and give all the glory to God for the work accomplished. We will use our time wisely, we will give all that we have for this cause. We will strive to improve and overcome the Natural Man. And we will fulfill our purpose to "ever more effectively invite others to come unto Christ.....to the end." Our missions are not about us, it is a time for us to sacrifice and give all that we have to the Lord.
I love the quote by President George Albert Smith. He says "That is your mission, my brethren and sisters of the Church, that is your responsibility. Freely you have received and our Heavenly Father will expect you freely to share with His other sons and daughters these glorious truths. We will attain our exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom only on the condition that we share with our Father's other children the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and observe the commandments that will enrich our lives here and hereafter." This week it seemed to me that the Lord was humbling me and allowing me to feel true gratitude for the Gospel of Jesus Christ back on the earth in its fullness. One particular experience seems to stick out in my mind. We met a man this week who belonged to another Church. He knew the Bible very well. He was asking us a lot of questions but one that really struck me was when he asked us why we do what we do, when many a doors are slammed in our face every day? I answered the question as you normally do by saying that we love what we do and we know the Gospel is true. But the next day in my studies I was still pondering upon the question because this man was so sincere when he asked us this. I came across some scriptures in the Bible that I really loved.
This is Paul speaking to the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 4:8-11, 15-18
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal
I love these verses and it was confirmed to me yet again that this work is bigger than me. Yes I am here, but I am an instrument in the Lords hand to help bring His children closer to Him. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for the wonderful light and knowledge we have and for the opportunity that we have to share it with others.