Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The power of simplicity

 I had one of my favorite lessons ever this week because it helped me understand the power of simplicity. We were teaching J, and I used the parable of faith as a seed and expounded on it in a way I've never really thought about. The spirit totally took over what I was saying, and what I was saying was very simple. Yet it made sense to her, it made a lot of sense to her. I could see it and feel it. We hadn't planned to talk about that at all, it just came up. I came to see without a doubt, that just as the Savior himself taught in simplicity, so should we. It sticks now. Simplicity in the gospel is so important because it speaks to the simple of understanding and the knowledgeable. That lesson really makes sense to me now, and I'm so happy to have learned it. Because It's so important to understand as a missionary... And I will continue to develop my understanding of it with time.. Anyways, I'll step off my soapbox :P

I love what you said about helping those who have fallen through the cracks. My companion is sick so I spent all of yesterday going though area books full of past investigators and people who have been baptized. It was actually really nice going through them all day, you get to think about the person and their brief relation with the gospel and how they reacted, and you have to use clues and make inferences... I found it really fun believe it or not. I never thought I would say searching through papers all day would be fun, but hey you never know I guess. Anyways in setting out those who I wanted to visit, I came across the large stack of people who have been baptized and are less active. My goals for the next couple transfers are to consolidate the 4 big area books into one, and organize it. I want to visit each one of the hundreds of names in the books to receive updated information on those who have moved, are uninterested etc. Also, I want to visit those who have stopped coming to church and help them re-understand how the gospel will bring blessings into their life that they need. I'm not sure that I will visit every one in that pile, because it's obviously quite a big goal. I know there will be a lot than can come from it. But I'm most excited to try and help those less active members see the blessings from the gospel once again.

Have a lovely week and enjoy the little things!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

This week has been great!

As far as missionary work goes, it has been lovely as well. We made a commitment to stop by every prior investigator who had come to church with the hope that one or more of the people on the list would now be ready to receive the gospel. It has brought such amazing results! Most of the people have moved, but all but two of those who haven't moved said they would like us back. We will continue to do this until we exhaust the list. It has given me time to think about a couple things. One how this week has made me feel, and two planting seeds.
Let me just say, this week has felt amazing! We have been trying to dedicate all of our extra time to visiting these people. We have had to work harder and faster than ever before to fit it all in. If we wasted any time it wasn't because we didn't have something specific to do. Granted these people were spread all around Tamworth so it was A LOT of biking. But nevertheless I think that made it even sweeter. I came to recognize that working that hard made me more confident and comfortable with myself and my purpose. Pushing to achieve a goal feels good. Fighting to achieve a goal feels even better. We were trying to do all the names in a week. However We couldn't physically do that and still teach lessons. So we didn't do all the names in a week. But we fought for it. We tried our best. And it feels so much more fulfilling than achieving a goal because it was too easy. I can't wait until I have that balance down just right. Until my goals are just to where I can reach if I work my hardest, and won't reach them if I don't. That will take more of getting to know myself and time. But I'll get there eventually. I've come to more fully appreciate the joy that comes when you work hard for what you know you want.
Also from this same experience I got to see the power of the small things. All these people who are more prepared to hear the gospel invited us in because they have already had the seed of missionary work planted in them. That is so cool. These peoples lives were influenced long after the missionaries went away. In one case we accidentally got a form mixed up and went to a mans house who had only ever been talked to once on his doorstep. He still was open and friendly. The amount of open doors I saw this week has been astounding. This is the power of being a good example! Most people will have to have tens if not hundreds of doors open before the gospel clicks, but if they have just that first door unlocked... That's enough to let the missionaries do the rest! I can totally see how some missionaries might get overwhelmed out here, sometimes it seems like nobody has those doors open!
Members are the KEY to opening that first door. It is exceedingly hard as a missionary to have someone immediately open up enough to let you plant that seed. Definitely not impossible, but hard. But when it comes to members, and their friends/acquaintances, they have power like you wouldn't believe!
However I too know for myself, the strange and often troubling waters of thinking how to share the gospel with those around you. It can be so difficult and frightening to think of what could happen if something were to go wrong.  However in the reverse, think about if it went right!  As missionaries we are counseled to look at those around us and imagine them in baptismal clothing. It gives great perspective as to why we're here. To help them receive eternal Joy. To allow them to experience the great treasure of knowledge that exists, and that we have so readily available.  I think often times as members we get caught up in the notion of missionary work being this strange distant thing. Most the time, the best way to do missionary work is breadcrumbs. Doing little, non-bold things repeatedly (like service).
Things don't change when you leave for a mission, it's still just as difficult to talk to somebody about the gospel. In fact, we talk to strangers about it, so that's perhaps less comfortable.(or should be) That being the case I've come to learn that everybody has a line in regards to religious discussion. If you're not comfortable boldly crossing the line in order to find it... you have to come to it subtly. We occasionally talk to people who will absolutely shut off at the mere thought of a gospel discussion. My favorite thing is to slip in a testimony or a gospel principle into our casual discussion in a way that goes nearly unnoticed. It's amazing how such a small act changes that line. People become more and more responsive to the gospel when they have repeated non-confrontational contact with it.
 I would challenge everybody who reads this, whomever it may be.. Do something more, to share the blessings you have in your life with those around you. Even if it's something small, it will bring joy to you and those around you. That's what the gospel is about, sharing joy and strengthening and uplifting.
I hope everyone is doing great :)
Forgive my ranting, I tend to do it a lot!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Book of Mormon and joy.

I had a great week and realised a lot! One thing specifically is how much more room I have to use the Book of Mormon to help people solve their problems. We have been promised that the answer to all the problems of this life can be found by studying the Book of Mormon. Whether that's because all life's answer are in there... I don't know. But I do know that diligence to commandments breeds blessings. So I'm trying to be more diligent in using it as a tool. I know that all problems can be solved with it. I've come to appreciate that there is not a single issue in this world that cannot be overcome through faith in Jesus Christ and studying the Book of Mormon. That's why Jesus went to the depths of despair. So He could honestly say ' I've been there and know exactly how it feels. Jesus is the perfect example of a comforter. He will let you speak endlessly of your problems and all the while uplift your spirit. Jesus is our key to redemption in so many ways. When you read in the Book of Mormon, pay attention when they mention types (which are symbolic things) you will come to see how deep the principle of the gospel are and just how many ways the principles of the gospel are inter connected.

I was listening to the testimonies yesterday and was thinking about joy. This is what I came to realise.
As said in the scriptures. Men are that they might have joy. Joy however is not our purpose, it's a consequence. Joy is a natural consequence of righteous progression. If we are in charge of two things we can fill out spirits with joy. One being making sure that your testimony is as strong as it can be today. Meaning, make sure you utilise the countless knowledge and blessings you have been given to this point. I love how the Hymn count your blessing puts it. Count your many blessings and see what God has done. Not what he will do... What he has done. We have so many blessings in our lives. Honestly Trying to count the blessings will make you realise new blessings every time. When we focus on how much we have we realize our potential, which is great.  That being said is making a specific plan for tomorrow to make sure your testimony is stronger than it is today, even if just by a wee bit. Preach my gospel states that people need a reason to change their thoughts and actions. Being grateful will help us realise how God keeps his promises and how much he loves us. This SHOULD be enough to make us desire to improve.

Lots of love, hope all is well.