Dear Family and Friends,
Well, it's been a wonderful week here in South Carolina. We did have a couple things happen with some of our folks you might have read about in the past. Here's an update on a few.
N: She told us this week she has decided to remain Baptist for awhile. Which is sad, but also fine. We pretty much had figured. So we're going to slow down a little bit. We've started her on the addiction recovery program and that went WAY better than we expected. Also, she is NOT excited that I am leaving, although she expressed a great deal of love for Sister Ekberg this week. It was really great!
R: We went over to teach R, but didn't end up teaching her because we talked (signed) about ordering her a Book of Mormon and that she'd have to pay and then we were going to teach her but she said she had to eat because she has diabetes and her blood sugar was off. So... :|
K: Right at the beginning of my time here, we went over and taught her the Restoration and she had really awesome questions like, "How do you know President Nelson is a prophet?" She called us yesterday morning in a panic because of a lot of personal stuff going on in her life, so we rushed to a different city to talk to her. One of our members called her on the phone and told her to come to church so she could get help. It was such a testimony builder to see the ward just reach out to this poor, sick, scared young lady and offer her dinner, a place to stay the night, babysitting for her kids, and a ride to and from church. It was beautiful. She had an awesome experience.
P: She was our Bible referral from awhile back. We went and delivered her a large print copy of the Bible so she could see the words, and she was so grateful. We just started talking about the things Jesus Christ taught in the Bible, and that led us to bring up what the "gospel" actually means: faith, repentance, baptism by water and fire, and enduring to the end. She was quiet for a second and then asked us a question. "So, say I got baptized five or six years ago, but a lot has happened between then and now. Do I need to be baptized again?" And that, my friends, is what we call a golden opportunity to explain the need for priesthood authority. Once she heard that, we asked her how she was feeling. She began to explain that she had been searching for the true church, and asking all her friends about their churches, and going to different services, and trying to find the one that was best for her. She said she felt like she had done all she could, and now the Lord was showing her the way by bringing the true church to her. SO THAT WAS AWESOME.
Something that's been on my mind as the airplane engines get louder is the necessity to stay true to the faith. I think it can be dangerously easy without the structure of a missionary routine to get out of the habit of doing the small things. I heard an interesting concept from my good friend Hank Smith (inspirational speaker) based on Alma 32 that since a testimony is like a tree, you can't lose it. Did I say that loud enough? YOU CAN'T JUST LOSE A TREE. You can't just go outside and be like, "Wait, where'd I put my tree? I swear I just had it here a minute ago..." That IS NOT A THING, OKAY??? You can't lose a testimony.
But if your testimony tree is not rooted in personal experiences with Christ -- in a personal witness gained by life experience, earnest study of the scriptures, fervent prayer and a confirmation from the Holy Ghost -- it is easy to let your tree die. If you stop watering a young tree, or stop nourishing it with sunlight and food and what it needs to survive, if you lock it in a dark room so it never sees the light of day and most of all if you don't care about the tree, it will die.
Just to conclude: You can't lose your testimony. Testimonies don't just pick up and leave. But you can let them die. Testimonies take work, and they take experience. But they're worth it. Because one day that tree will bring forth fruit. I can't even talk about how great being a missionary is without getting emotional. It's because as a missionary, my tree brought forth fruit. I can testify, from experience, that the taste of this fruit is so delicious that for the rest of my life I will be seeking more of that fruit. I'll be nourishing and caring for my tree so that it grows into a strong tree that is fruitful enough that I can share my experiences with Christ with other people.
And with experience comes a power that is undeniable. Always remember: a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an opinion. You might know a person or two with an opinion about your faith, but you have experiences, and so you do not have to be afraid of what they might think.
I know for myself that the Book of Mormon is absolutely true. I have prayed and asked and received a witness from the Holy Spirit that it is true, and that Jesus is the Christ. He really lives. I have learned for myself, independent of anyone else, that God is aware of the situations we need, uncomfortable though they may be for us. He is aware of the trials we face and the aid we require, and He has promised that He will not leave us comfortless. I know that He always comes through for us. We will experience hardship and darkness. But He sent His Son to be our example and our light. Please turn to Him and find eternal life.
I love y'all!
Don't let the muggles get you down!
|Picture from exchanges|