|We had our last lesson with Hermana Rebecca Ellingson on Saturday. She's off to get married!|
So, starting last Thursday, we had a lesson with one of our 'investigators'. She's named Vanessa, and she's an atheist. The first 3? maybe 2 lessons were just absolutely worthless, we couldn't get her to open up. It's so difficult with an atheist because until you figure out why they're letting you meet with them, they completely shut you off. In reality though, that's basically all people. Understanding the needs of the people we come in contact with is how we make a difference in their lives. Anyways, last Thursday rolls around, and we're pretty hopeless about this meeting. We don't have much of a lesson plan at all, I think all that we had planned was to start off by singing "I am a Child of God" (in Spanish, of course). This was also our first time singing a hymn in a lesson. The spirit that poured into that lesson was so strong, so thick, is spoke comfort to her heart and testified to us that this is what she needed to hear. Elder Carter continued on to talk about how he didn't like that song as a child (he has a complex family story) but now he's come to love it thinking about the future family he'll build. (PS: The reason Vanessa is atheist is because when she was young her dad beat her mom and she felt that her prayers were never answered). So we talked a lot about what she wants in the future from a family and a little bit about how the gospel can help with that. I then asked her why she was letting us meet with her. She said that honestly, it was just because she wanted to learn more about Mormon culture. I responded with a promise and a plan. I told her that as she listened to our discussions, she'd come to understand Mormon culture, since you have to understand our doctrine to understand why we do things. I also promised her that if she allowed us to give her all the lessons, she'd gain a testimony of our church and a knowledge that God is real. Then she offered a prayer and the spirit was again just so thick. I love the opportunities I have here on my mission to feel God's love, both for me and others.
A friend shared this with me in an email and I loved it so much I wrote it down and will share it with all of you now:
"It's amazing how God works when we get quiet & dive into his word." In addition, I'd like to add another phrase:
"It's amazing how God works when we stop whining & dive into his work."
I'm experiencing both of these so much right now. The miracles are everywhere, and I'm not even in the field yet.
Going chronologically through my diary, here's a thought I had from Tuesday:
"If you desire to command a man's intentions, to change his life in a fundamental way, you must first command his respect in a fundamental way. No lies, no pride, and no use of worldly power; you must prove to him the integrity of your character. To do that, you must have a character of integrity. You must first change your life in a fundamental way."
I was frustrated with a substitute teacher I had that day. The teacher had never built any respect with me, and so when she started to criticize me I got really defensive. It was a huge lesson to me on how people that I meet every day in the mission field will feel.
Tuesday, we had to go to the dentist's office because Elder Carter thought he had a cavity. We walked into that dentist's office, and the most amazing thing happened. We sat down and this lady started talking to us. Within 30 seconds of her saying hello, she was in tears telling us about the difficulties she was having in her life. We were able to share with her some scriptures and some thoughts, and were able to comfort her soul. I wish there was more we could've done, but it was such a cool experience. My name badge holds so much power. The part that really gets me though is how 'coincidental' the whole thing was.
1. Elder Carter didn't even end up having a cavity
2. We showed up 40 minutes early -- we shouldn't have even met her
3. We were able to get an appointment the same day that we contacted the dentist.
To quote my journal on the experience: "We were able to bring a woman closer to Christ today. She saw our badges and just poured out her concerns to us. I am so glad I was able to play the role of comforter today, and I am SO happy that I was worthy enough to be a spiritual conduit that the Lord could trust. It was truly wonderful to see God work in her life today."
Alright, one last thought.
I'm a prideful man. It's a character trait that I'm working on, and I've been working on, and I'll be working on, but it is definitely a character flaw. I'm also overly competitive, and judge my brethren far too harshly. I have so many faults; I mess up many times every day. I go wrong all the time. But, to sum it up in a little bitty phrase, You can never go wrong with love. Never. Nada. Not even when an elder is overly competitive during volibol. Not even when a teacher hasn't earned my respect yet. Not even when a homeless man is sleeping on a park bench. I can never, ever go wrong with love. It's a really powerful concept, and it's really really true. Nobody can ever go wrong with love.
I'm sorry this weeks email was so scatter brained, there's just so much that happened. Love you all!
Yo se que Jesucristo es nuestro salvador y redentor. Yo se que mediante su expiacion puedo ser limpio. Yo se que puedo darle mis cargas y él las recibirá. Yo se que Dios es nuestro padre celestial, y nos ama. Yo se que la biblia y el Libro de Mormon son las palabras de profetas de Dios. Yo se que Dios tiene un plan de felicidad para nos. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.
|Picture with the district that flew out this Monday (it's the whole zone),|
|With Elder Haderlie|
|Elder Roberts, our district leader, A big old goof.|
|Elder Tullis. I hope we're companions in the field. We could literally be brothers we're so similar!|
|Elder Dunford, from the district that just left. I'm gonna miss him! He's a GREAT man. Very profound, and really really super nice.|
|Elder Kleinman, my nerd buddy. We're gonna go see lord of the rings with a live orchestra when we get home. Also, I'm going to learn violin and we'll do 'concerning hobbits' on violin + guitar. Paz. (peace in Spanish -- he loves the 70's)|