February 12, 2015
It's temple Thursday! What I look forward to the most! Which means that I didn't have the chance to write last Monday, so I hope you'll all forgive me.
I feel like I have two weeks to write about! I'll just focus on last week:
We were so busy! It's been a blast, because we are working so hard. That's the way I like it, and it feels good to be able to do so. There is a lot to do in this Amity Ward!
We decided to go tracting down a block of small townhouses. Well, after a few knocks we met a lady from the Czech Republic! At first she was like, "I'm not LDS!" but as we got talking she let us in! Long story short, she chatted up a storm, gave us coconut oil for our skin and chocolates, and said we can be her daughters. She showed us a Book of Mormon that had been given to her in her language. When she was around 20, her and her husband had to escape from her country and come to America. It's amazing what she's been through. We are going back soon. We also tracted into a house where a son was taking care of his Elderly mother. He didn't seem too thrilled to see us, or thrilled about anything really, but we asked if we could come in and say a prayer for them. He accepted! We came, prayed, and then sang to his mother. We went back this week and they let us in again.
We had a great lesson with the Elkins. We felt like we should talk about prayer, and when we got there, we felt like we should read from Joseph Smith History about his prayer. :) As we were reading the First Vision, Wes Elkins (the Dad) stopped. He had been reactivated - his story is that he was not making good decisions in his life, and ended up turning to prayer. Well, God led him to give himself up to go to Jail. He did so, and in Jail he came across a Book of Mormon. He picked it up to read it because he wanted to prove his Mom that she was wrong, since she's an active member. Well, you know the drill. He read it, felt the Spirit, and knew it was true. He changed his life, and now he's trying to get active in the church. So, when he stopped in the lesson, he raised his hand and bore the most powerful testimony of Joseph Smith and the first vision. He said, "It isn't a gimmick, it isn't just a story. It is true, and I know Joseph Smith was a Prophet." He then went on to point out how that text was written by Joseph, and that it was a completely different feel than the words in the Book of Mormon in the sense of how it was written. He then bore his testimony to his family that the Book of Mormon was not written by Joseph, or made up by him. It was translated, and it was the word of God. I don't think I've felt the Spirit stronger in a lesson than at that moment.
We also had a Zone Conference! They asked me to do a five minute training on repentance. Well, what they didn't tell me was that President and Sister Winder were going to be there! Well, it turned out really well. I talked about Newton's Laws - F = ma, and if an object is not met by any force it will continue in the same direction and speed. But then I related it to this world - no object is going to have no forces acting on it. For example, a hockey puck is met by gravity, friction on the ice, the ice melting, hockey sticks, skates, goalies, and so forth. In this life, we can't just coast. We can't just expect to stay the same continuously. That's what Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden, and it wasn't part of Gods plan for them to be there forever. They had to face opposition, and they had to to grow to reach their potential. In this life there are forces for good, and forces for the adversary. We can't stay in one place. We either turn to the Lord and progress, or let various temptations help us lose sight of what's important, or the spiritual experiences we've had. I referenced Elder Holland's talk, "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence," which is AMAZING and you all should read it. In the talk he compares life to an athletic contest, and how it "isn't over until it is over". No matter what spiritually enlightening experience we have today, tomorrow Satan's going to fight to try to get us to lose sight of that. That's why repentance and change are so important, so we continuously are RE turning to the light. Repentance = Remember = Return to God. I think it went well. President Winder said he really liked it, so that must mean it was OK.
The highlight of my week was Sunday though! On my very first dinner appointment with the first Councillor in the Bishopric he found out that I could sing. He immediately half-jokingly asked if I would sing a musical number the following Sunday. Haha he found out I was serious though, because I accepted! I always pray about the song to sing, and I felt like opening my hymn book one morning as I studied and pondered about it. I turned right to "I Stand All Amazed," and I felt strongly like that was the one. I called the pianist I had been referred to, and she had the exact version (Michael Hicks) that I had wanted to sing. She mentioned that it had been sung a year ago, so it was a decent amount of time between being sung, but was I sure? Yes, I replied.
We invited a few less active members to come to church, and three of them did! One was a certain Brother Cary, who's daughter is a singer. Well, when I looked at the music I had been given by my pianist, I noticed that it was signed by a Leia Cary...His daughter who was the singer, who had served a mission! She had sung it before her mission, and then bought the sheet music for Sister Dixon, her piano player! And now here I was, at a missionary farewell, singing that same song. I know the Lord directed me to sing that to touch his heart. But wait, there is more of a miracle. After I sang, and I truly felt as though the Lord helped me, the soon-to-be-Sister-missionary who was giving her farewell talk got up, and tearing up said that she knows the Lord is aware of her and sent her a tender mercy because a Sister Missionary sang her favorite hymn that day.
There are miracles every day, we just have to have our eyes open to see them. I love the Lord, and I love this work!
Have a great week!