We never know what kind of impact we will have on people. I am so happy to hear everything went well with Grandpa's funeral. Was a lot of family there? I enjoyed the pictures you send dad. I have been thinking of the song How Firm a Foundation this morning. I remember hearing that it was Grandpa's favorite song. I love that song as well. It has brought me so much peace and comfort whenever I feel alone.
So I'm not really sure were to go with this letter.... I left my journal at the apartment on accident. I feel like I left my brain at home and I'm trying to figure out what happened this week. It has been a great week! I love my companions. I'm so grateful I have companions. I have learned so much from each and every one of them, from the MTC to now. I am so grateful for the things I have learned as a missionary. I feel like a completely different person (spiritually) than I was 130 days ago. Yes... I just counted how many days I have been on my mission.
Okay, I feel like I have waited long enough to dive into this. I kind of told you about it last week. This amazing thing we are doing in this mission which President and Sister Taylor have called the Heavenly Gift. It even has a theme scripture. (Ether 12:8-9) If it had a theme song it would be something like the Superman theme song because it is that incredible.... no... it is more incredible than Superman.
So just a recap on the Heavenly Gift: instead of our normal door approach of introducing ourselves as missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and asking if we can share a message we tell them we are representatives of Jesus Christ (how powerful is that?) and that we would like to say a prayer with them. Once they accept we ask them for their needs and things they would like us to pray specifically for. Once the prayer is over we identify the Spirit, testify briefly that the same Spirit can be felt more in their lives as they learn about the restored Gospel, set a return appointment and then leave. All of this takes less than 10 minutes.
THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!!!
Seriously! This Heavenly Gift is a miracle in our mission! It works so well because the people of Oklahoma LOVE to pray! They pray in restaurants over their food. They have no problem praying in public. It is amazing! I wish I could share with you how excited I am about the Heavenly Gift and have you feel that same excitement. :) The Heavenly Gift was introduced to the mission at zone conference last month. As they demonstrated how to do the Heavenly Gift you could feel the excitement among the missionaries. This is a huge change in our mission. The Heavenly Gift is a way to spread the Gospel to more and more people because more and more people will give us the chance.
Friday was temple conference and President Taylor told us how the numbers in our mission has changed since the introduction of the Heavenly Gift. The number of new investigators in the mission in the last month has jumped 76%. That is insane!! This means more people are allowing us to pray with them and then allowing us to come back into their home to teach them an actual lesson. Thanks to the Heavenly Gift Sister Nelson, Sister Christensen and I have found 17 or God's children to teach! This would have NEVER happened without the Heavenly Gift.
I have compiled a list of why the Heavenly Gift is such a miracle, some of which I've already mentioned.
1. Since January the mission has been fasting each fast Sunday that the Lord's work would hasten in the mission, The faith of the missionaries, investigators and the members would increase, that the missionaries would have faith that there is much people prepared to hear the message of the Restoration and that the Church would be more firmly established in our area. Well my friends, President Taylor being inspired by the Lord to introduce the Heavenly Gift was an answer to that fast. (Just a side note, telling us about the Heavenly Gift was not a part of zone conference until the drive to zone conference. Sister Taylor gave it the name Heavenly Gift literally en route to zone conference.)
2. Even after we have given the individual the Heavenly Gift and they don't want to have us come back we were able to plant a seed more effectively than before. They were able to feel the Spirit and they now have that image of us as missionaries. They more fully understand that we are Christian.
3. At the end of the day, our faith and attitudes are usually still pretty high. We have felt like we have ministered to God's children regardless of if we found new people to teach or not.
4. The Heavenly Gift can be given to anybody, anytime, anywhere. It is great to use the Heavenly Gift with members, less active members, investigators, and anybody we may meet.
I am so thankful I have been given this opportunity to give people the Heavenly Gift so early in mission. President Taylor is going to continue to give trainings on how to best give people the Heavenly Gift. We are in no way perfect at it as missionaries but even with how imperfect we are at it, it has been working. We still sometimes hold on to our old ways because it is what is comfortable (even though it wasn't working).
On Friday at temple conference we had the opportunity to give another companionship the Heavenly Gift. It was a way to practice, but not really. This was a real Heavenly Gift and we prayed for the needs of the other companionship. We were paired up with a senior couple who had just arrived in the mission a few days prior. We were able to find out their needs and then pray for those needs. Wow! What an experience! :) The Spirit was so strong and within a matter of 10 minutes there was such a bond between us and the senior couple. Then they said a prayer for us. It was such a sweet prayer.
As I sincerely pray for people and their needs I have felt my ability to love others grow so much. I have felt closer to my Father in Heaven as I pray for others and their needs. I love praying! I have never prayed so much in my life! For those who have served missions, you know how much you pray as a missionary. Now just imagine that every door you knocked on you offered to say a sincere genuine prayer for the person who opens that door. Now imagine half of those people accept a prayer. That is a ton of praying! I can't get enough of it! It makes me so happy! :D
I love being a missionary so much! I will never ever regret my decision to serve a mission. I realized today that it has been just over 9 months since I made that decision. What a fantastic 9 months it as been. :D I love you all very very much! Have a fantastic week!
Love Sister Record