This week has been great. Probably the greatest week of the transfer so far. :) I will get to that though. The week has gone so fast! I swear it was just a couple hours ago that I was sitting at this computer writing home last Monday.
Have you noticed any difference in your missionary work during or as a result of the recent presidential election? Did the fact that Mitt Romney is a member of the Church affect your missionary labors or questions about the Church? Has it been good, bad, or indifferent in your respective missions?
In answer to your question about the recent election, I didn't notice much a difference. I have had people mention Mitt Romney and tell me I should vote for him (or tell me they voted for him). But that is about the extent of it. Now if the fact that he was a member of the church and that caused people to listen to us when they may not have otherwise... I have no idea. Nobody has mentioned it.
Is there anything special you want from home?
um..... I can't think of anything really..... thanks for asking though.
What was the hardest thing you faced this week?
Sister Nelson getting ready to go home next Monday. I'm really going to miss her. We have gone through so much together. Thankfully I will see her next summer, so it will is not that bad.
What was the most joyous experience you had this week?
Seeing the power and authority of our calling as missionaries. I'll try to explain what happened, but I know it isn't going to be as great as the actual experience. Feelings are hard enough to communicate verbally let alone through an email. I pray the Spirit will help those who read this feel the excitement and emotion behind what I write.
So Friday after district meeting we went out tracting in the rain. :) It was pretty fun. We prayed with a couple people, but didn't find any new people to teach. We also checked on some less active members. While we were checking on them Sister Obena saw from across the parking lot another one of our less active members. It was so perfect! We didn't know where he was living, but now we do. :) We were able to talk to him and invite him to church and the ward activity that night. It was all a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
Now, if that would have been all that happened that day I would have been happy. I knew that we had worked hard and had used the Lord's time wisely, even though we didn't see a whole lot of things happen from the work we had done. However, the Lord blessed us with so much later that evening! Both Sister Nelson and I both had the feeling that since we had been working so hard the Lord was going to provide a miracle for us later that evening. We knew our bishop had invited his friend, [Name withheld], who is not a member to the ward Christmas party. I had this thought that our miracle was going to be with [Name withheld]. It was a very quick thought that left as quick as it came.
Well we get to the Christmas party and [Name withheld] is there. (Originally he wasn't going to be there, but things happened a few days earlier to where his plans changed and he would be able to make it). We talked with [Name withheld] the whole time. After the Christmas party was over Sister Nelson and I sat and talked to him for nearly 2 hours! (Sister Obena was helping clean up)
At first [Name withheld] was doing most of the talking and we sat and listened to what he was saying. I did get worried that we wouldn't be able to share much with him about the gospel because he kept talking about other things. But we sat and listened to [Name withheld] and the things he wanted to share with us. Then [Name withheld] told us of a near death experience he had. For the sake of time, his story reminded me of Alma the Younger. (see Alma 36:6-16) Both Sister Nelson and I thought of Alma 36 and shared the story with him. We told him about how Alma experienced the same thing he did and how he turned to Christ and repented of his sins. I wish you could have seen [Name withheld]'s face while we shared that story with him. He was listening so intently to what we were saying.
Sister Nelson asked [Name withheld] if he had ever read the Book of Mormon before. At first he didn't want to read it. He was concerned that it was all the doctrines of Joseph Smith. We made it clear that the Book of Mormon only contained the doctrine of Jesus Christ. [Name withheld] had some other concerns about the Book of Mormon. I had the impression to be bold and straightforward with him in bearing my testimony of the Book of Mormon and of prophets. So that's what I did. (and so did Sister Nelson.) The spirit was so strong! I could hardly sit still.
Sister Nelson gave him a 1 minute version of the 1st lesson. As I sat and listened to her speak I could feel the power and authority in the words she spoke. I knew that she was speaking by the Spirit and that the things we shared with [Name withheld] were true. (As a missionary I know we have power and authority to preach the gospel and that people see missionaries in a different way. However, since I'm around other missionaries all the time and have that power and authority to preach the gospel it is hard for me to always see the difference, even though I know it is there.)
At one point [Name withheld] said something about how we can't take our families with us after we die. Sister Nelson bore a POWERFUL testimony of the reality that families can be together forever. We know [Name withheld] felt the power behind the things we said by the Spirit to him. He even told us that he liked the Spirit he felt when we spoke. By the end of our conversation with him he took a copy of the Book of Mormon. :)
Interestingly enough, when he was talking at the beginning there was a lot of commotion around us. People were cleaning up the gym and it was pretty loud and crazy. Once Sister Nelson and I started to bear our testimonies the gym had cleared out and nobody was there. [Name withheld] made the comment to our bishop afterwords that Sister Nelson and I were "spiritual powerhouses". I know it was the Spirit working through us to soften his heart though. I know he felt that way because we are called of God to preach His gospel by His Spirit. He also told Bishop (and later us) that he was amazed at how the time flew by while we were talking. He was amazed that even though there were people around us he felt like the three of us were the only ones in the gym. (we felt the same way)
We saw [Name withheld] yesterday and he has read from the Book of Mormon. He still has questions and concerns that are very common. However, we will start teaching him this week. :) He is a great guy and we absolutely love him!
He taught us some valuable lessons too. I mentioned that if he is in a room with 500 people he didn't know, but these people know Christ and believe in Christ he should get 500 invitations to come unto Christ. He talked a lot about how we have things to offer people and we shouldn't leave anybody without invitations to come unto Christ. This doesn't just apply to full-time missionaries. If anything it applies to regular members of the Church. We must OPEN OUR MOUTHS and share this gift we have been given. It was very profound. I will never forget it!
So that was probably the most memorable experience I had this week. However, that wasn't the only one. On Wednesday we were teaching a lady from China. She is having a hard time understanding Jesus Christ as the only one who could be the Savior of the world. We had planned to teach her the Plan of Salvation but as we were studying that morning the inspiration came to us to use Alma 34:8-16. As a companionship we came up with this analogy of Christ being the only doctor who can heal us. I can't go into the whole analogy, (I'm getting tired of typing and running out of time) but we taught her using this analogy. It ended up being a super spiritual lesson! She was so excited because she understood and it was clear to her. :)
What was the funniest thing you saw or felt this week?
haha! One of the members of our ward is a little Korean lady. We were visiting her on Saturday and she told us that if you put "good" honey on your face it makes it soft and gets rid of peach fuzz. She gave us some "good" honey and Sister Nelson and I put it on our face that night. The honey didn't do anything except make our faces sticky and make for some pretty great pictures and videos. We were laughing so hard! Sister Obena thought we were crazy! :) I will send some pictures.
I say it every week, but I love being a missionary! It is hard work and I cry about it sometimes, but it is the BEST thing ever! My testimony is growing so strong! But even more importantly I am becoming more deeply converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A testimony is important because it leads to deep and lasting conversion. However having a testimony of something doesn't do us much good if we are not converted to the gospel.
The Bible Dictionary says this about conversion, "Conversion. Denotes changing one’s views, in a conscious acceptance of the will of God (Acts 3:19). If followed by continued faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism in water for the remission of sins, and the reception of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, conversion will become complete, and will change a natural man into a sanctified, born again, purified person—a new creature in Christ Jesus (see 2 Cor. 5:17). Complete conversion comes after many trials and much testing (see Luke 22:32; D&C 112:12–13). To labor for the conversion of one’s self and others is a noble task, as in Ps. 51:13; Dan. 12:3; James 5:19–20; D&C 18:15–16. Cf. Alma 26."
I love you! I hope you have a great week! Remember the gospel is true! :)
Love, Sister Record