Monday, October 24, 2016

Sifting the Wheat from the Tares

This week was good! It was a really interesting week. It was another week that felt like it was full of meetings. Transfers were on Tuesday and although Elder Hala'eua and I didn't get transferred, we did get a set of Spanish elders put here in Madras! They are living on the other side of town, but it is nice to have some other people here with us. They are serving here in Madras and in a town called Prineville, but they go to the Spanish branch down in Redmond so it is about a 45 minute drive for them each week for church (It's only about 26 miles to Redmond, but Oregons speed limits are super slow!) So we helped Elder and Sister Brandon move some of their stuff into their apartment on Tuesday. One of the Elders is from Augusta! I thought that was funny. 

This week was tough because we had to really work on sifting out the wheat from the tares. Back at the beginning of the year, the old stake President of the Redmond stake set a goal of 75 baptisms for the stake. He didn't know how or why, but that was the revelation that he received. So far, we are at 29 I think, so we need like 46 more before the New Year. Our zone is really motivated to get there, but we know that it will require diligence and finding prepared people that are ready to hear the gospel. Because of that, we had to drop quite a few people from this week. It is crazy because when you first meet with people, you think that they are SO ready and prepared, but then they don't follow through with commitments, which makes it impossible to gain a testimony of the Restored Gospel. We spent a lot of time with our friend Brother Watkins. He is a 61 year old man that has some struggles, but is honestly seeking the truth. We had a couple of lessons with him where the Spirit was really strong and he truly understood what we were discussing. There were some issues that arised that softened his desire to be baptized, so we invited him to pray in the lesson and ask God if what we were saying was true and if he still felt like he couldn't be baptized then we wouldn't move forward. He started to pray to himself (so Elder Hala and I started praying to ourselves!) and then a minute later looked up and said "see you tomorrow". It was super cool! He is an awesome man and I really hope that he continues to find his answers through study and prayer. 

We talked about the Book of Mormon a ton this week during trainings and studies. It is amazing how simple the concept is. If you read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, Heavenly Father WILL let you know that it is true, through the Holy Ghost. If. You receive that witness, then you KNOW that Joseph Smith is a true prophet and that this really is the Lord's Kingdom on the Earth today preparing the way for His Second Coming. All that you have to do is read and ask with sincerity and with the intent to act on the answers that you receive. I think that that is something that we should ALL do, whether we are members or not, frequently. The Book of Mormon really is the keystone of our religion and it really is true! I don't know all of the stories by heart, don't have a million scriptures memorized, but I know that it is true and I am so grateful for that

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