Monday, March 27, 2017

Teaching By the Spirit

The week here went well. We did a ton of walking. We had a Zone Conference on Wednesday. We talked about knowing how you are a successful missionary. And how the measure of success doesn't come from baptisms or anything like that. But the success is told by your commitment to serve the Lord. We also talked a lot about lesson plans. We talked about creating more specific lesson plans and planning lessons by the Spirit. We tried to really work on that this week, and it went well. We had a couple of very good lessons because the presence of the Spirit was so strong. And we taught in more unity than we probably ever have. It was really cool because we planned the lessons totally by the Spirit and as we were teaching when one of us went off from where the plan was, we were able to know for a fact that it was because that thought and direction was prompted by the Spirit. 

Something that I have studied in respect to the opposition is that it is real and really doesn't want us to accomplish the Lord's work. If you think about Joseph Smith, when he went to pray, he felt an unknown power holding him back and binding his tongue. The adversary knew that he was about to have an experience that would change the course of history in a righteous way and really didn't want it to happen! Same thing with Christ after He was baptized. Right before He began His ministry, or at least that of which we have recorded in the Bible, He went to the wilderness to fast and pray and be closer to God. At this time, Satan comes and tries to tempt Him. I think it's because he knew that Christ was about to begin His earthly ministry and perform miracles and do the will of the Father, so he wanted to do his best to stop it. I have personally seen that on my mission too. As I take steps closer to the Savior, I feel the outside pressure from the adversary. It's super frustrating for me personally. It's bugs the heck out of me! I saw it with my mission papers and getting everything sent in and good to go, and I've seen it out here as I take steps that I know I need to take in order to progress. Sometimes it's hard to remember in the moment that it is just the opposition and that if we turn to the Lord in those moments then we will be fine, but that's what it comes down to. We just have to focus on the Lord and we will ultimately be ok! 

The other night we had about 30 minutes left at night. We decided to say a prayer and ask where to go. I felt determined to talk to anyone that the Lord put in our path because it was so late and dark and generally no one is out that late. I had faith that we would be able to talk to at least one person. We were walking down the street and a couple houses behind us a guy walked out so we kind of crossed the street and yelled over to him. I think he was kind of sketched out at first... but we started talking for a second. He wasn't interested at all, but we left him with a Book of Mormon. I felt that if that was the only person we saw, that was at least good enough because we talked to him and left him with something. As we were almost back to the church, we saw a truck pull up and park in his driveway, so we started to speed walk a little and we called out to him as he got out and started walking to his house. At first I had no clue what I was going to say, but a thought came into my mind "family history" so started talking about that. He turned out to be really into family history, so we gave him a family search pass along card and he said we could come back next week to talk about it with him. Who knows how interested he actually is, but it was just another testimony builder to me of the Holy Ghost putting the thoughts into our mind and how we are blessed as missionaries when we try to talk to everyone.

Monday, March 20, 2017

I Am a Child of God

The week here was good! We got a ton of rain. Probably the most rain that I have had on my entire mission. We had a couple of really sunny days, but on both of those days we had a ton of appointments inside and planning and stuff so we weren't outside on those days. Bu it was nice to be able to at least have the sunshine! The week in general was kind of slow, but it will get better. Just gotta keep working hard and trusting in Him. Personally, I'm trying to recognize that I need to be patient with myself. I expect so much out of myself and expect change to happen so immediately that sometimes I forget that it is all in His timing and that all I can do is try my best, do all that I can, repent when I fall short, and then He will help me to reach that potential that I know I have and that He knows I can reach. It's a process, but I know it'll come with time. 

I have been studying a lot this week about our true identity, in the context of the Plan of Salvation. I'm coming to realize that the more that I am able to remember that I am actually a child of God and that He loves me, it helps me to remember how important our choices are and how to keep my heart in line more with His will. And being able to look at others that way is huge! It inspires me to serve them because I can remember that Heavenly Father loves them just as much as He loves me! 

I'm still working on my goal of not eating out.  I haven't had any fast food again this week.  I'm coming to realize how important self-mastery is. When we can learn how to be the masters of our own wants and desires, then we can be more effective agents in actively making choices that bring us closer to Heavenly Father and ultimately help us realize our divine potential. 

I'm glad that you guys had a good visit with the Grahams. They really are awesome people. He is really focused on sharing the gospel with others, so it is great to be able to work with him out here. We can talk to any member, less active or fully active, and sometimes even random people that we meet, and they all know him because of how he has helped them in one way or another. Definitely a good example to follow.

Here's a picture of Mount Jefferson. I think it's cool because I could always see it from madras and now I can see it on the sunny days out here in Stayton!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Testimony Building

The week here went well! A couple weeks ago we invited Aishia to live the Word of Wisdom, she loves coffee, for the 11 days leading up to Fast Sunday. I felt prompted to promise her that if she did, the desire to drink coffee would be gone at the end of it. She took on the challenge and told us that she doesn't even want coffee anymore and has no intentions of doing so.  It was pretty cool! That was a testimony builder to me of the Holy Ghost and listening to the promptings. It was also a testimony builder to me of fasting! I haven't ever had any big experiences from fasting. But the fact that she didn't have any desire to drink coffee anymore, after we made that promise to her, and we fasted and everything, was a huge testimony builder of fasting. And just "experimenting upon the word" as it says in Alma 32:27. Heavenly Father is bound to bless us when we keep His commandments. So when we do those things like reading scriptures, praying, going to church, trying out the Word of Wisdom, He will bless us! And we will start to notice those blessings more and more. 

On Friday, we had the chance to be the auctioneers for a ward youth fundraising event. That was fun. Definitely don't have auctioneering in my future any time soon. 

This week, something that stood out to me in my studies was while I was reading in Matthew 12:30. It says, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." It's a really simple scripture, but it is so true. If we aren't actively trying to gather His sheep. Whether by our example, words, direct invitations to invite others to the gospel, then we are scattering them abroad. We have to do our best to remember that His gospel has been restored to the Earth! He literally is at the head of the Church. It is Him! He gives us the Gospel because He wants to bless us! So we need to do our best to follow Him! 

We went on a hike today. It wasn't too long, but it was a hike back up to a huge waterfall. And there was an old closed down mine that we got to look around in. It was a pretty cool hike. There are apparently a lot of good hikes like that up here. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

11 People at Sacrament Meeting!

The week here went really well. The biggest miracle that we saw this week was that we had 11 people we are talking to at Sacrament Meeting. That was really really cool to see. There's such a special Spirit during the Sacrament meeting that can be felt simply by being in that meeting. We had a few people that we totally were not expecting, which was an awesome surprise! 

A couple of weeks ago, we met a man outside working on his truck. We shared a little bit with him and he said that we could stop by in the future and if he was home we could share a message with him and his family. Last Monday, we received a referral from a missionary in the Philippines. He sent us to his moms house, who is a less active member. Well, we pulled up to the house.. and it was the same one that we met the other guy at! Long story short, this missionary's mom hasn't been to church in a long, long time and she has three daughters who are 15,12, and 8 who haven't been to church before. The cool thing is that they came to church and loved it! So we are really excited to start teaching them.

I was pondering the other day the purpose of objectives and goals. In Moses it says that Heavenly Fathers greatest desire, His objective, is for us to be immortal and have eternal life with Him. But He knew that wasn't enough. There had to be a plan in place for that to be fulfilled. I've come to realize that I need to start creating objectives in more aspects of my life and then set goals and plans in which help to fulfill those objectives. The first one for me is to treat my body more respectable and so I made the goal of no eating out in March. 

One thing I studied this week was Jacob 5. I know this is mainly about the scattering and gathering of Israel, but I also found it to be really closely related to our Savior's love for us. In this allegory it talks a lot about how it "grieved the Lord of the vineyard" to see his trees perishing. And so he put in a lot of effort to try and make it possible for them to bring forth good fruit. That's what our Savior does. He is always there for us. Always trying to help. But we need to do our part. In the allegory it says that the Lord of the vineyard even asks "What could I have done more?" I am sure that that is how the Savior feels at times when we don't allow the Atonement to work in us. The real question should be posed by us. What more can we do? How can we let the Savior help us? 

This week should be good. We have interviews with President on Thursday. I'm excited for that!