Oi family and friends!
Yep, you read the subject line right- WEEK 5 people! Time flies here in the MTC. I cannot believe that one week from tomorrow I get my reassignment! Wahooooo! I am stoked! No one got their VISAS this week, and I don't really think any of us will in the next two. However, we are all thrilled to go where the Lord wants us to go! The Portuguese is coming along. It is so humbling to learn another language. Tomorrow we plan to commit our investigator to baptism, so I will let you know how that goes!
Ok this week was Otimo! (Awesome) Why? Because last Tuesday Richard G. Scott came for devotional. It was amazing! He talked about prayer. He said that answers come in 3 ways: 1) peace (the answer is yes) 2) unsettling feeling/ stupor of thought (the answer is no) or 3) No response (no answer). I'll bet we can all agree that #3 is the hardest. We may even think that God isn't listening to us or that He doesn't care. Wrong. When He witholds an answer it is so we can exercise faith. It is because He trusts you. Don't sit around, passively, waiting for the day you think He will respond. He wants to see if you have the faith and knowledge to act based on His principles and teachings! And don't worry if you think you will make a mistake, or an incorrect choice. He won't let you continue too long before He corrects the situtation. Anyways, I thought that was REALLY cool to think that not receiving an answer means Heavenly Father trusts us to make a decision. Additionally, here are some other ideas I had about things he said:
1. When we pray, we should talk TO the Lord, not AT Him.
2. It takes faith to pray, but it takes MORE faith to listen.
3. Learn to stop asking for things you want- and learn to start asking for ways to do what HE wants.
4. He will seldom respond when you're on your knees- even if you are pleading for an immediate answer. Instead, the spirit will touch your heart and mind when it will be of most benefit to the individual. God knows you. When you really believe that, you will also come to believe that His timing is ALWAYS right, even if we thought "our way" may have been better. Maybe we thought an immediate answer would have been a greater blessing in our lives- but I testify that God will do everything He can to bless you- even if that means delaying His response to your concern.
5. What is best is rarely what is easiest. Impossible circumstances are wonderful opportunities to fall to your knees and pray.
Elder Palmer, in my district suggested that we try to imagine that Heavenly Father is kneeling on the other side of the bed, across from us. It should be a conversation- it should be that personal.
In sacrament meeting this week- Brother Bartholowmeu shared a quote by William McGill: "The value of consistent prayer is not that HE will hear US, but that WE will hear HIM."
Prayer is so cool, huh? Ok. Fun story. We just got a new teacher- Brother Mateer. We all had to introduce ourselves. So I told him I was from Alpine, and he said, "I know." I gave him a puzzled look, and he continued, "I know your brother- Conner." I am completely baffled at this point. And yes, I can feel myself fighting back tears because I'm jealous of this guy I don't even know- because he gets to see my brother, and I don't. Anyways, long story short: His is Sydney's (Sparky) Brother-in-law. COOL! Small world. Yep, we had a good, long conversation about Conner. :) * Sorry to all of you who have NO idea what I am talking about- that story was mainly for Conner, and my Dad.
Ok, another point to that story was that Bro. Mateer shared a really cool thought with us in class the other day, about a talk Elder Holland gave. Here is the general idea of what he said: This is real life. Our investigators are real people, with real needs. They face real tragedy and stand in need of real assistance. The medicine is the Atonement, and Jesus Christ is the master physician. We, as missionaries (but also all of you) are the tools in His hands. We are not the physicians- we would be terrible physicians, because we don't understand people as perfectly as our Savior does. We have no power to heal because we can't know their needs the way He does. His point was this, because our job is to be the tools in His hands, we need to stay sharp. You wouldn't want someone operating on you with a blunt scalpal, rusty blade, or dirty gloves. Right? No. As the tools in His hands, we want to be sharp, useful, clean, instruments readily accesible in His hands. I thought that was so neat! Ultimately the idea is to stay worthy, and do your best to learn about Christ and His gospel. These are the ways that we can best prepare ourselves to be instruments in His hands.
So here's my challenge this week: If you have not already done so, watch the John Tanner movie or "Only A Stone Cutter". These are amazing films about men who gave EVERYTHING they had to the church. It was so humbling to watch these movies last Sunday because I feel so far behind. I am not doing enough for the Church. I want to do so much more. It completely changed my perspective- and I realized that I have so much more that I need to do. I am just left with the question of how do I ive my whole life to the church? Because whatever that way is, I want it. But watch it for yourselves, and see what the Spririt teaches YOU.
My scripture for you this week is Alma 37:16: "But if ye keep the commandments of God, and do with these things which are sacred according to that which the Lord doth command you, (for it must appeal unto the Lord for all things whatsoever ye must do with them) behold, no power of earth or hell can take them from you, for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all His words". Alma is talking about the plates, but I'd like to think it can also be likened to our testimonies, our savation, and our families. If you are obedient, and you keep the commandments, again I say that NO power of earth or hell can take your testimonies, your salvation, your joy, your faith, or your families. Obedience is everything- it is the first law of Heaven. I am learning more about obedience here on a mission than ever before, and I know that it brings blessings- even miracles.
I was thinking, and I realized that I have learned so much in these last few weeks... but what I've really learned is that I don't know anything. I don't. I thought I had my life figured out- I thought I knew what was important. I had an idea, sure, but I really didn't get it. I'll admit, I still don't get it all the way- and I'm not sure I ever will, because I cannot fully understand the mind of God. But this much I know is true: Nothing aside from building the kingdom of God matters. When you understand that, it will change forever the way you live your life. And when you change the way you live your life- it will bring more happiness and peace than you have ever known. I challenge you this week to think of what it really means to follow the Savior. To make everything else secondary to our commitment to follow Him. Obviously, we can't put everything aside, as nice as it would be. But maybe we can in the sense of priorities. We all have ideas about what it means to follow Christ, but lets look a little deeper, and strive every day to be a little bit more like Him. I love you all so much. Your support means the world to me! I hope you have an amazing week! May the Lord bless you with whatever you stand in need of. You are in my prayers.