Last week, Week 8 was just a short personal note to the family. How he needs a rain jacket, Drake should take the ACT course, Happy birthday to our two bday kids, etc. No missionary update as he was out of time. He sure is busy on Preparation days. I remember the days all too well… He at least took my counsel from a previous week and wrote a little note. He knows I wouldn’t hesitate to call a mission President expressing concern about not hearing from my missionary, again. ;D. Love this week’s letter!!
Friends and Fam,
I wanted to start out this email a little differently by sharing my testimony with you all. First and foremost, I know that my Redeemer lives. Jesus Christ is the Savior of all mankind. Through his grace and mercy of the Atonement, we can all overcome our shortcomings in life: our mistakes, errors, and sins in order to return to the presence of our Father and become like Him. I know that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith and that we have an evidence of this occurrence that is the Book of Mormon. If we heed its teachings and strive to sincerely obtain the attributes of Jesus Christ we will be deemed worthy to receive the glory of the Father and the Son. And that is why I’m out here on my mission, to share that joy and happiness with all those around me! Why else would God command 18-20 year olds to leave their family, friends, (and even girlfriends) to go to a usually unknown place to “cry repentance” (Alma 29:1) to the people? Because it’s important, and He knows we can do it!
So I just wanted to share that with you all. We had a quite interesting experience the other day as a District that inspired me to share that. To keep a very long short, at the end of a finding activity in Elder Varela and I’s area (on Valentine’s Day of all days) a man rolled up in his Chevy Suburban and tried to passively-roast us/”Mormonism”. We later came to find out he was a church pastor, of course. His basic message throughout was :”What if you’re all wrong? What if?” Every time he would make a reference to a scripture or physical evidence trying to “prove” that the Book of Mormon wasn’t true or that Joseph Smith was a lunatic I would bite my tongue and just smile, sometimes with the only reply “But have you prayed about it?” Because that is the key here. And I suppose it there’s a “possibility” it couldn’t be true, but it is true. I know that because I’ve found out for myself. Who is the ultimate source of information? God of course, the Creator. And that’s why it’s so important that we try our very best to make sure we’re always in tune with the Spirit so that when these times of opposition come up we can say we “could not be shaken” (Jacob 7:5, emphasis added). I truly love that scripture. What was so awesome about that experience is that the man tried going around to each of the companionships and asked them the same question: “Why Mormonism?” but although we didn’t always hear what the ones before said the answer was always the same: “Have you prayed and asked God?” Us as missionaries aren’t hear to prove the Church to be true. We are here to convince everyone to find out for themselves! Because salvation is important and all that.
And I wanted to ask a favor for all you members out there reading my letters: find your ward missionaries and go out and visit their investigators! This week I received a special testimony of the power of members in the conversion of others. It’s unbelievable! I hope you all remember Emerson, our most-solid investigator who is only held back by the basics: reading, praying, going to church. He already knows this is all true, but hasn’t been willing to change much because of it. I mean, we’ve gotten him to stop drinking, swearing, all the stuff that’s usually “harder” to instill in investigators but he hadn’t been doing the basics! Before our latest meeting with him we tried probably just about every trick in the book…except the member approach. So we tried it this week, and boy did it work. We brought along the 2nd councilor in our ward bishopric just to teach a simple concept: the 10 Commandments. As we read the commandments one by one in Mosiah 12 and 13 we would stop and explain each one, taking more time for “having no gods before [God]” and “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” because those covered his obstacles. The member we brought went hard. He was a convert at 17 and went on his mission and it was crazy how good his testimonies were, and he even boldly invited him to give up video games and other distractions to come to church! And what do you know, it worked! For the first time in a month and a half, we had an investigator come to church! 2 in fact! Emerson and a new investigator from a member referral. Would you look at that, a member was involved in the other one as well. So realize the influence you have as a “normal person” in missionary work! I truly feel that if every member was whole-heartily involved in missionary work the progression of that work would increase tenfold. (I like how fancy that word is).
The only other updates on investigators I think are important to give is that we’ve gained some and dropped some the past few weeks. Such is the missionary life. There is one other situation we’re super excited about: we’ve been teaching a family of 6 and they’re all progressing extremely well. They all read the Book of Mormon, especially the youngest girl, and pray before getting in the car to go to school/work every day. It’s been hard to teach them and bring them to church because the parents both work a lot, but they’ve both expressed their appreciation for our visits and they are starting to gain a firm testimony of the message of the Restoration. Families are so fun to teach. It’s like having a FHE 2-3 days a week haha. I’ll try to keep you all updated on them! When we called them the other day and the mom told us they were actually reading I did a little dance around the apartment because I was so excited haha. Finding investigators that are actually willing to progress is tough, I blame it on the government.
Have a noice week everyone. Can’t wait to keep the updates coming. Like I’ve said before, I feel like this area is about to explode with missionary work! The key is the members…keep that in mind you all. The bike gang is still goin strong tho! Until next week.
1. Bike selfie (swag)