WOWZERS!!!! This area is AWESOME! I have a sweet SWEET miracle to tell you all about! So last Sunday, we got a referral from church headquarters. We called him and he sounded very excited to meet with us so we set up a time to see him (AND his wife!) on Thursday. So Thursday comes. We’re super excited about this referral. As we knock on the door, we can see into their kitchen and they’ve got cookies and a veggie tray on the table (we soon find out it’s for us). Jaw drop #1. We go in and start talking, getting to know them. He says he works with a member of the Laconia ward (north of our area) and that he and his wife have been asking him questions, reading from the Book of Mormon and going to mormon.org (independently investigating) for about a year or so. Jaw drop #2. Also, he pulls out a notebook and a pen and says “we’ve got a list of questions for you. I hope that’s okay.” Jaw drop #3. OF COURSE it’s okay!!!! So we teach them the Restoration and answer all their questions that they have plus the ones that he thinks of while we’re teaching (best questions ever). We set up an appointment to see them on Saturday (two days later). The jaw drops continue. They’ve got treats for us again and he’s got his triple combination (Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price) and his Bible with places marked and more questions. When he pulls out his triple, he says nonchalantly “Sorry, I haven’t been able to read too much since Thursday. I’ve only ready about 30 pages.” Jaw drop #4. THIRTY PAGES? It takes most people weeks to get that far! We continue talking and clear up a few things we felt we hadn’t explained or at least needed to explain in more detail, including the Priesthood, which led us into baptism. We asked them if they would be baptized if they came to know if what we’re teaching them is true. They said that they would but that they needed to learn more and read more. He said, picking up the triple “We’ll need a couple more weeks. It’ll probably take me about that long to get through this whole thing.” Jaw drop #5. Man, this guy (and his wife) is GOLDEN! We’re meeting with them again on Thursday and we told a young couple in our ward about them. They immediately said they “of course, wanted to have them over for dinner”. This ward is so great. Everyone is welcoming, loving, and wonderful! 🙂 So that was a coolest miracle this week!
Something else really awesome was Tuesday, we had our Zone Conference. Cool fact: Elder S. Gifford Nielsen was there and had some amazing things to say. If you watched the Saturday session of General Conference back in October, you’ll know him as the “exclamation point” member of the 70. SO great. His wife was there as well. I’ll just talk a bit about what both of them mentioned.
Sister Nielsen talked about how we have to stay firm in the faith and that it is our choice to be happy. She mentioned Alma 62:41. Do your afflictions soften you or harden you? Whose choice is it? Alma 50:23 (this was a part I really enjoyed). Even while a war is going on, these people were still happy. Because it’s their choice and they were able to see the things they were blessed to have like family, homes, good people around them, etc. We need to be able to look for the blessings in our every day lives. I’ve recently started a journal that is all about the blessings or things I’m grateful for every day. I always write down at least five things, every day. It’s definitely helped me to be a lot more positive and happy, even though I already was. A cool way to get rid of negative thoughts: Alma 36:18-19. Think of the Savior and see how quickly that negativity goes away.
Elder Nielsen talked a lot about the saving ordinances (baptism, confirmation, the priesthood, the endowment and sealing) and what we are promised to be blessed with if we keep our end of the deal. Those promises are absolutely amazing! I invite all of you to study those on your own to see what you come up with. Use any resource – scriptures, talks, magazines – to find what blessings come with each of the saving ordinances. He also spoke about how we are all broken, but the Gospel is what fixes us. Even the Savior was broken – His being broken is what provides the way for us to be fixed. We have over 15 million members in the church, but each of us has to have our own testimony and our own relationship with Jesus Christ. Don’t even let anyone dictate your eternal salvation. This work, missionary work and spreading the Gospel, is for the living and the dead – we have 142 operating temples so we are able to get this work done. We CANNOT let Satan win. Don’t EVER let him win, no matter how bad things get.
Spiritual powerhouse. Listening to General Authorities is such a wonderful experience. I definitely was inspired. Something that he committed us to do was write down a few things that we want to improve on. Work on them, and when you feel you’ve accomplished your goal, cross it out and write a new one. Every missionary in our mission has a card and any of our leaders has permission to ask to see our cards, to ask if we’re working on those things. So that’s my challenge today. Find a few things you want to improve on. Write them down, study topics that will help you and work on improving. This helps us to become more like Christ and it brings us so much joy and happiness as we strengthen our faith and our relationship with Him.
Something else I wanted to talk about real quick. This week I was able to see the difference between obedience and exact obedience and therefore, the difference between blessings and miracles. I can tell you that if you strive to be exactly obedient to God’s commandments, to your parents, to your boss, you will see miracles, not just blessings. And I will say: Miracles are so much better than blessings. It’s as simple as this: Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles.
“I don’t stop because I’m tired. I stop because I’m done. And I am not done.” – Kevin Bastarache (another wicked sweet investigator)
I love you all! Have a wonderful week! 🙂