Happy Belated Valentine’s Day everyone! Also, Happy Birthday to half my family because they were all born in February! 😀
This week was mostly good. Although, we spent even more time in Bucksport. Yay… All I can say about that is that we’ve been working on cleaning out our potentials and formers lists to know who is or isn’t interested anymore. It’s been tedious work, but it’s been really good! We weren’t allowed to drive Friday or yesterday (which meant we missed church :P) because of snowstorms. The storm that came on Thursday was fun because we were in Bar Harbor at the community meal with the elders when it got bad. So the elders had to drive us all the way home (which took 2 hours instead of 1) because they have a four wheel drive vehicle and we have a Toyota Corolla. We probably wouldn’t have made it if we’d driven our car. That was exciting. Then yesterday, there was a storm overnight, that was supposed to dump 18-24 inches, but only gave us about 6. However, there was some wicked wind blowing around the snow and made some pretty bad drifts across the roads, so we weren’t able to drive because of that. So we walked around Bucksport and made frequent stops inside to warm up.
We taught Shizele on Thursday and it was AMAZING! We taught the first half of the Plan of Salvation (before we came to earth, the creation, Adam and Eve, the purpose of life on earth, and Christ’s Atonement). I definitely could feel the Spirit working in that lesson to help her understand, and also help us to know what scriptures to use in order to answer her questions. She had some great questions and comments and it was really cool to see her start to understand as we explained. That’s one reason why I love missionary work so much. There’s a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants (modern revelation from the prophets we’ve had since Joseph Smith) that says “Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God. And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way it is not of God. Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.” (D&C 50:17-22) That last part about being edified and rejoicing together has happened many times as I’ve felt the Spirit guiding my words and guiding the people we teach to come to know of the truth. THAT’S what I love about missionary work. To see understanding dawn on them and bring them joy. 🙂
Something else interesting I was reminded of this week: If you decide to work on something, or if you pray for help with something, life is going to get harder. If you ever hear someone tell you not to pray for patience if you want it, they’re right. Once you acknowledge something you want help with or you want to work on, Satan knows it and he’s going to work as hard as he can to get you to trip. I had decided to give my will to God in order to be a better missionary, to forget about myself and go to work more than I already have been. Yeah. This week was hard in that sense. It’s also hard to work on something if you don’t tell someone else about it and try to do it yourself. I have a habit of getting annoyed easily by things others can’t really control (mostly small noises like chewing loud foods or typing or breathing), and I’ve been trying not to let it get to me and focus on things that actually matter (meaning I don’t tell people because I’m annoyed at things that really shouldn’t matter) but THAT doesn’t work. It just makes the annoyance build up until there’s a lot of tension and you can’t work well together. So that happened this week, too. I’ve learned that I really need to just let people know when I’m annoyed so that it doesn’t build up. WAY easier said than done. So that’s going to be a challenge for probably the rest of my life. Yay!
Anyway, a fun experience of finding people to teach: We knocked on a lady’s door and she let us talk (success!) but then she said “Um, no. You should find someone who’ll talk to you.” It was kind of rude, but such is life. About five minutes later, she drove past us and rolled down the window “I love Jesus! Don’t think I don’t love Jesus!” It’s kind of interesting how people try to apologize without actually apologizing. I kind of love it!
One of the scriptures we had to memorize this week is D&C 64:23, which talks about tithing and how those who pay their tithing when they’re commanded to won’t be burned. Sister Bickel called it fire insurance. I’m sure she’s not the only one, but I’d never heard of that before and I think it’s the best thing ever. Tithing is now called fire insurance. Haha!
Alright. I hope this next part makes sense because I love it and find it super fascinating. Feel free to ask questions if you don’t get it. So there’s a church movie called “Mountain of the Lord” which talks about how the Salt Lake temple came to be built. I LOVE that movie. It’s awesome. At the end, though, it talks about how the name Utah came about. The Saints wanted to call it Deseret, but some political guy didn’t like Mormons, so he decided it should be called Utah, after the Ute indians. Utah means something like “tops of the mountains”. Now this is where it gets REALLY interesting and I LOVE it (this is also one reason why I love Isaiah). In Isaiah 2:2-3 it says “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord to the house of the God of Jacob; and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (It also says this in Micah 4 and when it refers to the law, it means God’s law) Um, whoa. AWESOME! This is really interesting to see that prophecy fulfilled, but even more so when you think that in Biblical times, the prophets, including Jesus, went up to the mountains to be with God (Moses, Elijah, the Brother of Jared, etc). The mountains were like temples – they were sacred places. Today, we have temples all over the world where we can go to be with God, to receive guidance from Him and to make promises with Him. We build our temples on hills so they are a beacon (Matthew 5:14-16) and an ensign (Isaiah 5:26, 13:2) to the world. The words that are on every temple say: The House of the Lord. Holiness to the Lord. The temples really are the house of the Lord on the earth today where we can receive guidance and peace. But you don’t have to be in the temple just to feel the love, comfort, joy and peace of the Lord. My brother, Tyler, figured that out. He was often hiking whether on his own or with family/friends because, as he said “My greatest moments of peace have been found in the tops of the mountains.” The tops of the mountains truly are a place of peace and sacredness and serenity. Both the temples and the tops of the mountains are places where you can be away from the world and enjoy God’s love. In the temples, you can be with Him, because it is His house. In the mountains, you can feel Him because you are surrounded by His creations. Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us and has provided us with ways to be separated from the world, both physically and spiritually. Those times are when I find the most clarity and peace of mind, when I can reflect and remember the things I’ve learned from Him. And I love it. I love the temples, and I love the mountains. I love this Gospel and all the knowledge and blessings I’ve received.
Take the time to study, ponder, pray and remember. God is there, and He knows all. Take time for yourself, to gain a better understanding and to strengthen your relationship with Him. That relationship will improve and bless your life so much, that you can’t comprehend it right now. And that is truly wonderful.
I love you all, and am so thankful for all you’ve done. Have a great week! 🙂