Hello one and all!
This week was so awesome! We found THREE new investigators! So Chris is an investigator now, who wants to be baptized! He knows practically everything already – has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Joseph Smith, the Word of Wisdom, etc etc. He’s SO ready! It’s crazy. Unfortunately he didn’t come to church yesterday, but we plan to call him today to set up another time to meet him. Yay! It’s gonna be great!
New Investigator #2: Nadine. She referred herself on mormon.org. The message we got from that was that she only wanted a Book of Mormon mailed to her and nobody to come to her house because she wanted to learn on her own. The morning we were going to call her (because the missionaries are how things get to the people, not through the mail) to get more information, she calls us and tells us that she went to the Bangor chapel where some missionaries gave her our number. What? First time a referral has ever contacted us first! That was really cool. We set up a time to meet her on Friday and that meeting was wicked sweet! She wants to learn from us and get to know what we’re all about. She goes onmormon.org every night to watch the videos and she said they’re really intriguing. She has a niece-in-law who’s a member down in Florida who talks to her about it, which is what got her thinking in the first place. She is super excited to learn and gain a better knowledge of Christ. We can’t wait to see her again! 🙂
Investigator #3: Arlene. She has an Emu who lays gigantic jade green eggs that apparently taste super delicious. I want to meet this emu. Arlene is a really sweet lady who loves the Lord and has a lot of faith. She’s extremely EXTREMELY devout Catholic, though, so it’s quite interesting trying to figure out how to teach her. We never want to tear down anyone’s beliefs, but rather build them up so their faith in Christ is stronger. Both Sister Bickel and I have almost no clue of how to go about that in this situation because she is so passionate about what she believes that she doesn’t really listen to us, even though she asks us questions of what we believe. So far, we’ve just tried to teach a little bit of the Restoration, but mostly just listened and asked her questions. We’ve been praying, studying, asking others for help. We have a few ideas to try to dig deeper and really understand her. We’ll see how they go. 🙂
On Friday night to Saturday, we went on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders in Brewer. I stayed in Ellsworth with Sister Cowley (who I need to get a picture with because we’re pretty much twins (actually triplets because she’s a twin, though fraternal) and we’re both from Colorado – she’s from Longmont). That exchange was super awesome! I felt like I was doing a good job with missionary work! Sometimes, it’s pretty hard to feel that way. But this weekend, I felt like I followed the Spirit well, I knew the area, I knew the people and what to say, I took the lead in most situations, and it went just wonderfully. 🙂 I learned a lot from Sister Cowley and hopefully, I can do better and apply what I’ve learned. So far, so good! 🙂
One more thing before I share some spiritual thoughts: General Conference. OH MY GOSH! I’m SO excited for General Conference! Those of you who don’t know: General Conference happens once every six months and it is Jesus Christ’s conference! The prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and the Apostles speak to the world about matters that the Lord needs us to know in order to make it through the world, stay strong in our faith and our families, and stay on the strait and narrow path. And boy oh boy is it a wonderful weekend of spiritual upliftment! It is in two weeks, April 5 and 6, and I encourage each and every one of you to tune in to BYU-TV, lds.org, or the nearest Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building (which you can look up online, lds.org). There are five 2 hour sessions – 10AM, 2PM, 6PM (Priesthood/Men’s session) on Saturday, then two more at 10 and 2 again on Sunday. Even if you can only watch one session, that is A-OK! After that weekend, I am strengthened SO much and have the desire to go about the Lord’s work even more than I did before. And every single time, conference just keeps getting better! Besides that weekend of wonderfulness, we have a General Women’s Conference this Saturday, March 29th at 6PM (these times are mountain standard time), broadcast at all the same places, and it is directed to the women, like the men’s session on Saturday the 5th. We have all been encouraged by the 1st Presidency to be united, and join together at our church buildings to take part and watch this wonderful conference, both weekends. It is such a blessing to have a prophet and apostles to lead us and guide us in these latter-days and that we can listen world-wide to the words the Lord would have us hear! I know that as you watch any session, you’ll be able to feel the Lord’s presence more in your life and know what He needs you to do. If you have a pressing question on your mind or a decision you don’t know how to make, bring it with you to conference and you’ll find the answer. God is all-knowing, and all-powerful. He knows what each of us needs and He an answer each of our questions in this conference if we come with an open heart and an open mind. It is truly wonderful! 🙂
Here is a talk given at the last conference in October 2013 by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He spoke about General Conference and the blessings that come from it. Please read it and know that this comes from the Lord. It is amazing, and says it all!
Last week, I spoke about the Plan of Salvation, where we came from. I hope all of you were able to think about it, pray about it, study it, etc. If not, you can still do it this week. And I really hope that you will. That’s the only way to know the truth of all things. Besides, what does it hurt to simply ask if something is true or not? Don’t you want to know what’s truth and what’s not? If it isn’t truth, then move on from it – it won’t hurt you. If it is truth, then embrace it and love it – it will only help you!
Today, I wanted to address the Plan of Salvation – a little more on the Pre-Earth Life and a little bit on why we’re here. I missed some things that are important for anyone to know.
Heavenly Father created the earth specifically for us to inhabit it (1 Nephi 17:23, Genesis 1:26-28, Isaiah 45:18). It didn’t just HAPPEN to be the right amount of distance from the Sun and that’s why He chose to use it for us to live. He created it JUST for us to live on. How wonderful is that? He wanted a place that was comfortable and sustainable, a place where we could learn and grow and become like Him. Something that is very important to Heavenly Father is agency. When we were in heaven, in the Pre-Mortal Life, we had the ability to choose Christ’s plan (this one that I’m teaching you about) or Satan’s plan. Satan’s plan was that we would come to earth to gain a body, but we would all be forced to choose right. We would all make it back to God’s presence after this life, but Satan would receive all the glory for it. Christ’s plan was that we could come to earth, be able to make our own choices, learn and grow, and only those who followed His plan would be able to enter back into Heavenly Father’s presence. If we chose Satan’s plan, what would we learn? How could we learn if we were forced to choose right, every time? It’s kind of like taking a test. We have to go to class, learn, practice, make mistakes and learn from them, and when we get to the test, we answer the questions based on what we learned. That’s Christ’s plan. Satan’s plan would be like taking a test with all the answers right in front of you. What’s the point? We can’t learn and grow and become like God that way. Those who chose to follow Christ and Heavenly Father were able to come to Earth and receive a body (that means everyone who has ever lived on Earth, is living on Earth or ever will live on Earth). Those who followed Satan were cast out with him, and will never receive a body. Here on Earth, we all have agency – we can choose what we do with our lives. We can choose to follow God, or not. We can choose to live righteously or not. That is stated in 2 Nephi 2:27 – “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh, and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life through the Great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” Satan is miserable. He doesn’t have a body and he is no longer in the presence of God, nor will he ever be. He hates us because we still have a chance AND we have bodies, just like Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and bones (we were created in God’s image – Genesis 1:26-27!), so he is doing his very best to make sure that we are miserable like him and don’t make it back to God’s presence.
Now, the Earth was created, all that is in/on the Earth was created, and finally, man was created. Adam and Eve, our first parents, came to Earth and received bodies. They lived in the Garden of Eden, in the presence of God. They were given a couple of commandments. To multiply and replenish the earth, and not to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. One problem: You can’t do both without breaking one or the other. When Eve ate of the fruit, and gave it to Adam, they were then able to do many things that they otherwise couldn’t – they knew the difference between good and evil, joy and sadness. They could have children. (2 Nephi 2:22-25 – look it up on lds.org if you don’t have a Book of Mormon! :)) If they hadn’t eaten of the fruit, those things wouldn’t have happened, and there needs to be opposition in all things in order for us to learn and progress. If you were always happy never experienced sorrow, pain, and loss, would you actually be happy? Would you be able to learn/What would you learn?
I’m out of time, but this week, besides what I’ve already asked you each to do, I’d like you to study Genesis 1-3. Ponder it. Pray about it. Study it again. Really look for what the Lord would have you know. If you have questions, ask someone – a friend who’s a member, the missionaries,mormon.org, etc. There are resources you can go to to find the answers you’re searching for. Blessings and miracles will follow you as you sincerely search for the truth and put your trust in the Lord. Remember: You are in charge of your own salvation. Search for the truth, and when you find it, hold firmly to it. The Lord will support you if you support Him. Look for His acceptance, not for the world’s, even if it might be scary, uncharted territory. Even if you feel you might end up alone and that your family and friends might turn away from you. Look for the TRUTH. Pray for strength. It WILL come. It always does when you turn to the Lord. Your example may change the lives of one or many who see the light of Christ shining from your countenance.
I love each of you, and I’m so thankful for your examples in my life. I pray for you, my family and friends, individually and by name daily. You’re all wonderful and amazing sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father! Stay strong, keep to the faith!