First off: Congratulations to my friend, Andrew, who got his mission call to Brazil! I’m super excited for you, but you better write me soon, buddy!!!
This week was crazy. Sister Bickel and I had some issues to work out and once we did, we just had a bunch of miracles happen! Interesting how when there’s no contention, the Spirit comes and blessings are poured out. It’s great! 🙂
So let me tell you about Brenda. She is AWESOME! She’s been a potential investigator for a while now and the sisters before just visited her every once in a while. But last time we visited her, she started asking all these questions and we went all over the place with Gospel topics. It was crazy! Then, we saw her at lunch at the senior center a couple weeks ago and we were talking about temples with Bertha, who we visit every week and go eat lunch with her once a month when the center has their lunches. Brenda was there and started asking questions about the temple. There were so many and we didn’t know where to start because we didn’t want to just jump in all of a sudden, so we told her we’d tell her about them next time we went over. Well, Bertha took the initiative, a WONDERFUL idea, to give her the temples magazine that we have. Brenda read it all this week and LOVED it! It answered her questions and it was great! We went to see her yesterday and this time, she didn’t ask so many questions about the Gospel as she did about our lives and what we would do after we went home. She asked us if we would be shopping for husbands. Hahaha! That was a great way to ask that question. It’s great. I love that woman! But we shared 1 Nephi 6:4-5 with her, which is the one I love to use when we ask people if they’d like to take the lessons because it’s our purpose in a very small nutshell. So when we asked her if she’d like to take the lessons, she said yes! Oh boy. We’re SO excited for her! 🙂 Also, she taught us how to crochet. Both of us are happy about that. It’s kind of addicting, but luckily not to the point where we forget about our missionary work. 😉
Another cool story: Valerie, who was baptized in January, is AWESOME. There’s another recent convert who’s struggling financially, emotionally, spiritually. It’s heartbreaking to see, and we do all we can to help her. But Valerie is her visiting teacher and wanted to do something for her. So on Friday, she went and bought groceries for her. We helped her bring them to the door, we left them on the porch and called her anonymously later. I don’t know what their reaction was because we haven’t seen her yet, but Valerie and her kids absolutely loved it and felt so happy afterward that they were able to serve someone. Service is truly an amazing thing! 🙂
We also got a referral, a SOLID referral, from our Branch President! The best part? He’s done his part in sharing some of his beliefs and even asked her if he could send the missionaries over. Boy oh boy, the miracles are piling on and I am LOVING it! You have to understand that we haven’t gotten a referral for WEEKS. I’m pretty sure the whole time I’ve been here, this is the second one, if that. Most people say that they’ve already asked their friends or that all their friends are members or that they don’t know anyone who’d like to hear the Gospel. So to everyone, even those who aren’t members, even if you don’t like Mormons. If you like Jesus: Please PLEASE pray about who to share the Gospel/the message of Jesus Christ with. Everyone can use a message about Him. He is the way, the light and the truth. He is how we find eternal happiness, and who doesn’t want happiness that lasts forever, even beyond this life? I know I want it and I know that I would want all my friends and family to have it. If the missionaries come knocking on your door and you’d really rather not listen to them, even though their message is wonderful because it’s all about Jesus Christ, send them to someone else who really is in need of a smile or a hug from Him. What’s even better: listen to their message. Get the information from the source and THEN decide whether or not you like the message. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t listen to other people who aren’t LDS, especially if it’s negative. Find it out for yourself. Pray about it. THEN decide.
Okay. Off my soapbox. Sorry about that. It’s just frustrating as a missionary when people try their best to tell you what you believe and they really have no idea what they’re talking about. They tell you rumors and theories and myths that they’ve heard over the years from different sources and tell you “This is what you believe” and that your beliefs are from the devil and there’s nothing good about it. It leaves us confused because we’ve never heard it before and it most definitely is NOT what we believe. We believe in Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. We believe that He died for each of us. We believe that God is a loving God and always will be. We believe that He is unchanging and therefore, the same things have been taught since before the world was. We believe that He is our Heavenly Father, the Father of our Spirits and that we are all brothers and sisters. We chose to come to earth so that we could receive a body and we would have the chance to return to live with Him again, this time forever with our families. We do believe in families. We have what we call the thirteen articles of faith, which I’ll just insert right here:
“We believe in God the Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: First, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth. We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul – We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”
I want to share one more thing. It’s a talk that I love, by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, the second counselor in the First Presidency. He spoke in the April 2012 General Conference about how we can’t judge others. My favorite part is when he quotes a bumper sticker that he once saw. It said “Don’t judge me because I sin differently from you.” He also teaches that “When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it!” The whole talk is so good. You can read/watch it here:
I really encourage each of you to read it, study it. The scriptures he references are all fantastic. If you study it online (those of you who don’t have your own set of scriptures), there are footnotes within the scriptures that will take you to other scriptures that teach the same thing in different books within the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. I encourage you to study those footnotes, too, because often, I find that I can gain a greater understanding when I read multiple scriptures that have the same teachings, but slightly different wording. It’s really amazing the things you can learn from the word of God. 🙂
Alrighty. Well, I think that’s about it for this week. I hope all of you have wonderful weeks coming up and that you take the time to study that talk! It’s a good one! 🙂
Love you all!