August 18, 2014
I sure hope your weeks were as good as mine! It has been an absolutely FABULOUS one over here in Lebanon! My daughter (meaning my trainee), Sister Crook, is AMAZING. I feel like I’m not even training her, and in some ways, like she’s teaching me more than I am her! The only thing I have to help her with is a few things about the way missionary life goes, some of the lingo and that’s about it! She goes for everything – she starts introducing herself in church and other settings, she leads in the lessons, she testifies, she just… AH! I love her. 😀 So Sister Crook is 19, she’s from Star Valley Wyoming and she has so much joy and excitement with every aspect of the Gospel and missionary work. She just wants to work all the time, find people to teach all the time, etc, etc. She is on fire and it’s inspiring to be with her! We’ve got some new ideas of how to get this area moving and how to really find those who are ready to accept the Gospel in it’s fullness. This whole time being with her (most likely two transfers) is going to be WONDERFUL! YIPPEE!
Tuesday was transfer meeting and then we spent some time contacting people on the ward (church) list that we don’t know. We knocked on one door and the guy answered. It was who we were looking for, but he said “You guys are mormons right?” When we responded that yes, we were, he said “I don’t have time right now.” “Well, would it be alright if we came back another time?” “No. Mormons aren’t Christians.” “Okay, well, we do believe in Jesus Christ.” Pause….”That doesn’t make you Christians.” Hmmmmm…. I don’t get that. Would someone care to please explain? That would be great! But it was an interesting experience for a brand new missionary on her first day in the field. She handled it well and just laughed a bit afterwards, and let it roll off her shoulders, which is really all you can do in that type of situation. My heart went out to him, and I wished that there was a way he would talk to us so that I could understand what he meant, and try to help clear up the misunderstanding. It’s so strange some of the reactions and comments we get. Most of the time, I don’t even know where people get some of the notions that are out there. But just so everyone knows, we are Christians. I know that my Savior is Jesus Christ – He is the one who suffered and died for me. He knows me and loves me, and He is the one who makes it possible for me to live with Heavenly Father again!
Oh my goodness! We met with Sister Kilton on Wednesday. I love that woman! She’s working on coming back to church, but she has a lot that she doesn’t want to deal with for now – she’s leaving it up to the Lord to tell her when to go back. So we visit her often and I have never seen her laugh so hard as she did with Sister Crook! Sister Kilton likes to sort of mess with people – she’s sarcastic and has a lot of dry humor. It’s great. Sister Spangler often didn’t get it, but Sister Crook just gives it right back to Sister Kilton and it makes her laugh so hard! I love seeing her happy like that. It gives me a lot of joy to know that we can bring a smile to her face and fill her home with laughter. Not only that, though, I’m glad to know that in all seriousness, we do bring the Spirit to her home. She loves our visits and has said that we truly do strengthen her every time we come. That’s probably one of the main reasons I love being a missionary – bringing that joy and light to other people. It’s amazing to be a part of that work! 🙂
On Thursday we visited the Smith’s. They’re our GOLDEN investigators! We found them at the Canaan Library (I think I talked about them before). Well, we taught them about the Plan of Salvation and we mentioned baptism. Nick and Sam (the kids) said “Well, we’re not baptized.” He sounded kind of perplexed about it so I said “Would you like to be?” They looked at their mom who said “It’s your decision. You can if you’d like.” They look back at us and nod their heads with their eyes open wide. It was so precious to see their excitement and such a desire to act on what they’ve learned. We told them they’d have to learn everything first and come to church and then they could be baptized. They got really excited about coming to church! I’ll come back to that in a second, though. We finished the lesson and they had such wonderful questions. They understood the Plan of Salvation really well once we explained it. I love teaching kids. They’re so innocent and simple-minded! 🙂 They recognize the truth quickly and it’s really amazing to work with them. On Sunday, they came to church!!! WOOT WOOT!!!! That’s the first time I’ve had an investigator come to church in about 10 months! I was SO excited and happy to see them there! They were cute in their Sunday outfits and proud of them, too. They even asked how we thought they looked! We sat in front of them and during Sacrament meeting, Sue (the mom) explained everything that was going on. When the bread came around, she explained that they wouldn’t take it until they fully understood what it represented, and Nick said “What about next week? I’ll understand better next week!” Oh it was so exciting! Sam and Nick were so excited to go to Primary! They kept saying how much they liked church and wanted to come back next week. Oh my goodness! It’s just so wonderful to see how excited they are!!! I LOVE this family! The kids are really in tune with the Spirit and I surely do love it!
Those were the highlights of the week, and I’m running low on time. So quickly, I’ll share something I came across this week and LOVED.
In 2 Nephi 9:39-40 it says:
“O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.
O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.”
I want to draw your attention to a couple of things. First: how often it says remember. I love that word. Why is it important to remember? What kinds of things are we required to remember in order to progress in this life and become like God? Think about that for a bit.
Second: To be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal. If we are carnally-minded, we’re living of the world and conforming to its ways, which are not God’s ways. When we are carnally, or worldly, minded, we don’t normally have the Lord in our thoughts or what His will for us might be. We won’t usually be thinking of the needs and concerns others have and what we can do to address them and serve them. When we are spiritually minded, we are always thinking of the Lord’s will and all the things we need to and can do in order to accomplish His work and will. We constantly are thinking of others and ways we can serve them. We have the same goal as Heavenly Father – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man – and we work our hardest throughout our lives to help accomplish that goal. Look at the first letters of “spiritually minded is life eternal”. It spells SMILE. I know that if we take the time to do God’s will and always have in mind what we need to be doing to bring about His great and eternal purpose, we will find great joy and happiness. There will always be a smile on our face. And we can have that for eternity!
Third: “I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.” I LOVE this part. I’ve always loved knowledge and education and learning. I’ve always loved truth. I’m always seeking for more and more. I love to study and I love to discuss things with everyone to figure out what they think, to teach them, to learn from them and to piece it all together in order to find wonderful truths! If we are righteous, we will recognize the truth and we won’t be upset or angry with it. Think about it – if someone tells you something that you know is truth, but you know you aren’t in line with it, how do you react? Usually, you’re not too happy. So if you’re not in line with the Lord’s commandments or standards, generally if you hear the truth, you’re not going to like it. “The wicked taketh the truth to be hard.” (someone please help me remember what scripture reference that is). Truth is amazing. I love it so much because God is truth. He never lies and He never leads us astray. If we do our best to do His will, we will be successful and happy all the days of our lives!
Looking at the footnotes of that scripture, it took me to Proverbs 28:1 which says:
“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
I feel like there should be an exclamation point at the end of that! The righteous are bold as a lion! If we are righteous, we know truth. If we know truth, we want to share it with everyone, because truth is truth! It never changes. Why wouldn’t you want truth? All I’m trying to do as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a full-time missionary, as a representative of Jesus Christ, is bring truth to every person that I can. I know this Gospel is the truth. I know the Bible is truth. I know the Book of Mormon is truth. I know that what I teach to people every day is truth. I strive every day to understand and gain more and more truths and I love it all!
Finding truth and doing my best to stay spiritually-minded brings me so much joy and love and light! THAT is why I share what I know. I want others to have joy and love and light. I want them to know the truth. I want them to be able to have immortality and eternal life, the way God so badly wants each of His children to have it.
So my challenge to each of you: Will you study from the scriptures every day with a piece of paper or study journal close by and write down at least one truth that you learn during those studies? Will you then share them with me or someone you feel needs to know that truth? You can send them along with your testimony for my birthday. 😉
I know this church is true, that it is church of Jesus Christ. I know that I receive many blessings every day by living the standards and truths I’ve learned and I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. I know that many blessings will come to you as you study to find truth and I know that you will be able to better know and understand your Father in Heaven and your Savior Jesus Christ and their teachings. I know it, I live it, I LOVE IT!
Have a fantastic week! 🙂