This week has been great! Full of challenges, fun, and learning opportunities. I finished up with Elder Grant (the visa-runner) on Thursday. Learned a lot from Him, mostly how to talk to people in different situations. A more important lesson that I learned is how to work with different people with different personalities and who work in different ways with various people. I was very grateful to have Elder Pace as my companion. We get along well.
Last week, we had a really good district meeting. I learned a lot from it. The lesson that we were taught was about separating the what from the tares, and, one scripture that the district leader used was from Jacob 5:41. The allegory is that of the master of a vineyard who said,
"And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto theI have pondered much on that scripture since, about what more I could be doing for the Lord as his missionary. It moves me to know that the Lord weeps over his children, and hoe much pain and grief he suffers as He sees his children following different paths on the Earth. As missionaries and as members, we can help our Savior by following the revelation given in Doctrine & Covenants 4:2-3.
servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?"
"Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve himWe can do so much more for the Lord. Serving Him with all out heart, our might, mind and strength is what we can do, to help bring his Children back to Him, so that he can shed one less tear, one less moment of grief as one of his sheep return to the fold.
with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless
before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye
are called to the work;"
We receive referrals from Salt Lake which normally never really work out. However, it worked out this week! Most of the referrals that we receive have fake numbers and addresses. The two that we received were real! We were able to visit both places, one who wasn't too interested. But, we were able to place a Book of Mormon in his house. Sometimes, it really just is about planting the seed. The other referral worked out great! We went to the house, where we found out that the people who had filled out the form were still in the States. But, we were able to teach their daughter, who was pretty receptive to what we taught. We set a return appointment and were ready to go. Unfortunately, we received a call from the girl's Mom, who had been in the States with her husband. She said she had no interest in hearing discussions. She just wanted to read the book. But, we were able to talk to her daughter who doesn't mind listening more. She seems to be open-minded to religion so hopefully that works out!
We had a decent weekend contacting, and Sunday rolled around. Priesthood and Relief Society had a combined class since it was the fifth Sunday of the month. Elder Shute, one half of a Senior couple, conducted some training. Just a quick note on Elder Shute. At a very young age, he was called as a mission president, then a temple president. He has served as a regional representative and has served in many capacities in the Church, so he is very well versed and trained in the gospel and the Church. He gave a lesson on working on reactivation of members and retention of new converts. Unfortunately, a member was offended and walked out. How sad it is to see members who are offended by another member and who never return to the blessings of the gospel. How trite it is. Elder Shute talked much on forgiveness. He told a story of a prominent woman in the Church who was found guilty of adultery. Because of the prominence of the woman and her family, President Kimball, then President of the Church, took it upon himself to preside over her disciplinary council. They went through the motions, the woman was found to be guilty and excommunicated from the Church. A few weeks later, President Kimball was asked to give a talk in his home ward, and it so happened that the woman and her family lived in that ward. After he had finished his talk, he shoved his way past the people who were greeting him, found the women, and gave her a huge hug, telling her that he loved her. What a profound message, that we are to love one another no matter what the circumstance. We need to reach out top the new converts and to the less actives. Elder Shute talked of three things that everyone in the Church needs. 1. A friend 2. A responsibility and 3. To be nourished by the good word of God. We can provide much of number one and help them with number three.
On an amusing note, we were studying in the morning when the doorbell rang. We had no idea who it was so Elder Pace went to get the door. When he looked through the peephole, he wasn't sure whether to open the door. Eventually, Elder Nixon did. What we saw was, how would you put it? Spectacular. There was a Japanese man standing at our door in his white briefs trying to cover himself with a newspaper. Apparently, he had locked himself out of his apartment while trying to get the newspaper. So, Elder Nixon lent him a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. After he had left, we were laughing when the doorbell rang. It was the man again, asking if we had a piece of string to tie the shorts together because it was too loose. The man was gracious enough that night to return the clothing, along with a cheesecake.
Went on my first exchange. Elder Pace went with Elder Hatton, the district leader, while I went with Elder Haycock. It was a fun experience, though I spent half the day with another Elder who needed to go to the doctor and the dentist. There are a few missionaries who are returning home today. They are done with their missions! One of them, Elder DeWitt, has actually lived in Asia for awhile so we know a lot of the same people! I can't believe how time must fly and I can't imagine what it will be like when I'm done with my two years! Today is the month anniversary for me being out in the field.
I have learned much in this past month, more about the gospel and life, how to deal with different people and different situations. But, most of all, I have learned to depend, trust and lean on the arm of the Lord. How wonderful it is to know that he is always there. I have come to realize just hoe important my parents are to me, how I love them and cherish them. They have taught me much in life, and have raised me to their best of their abilities.
Well, need to go on with preparation day! There are things to be done!