Wednesday, January 27, 2010
It has been a relatively interesting week. On Saturday night, we were walking home, and said hi to a couple that we were walking by (we always say hi to people as they walk past us). As we walked away, the lady called out to us. We turned back to them and started up a conversation with her. She asked where we were from, so we explained to her that we were missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She figured out that we were Mormon quick, explaining that it was a feeling she had. She was from North Carolina, and her husband was from Lichtenstein. They had a rather weird view of what we believed in. She didn't know that we believed in Jesus Christ, so we talked a little more about the Church, but got them a little weirded out when we told them that we believed that there were living prophets and apostles on the Earth today. She really wanted to talk to us more, but her husband started to get rather edgy. We were about to give her our name card, but her husband said that they didn't need it. She tried to take it from us, but her husband said that he had had bad experiences from Mormons, and, while he respected us, really didn't want the card. We really hope that we will be able to meet them again someday and help to gain a better understanding of the Church.
We're working with Brandon closely because he's not doing so well with coming to Church anymore. He's really being influenced by his friends and giving in to them.
I'm still working on my patience, and trying to be more accepting of people and their quirks. I get so easily stressed out by what people do and say, especially if it is not something I am used to. A mission really does teach you a lot, but sometimes it is so hard working with people who are rude, who have no manners, and who don't treat you with respect! But, I guess we can't be their judge. We just have to live life the best way that we can. I was once again The Root of Christian Doctrine yesterday, and once again thought more about the Atonement and what it does for us. I am still learning to apply it daily in my life, but I did gain a deeper sense of appreciation for the sacrament, and I hope to be able to be more thoughtful each time I take it, and to be more Christ-like in my thoughts, words, and deeds.
President wanted us to go over to the Bible college across the street to see if we could teach there. Unfortunately, they didn't even want to entertain us.
The members have been giving us quite a few referrals, and we're teaching them bit by bit, we have a couple of promising ones, so we'll see how it goes!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
It has been a rather eventful week. Unfortunately, we had an expat family return home because they were having a hard time adjusting here. However, we did have a wonderful time visiting with them the day before they returned home to the States. Over the past six months, they had had a hard time adjusting, and hadn’t been active for awhile. We had a good with discussion with them about how Heavenly Father knows the trials and tribulations that we go through, and that he is always there for us. Bishop Nef came with us, and we talked with and counseled them about what they could do and how to overcome it. Mostly though, it was just good to listen to them and to let them know that we loved them. The mother had wanted us to come over with to give her a priesthood blessing. We ended up providing each member with a blessing. It was a good experience, being able to use the priesthood in the service of others. Everything, I believe, happens for a reason, and my feeling is that this family came over to experience this so that they would be able to see the blessings that Heavenly Father and His Son afford, and to return to full activity in the Church.
Our Bangladeshi men story gets a little more interesting, I won’t go into the full details at all, but the next group of men that came in were swindled by the man who brought them over. He had apparently promised them visas to other countries after the baptism and said that he would hand the money to the Church 9which obviously didn’t happen). So, one of the four men who we baptized and three new ones lost a huge sum of money, which has really crippled them financially. They are now going home with nothing, one who has a family with a wife and young daughter. It really breaks my heart, and I hope and pray that justice and mercy will prevail. This reminds me of the beginning of the revelation on the Word of Wisdom, which read:
Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—
While this applies to the Word of Wisdom, it also applies to the things that go on in the world today.
Visited Leah later on last week, and had a good meeting with her. Her employer won’t let her go to Church, and she’s been trying to keep her salary from her, along with taking way her off days. As we sat talking to her, a few other maids came around, and talked about that too. It is sad that human beings can treat others so badly, taking away their salaries and giving them no breaks. It is so disgusting and hurtful to see people who have to deal with those situations. The only comfort really comes from knowing that they are all children of our Father in Heaven and that things will work out.
All of the above mentioned events and situations are good reminders of how much I am blessed, and a reminder of the gratitude that I need to have. That reminder helps me to take each day well, and to look at life with a different perspective. Heavenly Father has given me much, and much is expected of me, I think.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) said of our pre-mortal life:
All the spirits of men, while yet in the Eternal Presence, developed aptitudes, talents, capacities, and abilities of every sort, kind, and degree. During the long expanse of life which then was, an infinite variety of talents and abilities came into being. As the ages rolled, no two spirits remained alike. Mozart became a musician; Einstein centered his interest in mathematics; Michelangelo turned his attention to painting. Cain was a liar, a schemer, a rebel. … Mary and Eve were two of the greatest of all the spirit daughters of the Father. … And so it went through all the hosts of heaven, each individual developing such talents and abilities as his soul desired.
We too developed talents and abilities there, which are to do here now, and to help mankind grow in a way that they can return to God.
Jeremy continues to progress and is overcoming his personal challenges and struggles to become who he will be someday.
Salam heads back to Bangladesh for a few months.
Family Home Evening with the Young Single Adults was great, especially with a couple of investigators there. We played Spoons, and also had a great spiritual thought about studying the scriptures and how it helps in our daily lives. That was perfect for our investigators!
I guess we continue to learn the lessons of life each day, although some are harder than others. But, faith is pointed towards the future, so that’s where I’m headed! As Robert Browning wrote,
The Best Is Yet To Be!Well, yet another week has gone by! Have a great one!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The Bangladeshi men returned home, which was sad, but it's great because they can now build up the Church in Bangladesh! We had a new group come in yesterday, and we'll have a few more tomorrow! There is joy in teaching the prepared children of Heavenly Father!
Nana is a girl that we had been teaching, but ended up having the Zone Leaders teach. But we still participated in fellow shipping her and working with her member friend to help her progress. Her baptism was a very spiritual experience, and it was moving to be able to see how she has come to find so much joy in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the love that she feels from her Heavenly Father, which really is reflected in her countenance. Her testimony was beautiful, as she talked about the faith and security that she has found in learning about the gospel. I had the opportunity to give a talk about the gift of the Holy Ghost. I had some notes, but I mostly just spoke what I was thinking and feeling. It was reassuring to be guided by the Spirit, because whatever I said just made sense, and I myself received a firm witness that Heavenly Father loves me. I love to testify.
However, with these testimony strengthening experiences also come trials and opposition that we have to face as missionaries. While we were riding home on the MRT a few nights ago, Elder Klemm started talking to a man while I was contacting a couple of really great people. As I was talking, I overhead the man saying "F.A.K.E., FAKE!" As I turned my attention to the conversation and the man started to speak louder, I realized that he was being yelled at by an anti. As the man continued progressing, he got progressively abusive with his words, and started telling everyone about him that we were a cult, that we were not Christians, and on and on. It took all I had to not say much, even though my blood was boiling. I had Elder Klemm get off with me at the next stop, even though it wasn't ours. It was disheartening for a moment, but then I suddenly had this great desire to talk to everyone, to be able to share our point of view, so I just started talking to everyone! It was a great feeling, once again, to testify.
Wilson is one of our new investigators who is hilarious! He talks our ear off, but has a good heart and is open to what we share, though he has a slightly different view on certain things.
Jeremy is progressing bit by bit, and it is great to be able to see the little changes in him each time we meet, and he really does think and ponder the things that we teach him. We challenged him to set a baptism date, to which he said no, then he thought about it and said that he would let us know on Sunday. We had Elder Pulver with us, and taught a powerfully scriptural lesson.
It was a good week.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
As of the 29th of December 2009, I have been an Office Elder for a year! I started my office duties in 2008, and now it’s 2010. Crazy huh? It has been a great experience working with two Mission Presidents, and helping to keep the mission running on its administrative side, while covering three different areas at the same time. When I first got into the field, the office was such a foreign place that we only went into occasionally. But, I’ve been here for more than half my mission now! It's crazy being The Office Elder.
Our four Bengali men were baptized on Saturday! It was a wonderful service! We had members of the ward participate in their baptisms and confirmations, which was a great thing because everyone seems to be really excited about missionary work now!
This past week has been rewarding but also extremely exhausting. We’ve had so much to do in the office and in the field. Things are starting to move again, but it is getting pretty rushed, and I’m learning to mange my time and stress level. I never imagined what a challenge leadership could be, but I guess it is helping me to grow and be better, to make decisions and guide my district where it should. In addition, my organizational skills have somewhat improved with the office. It doesn’t seem to me that I’ve really improved at all, but President Clark and I talked a little about how we can’t see the changes in ourselves sometimes. But others can see them in us. The more I learn in the gospel, the more I seem to see my weaknesses. But, it’s something to just keep focusing on and trying to change, so that I can become strong unto the Lord.
I’ve been having some challenges with certain people and situations. In regards to that, I have been trying my best to overcome those challenges. Over the past few months, I have been and am slowly coming to understand what it means to rely on the Lord. Over the past few months, I have too often tried to rely on my own ability and strengths to do what I am supposed to do, which has not been the smartest thing, because the only way that I can do Heavenly Father’s work is to have His Spirit to guide me in all that I do.
In sacrament meeting on Sunday, we were singing In Humility, Our Savior in sacrament meeting. As I sang it and reflected on the words, it gave me a clearer understanding of what it takes to be able to be with Heavenly Father. We need to be able to develop that kind of charity.
The second verse of the hymn goes:
Fill our hearts with sweet forgiving;
Teach us tolerance and love.
Let our prayers find access to thee
In thy holy courts above.
Then, when we have proven worthy
Of thy sacrifice divine,
Lord, let us regain they presence;
Let thy glory round us shine.
As I was looking up quotes for a training that I’ll be giving on charity, I came across a wonderful quote that I am trying to apply in my own life now. C.S. Lewis said:
To excuse, what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life - to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son - How can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night "Forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us." We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God's mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.
Sister Clark was talking to me about working with people. As an only child, it might be hard, she said. But, it’s a great time to learn. A mission teaches you what you need to learn to grow and develop attributes to draw you closer to the Savior.
Talked to a man yesterday who had learned from the missionaries, who disagreed with a judging God, so I explained to him that it wasn’t so much judgment as they were consequences and reactions to certain actions. It was a good lesson to remind and teach myself too.
Funny how that happens sometimes.
Well, have a great week! Thank you for your love and support!