Monday, January 13, 2014

Week of January 13, 2014

Hello hello! Sorry I haven't gotten a big email out to you lately. But here we go!

This week was a good one! I'm going to jump around a little bit on days here, so bare with me! I'll start with Wednesday and end with Tuesday. Wednesday we were taken out to lunch by a member at a burger place. They have really big burgers. Well the member basically dared me to get their "Big Pappas XXL" burger. It's a triple bacon cheeseburger. So I got it, and pounded it and all the fries (and a couple of Elder Barrett's fries...) and was basically stuffed. Well when we were out working about a half hour later a member family stopped us and said, "Hey we're going out for lunch, get in- you can come with us!" So I went and had a steak quesadilla. Haha I couldn't even hardly walk straight the rest of the day I was so full. Haha but it was good! I'm still not hungry. But yet I'm still losing weight on my mission. Oh well.

Thursday we taught Lee! That was a really interesting lesson. We were talking to her, and she's reading in the beginning of Alma right now. She says she likes the Book of Mormon, but she hasn't gotten an answer to her prayer if it's true. So we asked her if it's built her faith in Jesus Christ and she said it hadn't. It was a little confusing to us, but we talked more about it, and told her it would help her to get an answer if she came to church. Haha she said, "I'm not going to your church. Can't argue with that answer can you?" Haha so I laughed and said, "No we can't! We're just here to invite you, and this is the way you'll really get to know if it's true." Then we talked about the Book of Mormon, and what it would mean to her if it was true. She said she would come to church if it was true, so we're really praying she gets an answer! She really liked the member we brought with us though, and she wants us to keep coming over, so we'll keep working with her!

The rest of the weekend not much happened. We set a couple of return appointments, which was good! We got a new bishop here on Sunday, which will be good for our old bishop. He doesn't have to balance being in the Stake Presidency and being a bishop anymore. The new bishop is a great guy though! Really young, and just really cool. So we're excited to work with him!

We had a really powerful Specialized Training meeting on Tuesday about the Atonement. It's funny because when I think of the Atonement I almost always just relate it to the fact that we'll be forgiven and resurrected. But we talked a ton about the enabling power of the Atonement. They gave us a video that mixes talks by President Eyring and Elder Holland. Elder Holland's talk was ultra powerful. He gave it at a mission president training in the MTC. You can find it on the talk is called, "Missionary Work and the Atonement." I'll copy and paste my favorite part talking about what 19, 20, 21, and 22 year olds will ask mission presidents.

"Why is this so hard President? Why doesn’t it go better President? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font? "You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
"Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
"For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
"If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
"The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

It really helped me see how blessed I've been the last 2 1/2 transfers. I mean it's not even like the people in Newcastle hate missionaries, or like I've been treated bad. All it's been is a lack of teaching and "key-indicator success". But it's definitely caused some thought, and some struggle. It's been hard at times not to think I've been wasting my time. It was hard seeing the basketball season start, and not be a part of it. There's been a lot of tough moments out here, but Elder Holland talks about how missionaries and members proudly say that we are disciples of Christ, and we are. But we better prepare to go a couple steps to where Christ has gone in order for us to truly be His disciples. Anyways that was a little quote that helped me.

Well I hope you all had a great holiday season, and I hope the new year has started off right! I'm grateful to be part of this work at this time! It's a blessing! Have a great week!

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