1) Did you ever take tests/study at USU on Sundays? Did that help/hurt you?
2) Now that you know you are aren't being transferred out of Rochelle this round, when is the next transfer date?
3) Has your mission received many more Spanish speaking missionaries this fall? Do you get Spanish speaking elders?
4) Did you get the mail I send directly to Sister W's home?
5) Does the mission provide bedding (blankets, quilts, etc) for missionaries there?
- Tests, no. Those were always in class, during the week. Studying, I don't think so. I honestly believe and know to be true what we teach our investigators: Sunday is the Sabbath day in this dispensation and we are to sanctify and honor it. It is the Lord's day, and how we treat it is a sign to God, showing how we truly feel about Him. How I personally decide if something is alright to do on the Sabbath, I ask myself if I would do it if the Savior were here with me. Would I wash the dishes? Yes, because cleanliness is next to godliness. Would I deep clean the house? No, that can wait because the house is clean enough. That is simply doctrine according to Hermana DeBuck (the dishes example) but if you'd like more clarification, please see Elder Nelson's talk from the April 2015 General Conference. He explains it a lot better than I can.
- The next transfer is the 8th of December. So I have two and a half transfers left as a missionary. Approximately 14-15 weeks. That is crazy. Boy does the time fly. And I honestly don't want it to end. There is nothing better than bringing souls unto Christ 24/7. But a release as a full time missionary is simply a call to be a life long missionary. (: So that makes it a little better.
- I believe we've gotten a few more, not a whole ton. But some. I would say 2-6 every transfer cycle. Maybe. Don't quote me on that. And yes, we have Spanish speaking Elders. There are two currently serving in my first area, down in Bloomington-Normal.
- I think so....? Not sure though. How long ago was that?
- Yes and no? I know in my first apartment we had a bunch of blanket already and in my second area we found a giant blanket in a closet. The house here in Rochelle has a bunch of blankets but I believe they actually belong to the house, not the mission. The other places I think they were just leftovers from missionaries who didn't take them with them.
Well, I have some good news everyone: WE HAD INVESTIGATORS COME TO CHURCH!!!!!!!
I don't think caps lock and any number of exclamation points can even begin to describe how happy we were. We wanted to cry and to scream and to pass out all at the same time. Yesterday was probably one of the top five Sundays of my entire life. But first, some background information...
On Wednesday, we taught one of our on date investigators, Ida. She is on date for 28 November and we were able to teach her at a members' home with two of the greatest people ever, Brother and Sister Springer. We ended up having about 25 minutes to teach (because we had to leave then to be on time to exchanges in Elgin). We had asked our members the day before to study in Preach My Gospel, lesson two: the Plan of Salvation. We say a prayer and begin the lesson. Brother S starts us off and finishes us off. We spoke very little yet the Spirit was so strong. That right there is the importance of members. It was a fairly brief overview of God's plan for His children, but I know it was what she needed. We then asked if she'd prayed about being baptized on the 28th of this month and she said yes. We asked how she felt about it and she said good, smiling. I know this woman is so prepared and so ready. We then invited her to church, telling her she has to come every week between now and the 28th in order to be baptized then. Her face fell slightly, saying she had work that day. We promised that if she worked for it and we all had faith, God would provide a way.
On Friday, we were at the church doing weekly planning (exchanges on Thursday and not enough time Wednesday) when in walks a young boy, maybe ten years old, and he asks us what time services are on Sundays. We tell him ten o' clock and he walks out. Then he walks back in and asks what time they're at in Spanish, and we explain it's the same time but we translate what's said. Then he leaves. There wasn't even enough time for us to consider finding more information. We were just in shock. It was crazy and we thought to ourselves, "hey, maybe we'll have some random people we've never met at church this week" and then we went on with our week.
Fast forward to Sunday. We were talking with a member before the meeting began and in walks the young boy we met Friday. Followed by six more Latinos whom we had never met before. Can you say miracle? Because I sure can! It was truly amazing. We met all of them and got them all set up with stuff for translation. Then, later, while we are singing the sacramental hymn, in walk Jose and Ida, our couple on date. The second we saw them, I just wanted to cry and praise God. I know He is so so so merciful to His children. He truly loves His kids. And I know it has very little to do with us. The only factor we play in miracles like these is our obedience. I know because we have been repenting daily and seeking the Spirit, constantly doing our best to be our best, we were rewarded abundantly. And if I had to narrow it down to just one reason why we finally had people at church, well I don't know that I could. I think it's partly because I have been very studious in writing in my journal nightly, which is something I've been repenting of for quite some time. And I think it's partly because I've finally learned how to truly exercise faith, do the best I can, and then leave it in the Lord's hands, believing that it will all work out in the end.
This week was simply amazing. Last Sunday was fast Sunday and it was also the first of November. We were invited by our zone leaders to fast about our mission vision: 1000 baptisms in one year, which works out to be one baptism per companionship per month. Well, I fasted about it and I honestly felt like I didn't receive an answer. But now, looking back on the week, the answer was manifested in our desire and our attitude and our faith.
See, faith has always been a hard concept for me. I'm a logical thinker and faith just doesn't make sense, logically speaking. So I've been studying it quite a bit and I've learned some interesting things.
The phrase "exercise faith" really just means "working towards a worthy, unseen goal". So when we exercise our faith, we are working towards a good goal, inspired and confirmed by the Spirit, even though we don't know how it's going to be achieved. We trust in God enough to work as hard and as smart as we can, and then we give it to Him.
I recently studied Alma chapter 32 in the Book of Mormon. The prophet Alma, compared the word of God to a seed. When we first hear the word of God, we don't know if it is good or not. So how do we find out? He tells us that first we must "awake and arouse" our faculties, to "experiment" upon the word, "exercise a PARTICLE of faith", "desire to believe" and then "let this desire work in [us]" until we can "give place for a portion" of the word--or try living what the word says. When we give place for a portion of the word, when we begin living the principles we are learning, that is how we plant the seed. Then, as we continue to nourish the seed, we continue to live those principles, and we do not "cast it out" by our unbelief, it will begin to swell, to enlarge our souls, to enlighten our understanding, and to be delicious to us. We will see the fruits of living those principles and we will begin to know that they are true, good principles. By exercising our faith, by trying those principles out in our lives, that is how we learn if it is a true, good seed--if the word is actually the word of God. However, at this point, our knowledge isn't perfect. Our faith has been strengthened yes, we are more inclined to believe, but we still don't know perfectly. Eventually, as we continue to nurture that seed, we may come to a perfect knowledge--of that thing. When we get to this point, our faith is dormant because we know without a doubt that the word is good and true.
And this, my friends, is where I am at when it comes to many Gospel principles. I used to think I didn't have faith. But I learned this week that that thought is completely and utterly false. That thought comes from Satan, who would have us doubt our faith before we doubt our doubts. But now I know that I truly do have faith. But because I have seen the fruits of living the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, my faith in dormant in many ways. But there are some principles that I must continue to exercise faith for my knowledge is not perfect.
Which is what Alma tells us about next; he tells us that we must not "lay aside [our] faith". Friends and family I plead with you: do not lay aside your faith. If you have once tasted the joy of the everlasting Gospel, I would ask, can you feel so now? (Alma 5:26) Come unto Christ and be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life (1 Nephi 8:11-12). I know that God is your Heavenly Father and He loves you with an infinite love. Neither you nor I can comprehend it, but I know it's real. His work and His glory--His eternal goal--is to bring to pass YOUR immortality and eternal life (Moses 1:39). He has not given up on your nor will He ever give up on you.
I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He lives. He guides His Church through living prophets and apostles. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. He has called me to this holy calling, this work of salvation. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly and independent until it has penetrated every continent and sounded in every ear, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done (see History of the Church).
Tu Hija y Amiga,
1. So frequently I make Hermana Henricksen tell me a story in Spanish (to practice speaking and conjugating and making sense) but yesterday she made me, so I told her about how we always ate Cow Tales when we got a car wash. So today we bought cow tales and then ate them in the car wash!
2. Remember those disgusting bugs I told you about? Well, last night we found TWO more! The first one was enormous, which is probably why he was dead the next morning: he breathed all his allotment of air.