I love fast and testimony meetings. I want to add that one to the Facebook group, “Overheard at the Pulpit.”
Well, it is true. There’s nothing quite like the Savior and His ability to solve everything. However, it’s usually not in our own time. In fact, yesterday, it was a small, but key learning experience about that. I went to bed Sunday night feeling a bit (a lot) frustrated at the inability we have in our area to find people that are truly searching. We get many contacts, but I can’t tell you how many times we’ve planned to teach the Restoration–and it has fallen through. I prayed so hard that I would wake up with peace, and a reassurance that what I’m doing is the right thing. Isn’t that a great thing to pray for? I thought it was, so naturally, I was confident that it was going to happen. So, I wake up Monday morning, and find that I feel the exact same way. What? I thought it was strange, especially since I had so much faith. I still said my morning prayers, got up, and threw on my workout clothes. As we were running to the field (to our ultimate Frisbee appointment with the elders) a thought came to me. It was my decision on how to act according to everything else going on around me. I knew I needed to put a smile on my face, since the day ahead already looked pretty long. I thought of all the good things that happened the day before, and all of the good things that would happen in the next few hours. After that, I felt fantastic. I learned that we always need to pray for the strength to overcome, and not for God to take us out of the situation. It’s the same thing He did with the Brother of Jared in the book of Ether. I’m just glad that I learned that lesson on a much smaller scale!
My personal study this week was pretty great…I studied a lot on charity and the pure love of Christ. Most of us take that as trying to love people that you don’t know yet, or who you have a hard time loving. But what about the people you truly love, but don’t love themselves? A recurring phrase of a scripture kept coming to me over and over again in my mind, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men…In meekness instructing that oppose themselves…” -2 Timothy 2:24-25. I think it’s almost harder to convince someone they’re loved than to start from the beginning. I grabbed a talk out of the September ’95 Ensign entitled, “To Touch A Life With Faith.” President Eyring is speaking of those who are having a hard time submitting to the will of God when he said, “That feeling of surrender is not likely to come unless they experience some feeling of being loved…If you love them because you feel God’s love for them, they will feel that.” We help them the most effectively when we draw them closer to the Savior, and help them discover their own personal relationship with Him.
We had our first Mission Leadership Council this week as STL’s. It was extremely cool. After getting the business items out of the way, President Francis started with teaching us how to properly shake hands. Remember Vince Lombardi and showing all of his players what a football looks like? We started from the ground up. If our missionaries can’t remember to do the very miniscule things, they will not be recognized as servants of Christ. Dress and grooming was stressed, along with exact obedience. I was really surprised at how small of a council we had in comparison to how big our mission is. During the meeting, especially as President was asking us our each individual thoughts on certain topics, I was thinking how insane it is that Jesus Christ trusts people our age to do this work. Hello, we are barely out of high school here…and He’s trusting us with the salvation of souls?! It really isn’t our work. It’s the work of the Lord, and the only people that can do it the correct way are those who have enough faith. Resume’s do not even hold a candle to the faith required to do this job.
We’ve been at the sites for all of about five hours this week. As for our area, it’s still progressing. We got a bunch of contacts, and have started teaching some returning member lessons. It was a “fruit of my labors” moment on Sunday when one of the women that we invited back to church got up to bear her testimony. She had been gone for quite a few years, and didn’t know how to come back until the sisters just showed up at her door. Her boyfriend had died just a couple weeks previous, and she was ready. She’s starting the temple preparation classes again, and says that she can tell a huge difference of how her life was before we came, and after we came. We never even realized the impact it would have on her when we just knocked. Isn’t Christ just always knocking?
I think that’s all for now! I absolutely love being here in New York, especially with the 70 degree weather we’ve had for the past couple weeks. It looks like it’s just good from here on out! Weather wise, and work wise. 🙂
p.s. The attached photo is Sister Steel and I celebrating National Twin Day with Bob Parrott (the grove keeper!) at the Joseph Smith Farm. And if you look closely, my “Hermana” is official!