November 18, 2017 Does the Lord give Birthday presents? I am not sure, but if He does – He gave one to President. This week we had lots of people get baptized and several of them were on his birthday.
My seat was perfect! I had the perfect angle. I could see Sy___ & Brother R____, the ward mission leader, in the baptismal font; as well as witness the expressions of those in the room. I couldn’t help but marvel as I thought about my experiences with so many in the room.
I had gotten to know Sy____ and her husband, J___ at a fireside held in our home. Her journey to God had started when she was young. Her mom was a single mom and worked a lot. Sy_____ had spent a lot of time at the home of her next door neighbor. For three years she had gone to church, but when she’d asked to get baptized her mom had not only said, “No”; but also, had moved them across town. As Sy____ explained her journey towards baptism she said, “I guess once you get a feel of the gospel, it doesn’t really go away. Wherever I lived, I knew where the Church was. When she and J___ had moved to Texas the church happened to be a couple of blocks away. She explained that she would often buy missionaries lunch because she knew they didn’t have much money. Two of her daughters went to seminary. One for 4 years and the other for 2. The one who had gone for 4 years was currently studying to become a priest in another religion. She told her mom that of all the classes she’d had on the New Testament, the one that was the most instructive had been her Seminary class. For two years she’d been in Bella Vista and hadn’t seen a missionary, so when one of the missionaries manning the family history booth approached her, she invited them to her home. The rest is history.
At our first visit to the Bella Vista ward, we met R____ Soon after, he would be called as the ward mission leader. With each interaction since, I’ve noticed his confidence and his countenance change. He has moved missionaries in and out of homes, given them rides, ideas, and best of all support. It seemed fitting that R___ would be the one supporting Sy____ as he placed her into the waters of baptism.
As Sy____ came out of the waters, she gasped for joy, looked toward Heaven, and smiled. As she climbed the steps from the font we could no longer see her, but we could hear her sobs as she hugged the Sisters waiting at the top of the stairs.
She was not the only one in the room crying. N____ – four days home from his mission to Logan, UT, had his finger to the side of his eye catching the tears before they streamed down his face. Two plus years earlier, N____ had come to district meeting as a guest of Elder St___. As he bore his testimony, I learned that he had not been that active in the Church for awhile, was contemplating a mission, and unbeknownst to him, had a great ability to gather people to the Lord. So I was not surprised as he sat there with his father who had gotten active since he’d gone on his mission, and a beautiful young women whose family had been baptized while she was in high school. She now lived in Fayetteville with her boy friend and 8 month old daughter. After the baptism she shared her number with me and asked that the missionaries come by and help her get going to church again.
“You are just going to love the women in our Relief Society,” Deb____ sincerely stated as she formally welcomed Sy___ into the Relief Society. Elder DeG_____, and Elder So____ had made those early contacts and every missionary since had visited her. Twice I had been on visits with different companionships of Sisters to Deb____s home. The first time she was not very far into her journey back into Church activity, and the second she had been reading the Book of Mormon but still not even close to the level I was currently witnessing.
As Bishop Hu____ gave the closing remarks, I knew I was watching the wonderfully miraculous transformation that occurs in all of us when we “put off the natural man” in an effort to become like Him. I knew that “more” is so much more than we first imagine, and that when one missionary baptizes, we all baptize!
Goodbyes are never too great for me, and this month it seemed like it was one big goodbye. As I put the pictures into place I thought about each one of these missionaries. They are very different from each other, and yet each holds a special place in my heart. Each contributed. Each grew. Each came to understand the atonement of Jesus Christ. I am excited to see what school brings for each of these Elders and Sisters.
Most importantly, I am excited to see how they do in the big leagues. A mission is like spring training. You learn the skills and do them over and over again. When you go home, you see if you learned them well enough to keep doing them in the game of life.
Elder Gr____ and Elder Wi_____ invited me to go to one of their lessons. I got there a little early so I thought that I would read my Book of Mormon because I hadn’t done that today. No sooner had I opened the book then The Spirit said, “You are here. You can read any time, but you can’t talk with these people. Get out and do some missionary work.” So I got out looking to see with whom I could talk. There was a woman walking to the garbage. I hurried to her and called out. She turned and asked, “Are you talking to me?” “Yes!” She saw my tag and asked if I was the mission nurse. After I explained who I was she said, “I don’t want to say I am less active, but I haven’t been as often as I…” “would like to…” I interjected. As our conversation continued she told of serving a mission in Hawaii, and of her two children, and how when her oldest was about a year old she decided she was going to raise her to serve a mission. She shared how off and on she would read the Book of Mormon to her and how her lullaby was, “I am a child of God.” She shared that she worked nights and how her husband is not active and it is hard to go to church without him, but that she just needed to get in gear and come. When Elder Gr___ and Elder Wis___came we said our goodbyes and went to an apartment above and across the hall from her.
After knocking - and waiting much longer than I would have - the door opened. We slipped off our shoes and entered an immaculately clean home. We were there to teach the daughter of the woman who was the Primary President. The Elders had told me she was the less-active Primary President and to be quite honest I was curious what story was going to unfold. I had no idea the sacredness I would feel in this home.
We sat on the floor across from a young, high school aged woman. Her sister, mother and little brother sat too. The lesson was painfully difficult and majestically miraculous. Elder Gr____ and Elder Wis____ went between English and Marshallese. The mother and sister did too. The sister did a lot of the translating. Elder Gr___ sometimes offered side comments to help me understand a concern they had as missionaries or what they were trying to accomplish. He told me they were trying to establish that she needed to have a witness from the Holy Ghost to know if the Book of Mormon was true. After a few minutes of teaching they asked if she knew what the Holy Ghost was and she said, “no”. In this “bible belt” area that was the first time I’d heard that response. I watched fascinated as not only did they try to explain the Holy Ghost; but also, do it in another language. Toward the end of the lesson the family committed to coming to church and to reading from the Book of Mormon.
As I watched I could tell that the mother had something she wanted to say. So I asked if she wanted to bear her testimony. What followed was sacred as a mother shared her deep trust in the Lord. She testified that they Lord answered prayers. Sometimes it took a long time, but He did answer them. She shared that she had left her daughter with her mother in the Marshall Islands when she was four years old, and that she had always prayed that they would be reunited. Now they were together. She then said that she was praying for her husband to want to go back to church, and she knew the Lord would answer her prayer. It might be awhile, but she knew He would. While she talked, I had the thought that Elder Gr_____ should offer for her to have a priesthood blessing. She desired the blessing. I then witnessed what I hope I never forget. A humble daughter of God, who had faith in her loving Father, sat on the floor; while two young representatives knelt beside her. As the words flowed, I knew I was again witnessing a translation process. This time the missionaries were the translators. They were hearing the language of the Spirit and translating it into the language of the world. As I listened I was impressed with how Heavenly Father knows each of us so well. I was also reminded that daily we can know of His love if we follow His counsel, “He that has ears to hear let him hear.”
When it came time to leave, the mother gave me a guam which is a traditional Marshallese dress. I didn’t need the gift because I had received something so much greater. I had received the opportunity to watch God work among the children of man. But I gratefully took the gift as a reminder of a mother’s love for her daughter and her faith in a Heavenly Father.
As soon as we left the apartment, I knew that our work was not over. Ann, the woman with whom I had visited while waiting for the missionaries, was walking in our direction. We teasingly reminded her of the commitment she’d made to attend church and read the Book of Mormon. And this time I got her name and number. (I love that God gives me second chances). I told her she was now my friend and she should expect to hear from me. It wasn’t until this morning while writing this, that I realized I know her. I met her about a year ago when she was translating for Sister Nor____ and Sister Rich_____. She would help them for entire days. When I pulled into the apartment complex, I didn’t know she lived there. But the great thing is; God did!
God knows each one of us and our circumstances.
Pictures taken by the youngest son while entertaining himself with my phone.
The Lord’s dealings in our lives ceases to amaze me! Yesterday, I watched God work through President.
A little over a week ago President started stressing that as missionaries, we needed to be more bold in approaching people. I’ve heard him repeatedly ask the missionaries, “Do you believe this is the most important thing that will happen to a person?” With that statement has come an increase in his own personal boldness. He will offer a pass-a-long card and then say, “Learning what this website teaches is the most important thing that’s going to happen to you today.”
I am a firm believer that when we match our actions with God’s commands, things become easier to accomplish. I certainly saw that yesterday. As we got ready to leave the hotel, I realized I hadn’t packed my dress clothes. Kevin went before me. By the time I caught up, he was just finishing a conversation. He was giving away a pass-a-long card and saying “This is the most important thing you’ll do today.” With sincerity, she looked at him and said, “I believe it”.
Later in the day as I came out of the gas station, I observed Kevin approach a road worker. “Hey, can I give you something that is going to change your life?” A conversation ensued. It ended up the road worker who looked to be about 40 was a member who hadn’t been active in the church since he was 18. I watched in amazement as the two visited as if they were old friends. When it came time to leave, their exchange went something like this. Kevin: “It’s time to come back to Church isn’t it?” Road Worker: “Yea, it is.” Kevin: “I’ll send the missionaries by.”
After getting his address, and a picture, Kevin casually said, “I love you, man.” And I knew he did.
And the angel said unto me:…Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered Him, saying, Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things. 1 Nephi 11:21-22
Last night the Martin’s were baptized. The ward turned out in mass. The Sisters had to set up more chairs. Many cried. Their journey has been the ward’s journey.
May came and went, and with that passing, went their first baptismal date. They just couldn’t `quit smoking. But their determination, the determination of others, and the Lord’s enabling power finally led them to the waters of baptism. After hearing that they couldn’t afford to buy the supplies for the stop smoking workshop, a members volunteered to sponsor them. He bought all the supplies they’d need, and then gave them something else – support. He helped Josiah. He held him accountable, and he cheered him on.
Two Sundays before their baptism, I sat and listened to him bear testimony of the Lord’s guiding help. He shared how hard it had been to stop smoking, but that the Lord had helped him. It was all I could do not to laugh aloud as he explained that on a particular day he had wanted so badly to smoke. Finally he decided that he needed to do something to keep his mind off smoking. Burning the old pile of stuff in the back looked like the perfect project. What started out as a back yard burn, end up being a near forest fire. Okay, it wasn’t quite that bad, but one back door and quite a bit of property later, he stood grateful that the fire was finally out. Josiah finished his testimony with, “When I asked the Lord to help me, I didn’t think it would be by lighting my back yard and back door on fire, but I guarantee I wasn’t thinking about smoking.”
For someone who isn't a member of the church, they ight think that as they stepped into the waters of baptism their journey was over but really it was really just beginning. And, oh how wonderful to know that as they walk through their journey they won’t be alone. They will have each other, the Lord, and a whole lot of ward members!
We had a great week, things are going well in La____, we are starting to get more exchanges with the members, and set up so that we can teach them consistently in their homes. we are doing family home evening with President Swar___ tonight, and will be setting a date with him, so things are beginnning to turn on all cylinders. We had a cool experience this Sunday, that I would like to share with you.
So here's the cool miracle of the week. We haven't been able to get anyone to church yet, and as I was thinking about that, I remembered something President told Elder Gre___ and I when he weekly planned with us, and how if we are having a hard time getting people to church, then we need to look inside ourselves, and look for the reason why we go to church, and make the necessary changes. So that's what I tried to do this week, and we devoted all of Saturday, to a "coming to church" day. We made a list of our potential, and actual investigators who had commited, or who we wanted to commit that day to come to church, there were about 10 names on our list, and one by one, as we went throught the day, they dropped us, canceled on us, got called into work, or were sick. and so out of the 10 we were hoping to come ot church, not one of them said they were going to be able to make it!! However, we weren't done yet. Elder Te______ and I talked it over at the end of the night, and we decided that we would have a special fast, and trust that the Lord would bring someone to church for us, since we had done all we could the day before. We woke up early so we could get ready and go to ward council at 8:30, on our way out the door, I looked down the sidewalk, and there was our neighbor Brent, the first person we had ever talked to in La____ while we were looking for an apartment, and someone we tried to get ahold of yesterday to see if he would come to church. Being the normal friendly neighbor that I am, I smiled and waved, then got in the car, thinking about the things we needed to disucss with the ward council that day. Elder Ter___ however, put his stuff in the car, then walked up to Br____ and invited him to church, he said he wanted to come! And they agreed that we would be there with a member at 9:30 to take him to church! super cool. I'm glad Elder Te_____ was in tune. So we bring Br____ to church, and he absolutely loves it, tells us that he will be back next week. also, a less active we contacted the week before, showed up with his wife, who wasn't a member. So the Lord provided us with two people at church, not just one. Anyway, later in the day, we are doing 12 week, and someone knocks on our door. It's Br____ wife, and she tells us that she has bi-polar disorder, she has been out of meds for 2 days becuase brent doesnt get paid until monday, and she needs 50 dollars so she can go and get her meds. of course, we weren't able to help her, but we offered to give her a priesthood blessing, which we did, nad it was super powerful. In the blessing, the lord promised her that she woudl be okay until the time came that she could get her medicine, and that she would have peace, and the spirit of protection aroeund her. After the blessing, her and Br really opened up, and told us more of their story. 4 years ago, Br got out of prison, and he was praying desperately for help to change, the next day the Jehovahs Witness knocked on his door, and they started studying with them, and it changed their life. They got closer to God, then they ever had before. he told us that when he went to church with us, it was super close to the JW's, but that the Spriit was stronger, he was more comfortable, felt more peace, and didn't feel like anyone was pushing him into anything, he said it felt right, and it was where he needed to be. i was thinking about it last night before I went to bed, and i realized, 4 years ago, the church wasn't even in Lam_____, there were no missionaries here, the closest ones were at least a 40 minute drive away, and there he was pleading for change, so God sent him someone to help, a faithful Jehovahs Witness, who did help them out a lot. now, 4 years later, Elder Te_____ and i are the first missionaries serving in La____ in 10 years, and the first person we talk to is Brent, who finally came to church with us this last week. "I know that our Heavenly Father knows us each individually and perfectly. And I know that if our desires to improve and get closer to him are sincere, then he will send others to help us on that path. I'm grateful that Elder Te_____ followed the prompting to invite him to church as well. becuase I sure didn't.
During the last two transfers we have been working on finding people ot teach. We were challenged to find one a day by Elder Robbins. The following are many different finding experiences from missionaries during the last month or so:
Well the Lord's hand has been amazingly active in our finding this last week. Recently we've been focusing on asking people for referrals since our tracting efforts have been unsuccessful. We stopped by an investigator and did a lightning moment with her, and then asked if she knew anyone that could benefit from this message and she sent us to her neighbor downstairs who recently had a baby! We knocked on her door and from inside heard "Who is it?" To which our hearts sank because almost always that means when we respond "The Missionaries" people tell us to go away; BUT she responded with "Oh! Hold on one sec!". She answered the door and we began to be astonished as she became more and more interested in the Book of Mormon! She told us that after she had her son that she felt she needed to get closer to God, and we happened to knock on her door at the perfect time. We went back and taught the Restoration yesterday and after the closing prayer she looked and us with a huge smile on her face and said "this is the real deal" We are praying about a baptismal date now. The Lord is so active in the work and I am so thankful to be apart of it!
So, last week was a prime example of how the Lord helped us in our finding efforts. We had made the goal to find 7 new investigators and we were determined to achieve that goal. Throughout the week we set specific time aside to find and to contact PIs and FIs and Part Member Families. By the time Sunday rolled around we had found 4 new investigators but we needed 3 more in one day. But we began that day with a prayer specifically for help in finding three new investigators and we told the Lord our plan for achieving that goal. And the Lord really provided for us that day. We went to stop by a PIs house and he and his son were home and we got to teach them the Restoration and they wanted us to come back. That was a miracle in itself because every time we had stopped by before we hadn't been able to catch him home. Then we had other appointments and dinner and such. And we had dinner and a lesson with a RC and a member and these people love to chat so before we went inside we prayed that we would be able to leave in a timely manner so we spend time finding. And the Lord provided again. It was the shortest lesson we have ever had with them and it was perfect! So now it was 7 o'clock and we had one more investigator to find. We had planned to see some PIs and we were debating which ones we should see. So we said a prayer and asked God. We sat and pondered afterwards and I felt prompted to go see this one lady that we had helped to move. But we were both hesitant about it because they had these two huge dogs (one is actually a wolf) that are super scary and not always chained up. But we followed that prompting and went and saw her and that is who the Lord wanted us to see and she became a new investigator as well. And that made 7! We had reached our goal. The first thing we did was pray to thank God because there was no way all that happened without His help.
And I have learned something very important this week: finding people to teach is very possible with the help of the Lord but it is hard and you have to be willing to put in the work. That week we found 7 new investigators we managed our time and planned so effectively and each day we made goals of who we wanted to see and made specific plans and times of when we are going to find and set goals for those times with the Lord. This last week we lost that drive and finding was put to the back of our minds. We didn't prioritize it like we did that first week and the result: we found NO new investigators. Lesson learned! That will never happen again. We will do better this week to keep it at the forefront of our minds. Everything is possible with the Lord!
I have seen the Lord’s hand in our finding because nothing has come from our finding efforts. We tract and nothing we otm and nothing everything we try we have nothing coming from but then we get calls or texts saying people are ready to hear our message. We have hit the grind stone so hard and have seen no fruits from our own works but we have seen the fruits that the Lord has blessed us with because of our efforts. It has been a breath taking experience to learn that some times it just does not matter what we do in this life the Lord truly is in complete control.
It was a pretty good week!
The biggest thing we did in finding this week was no wasted time. When we had 10 minutes to kill or and apt cancelled, we started looking for people. To carry on with our momentum from this week, we are going to be sure we contact the potentials we picked up.
We had the coolest finding opportunity this week. We met this guy named Paul from tracting. Friday afternoon after all our meetings we had 15 minutes before we had to go to a ward activity and I really just wanted to go talk to some people because we hadn't gotten as much proselyting time as usual due to meetings and such. So we stopped on this random street close to the church and knocked on some doors and all of those that answered were not very interested. We decided to knock on one last door even though it was time to go. And that door was Paul. we talked to him for a brief moment. He set a up a time to meet with us on Sunday. We went and taught him the restoration and he was just eating it up. He wanted to know more and he accepted in invitation to baptism. He was so open and very prepared. That was just one example of the Lord's hand in finding this week, but I feel like there were so much more than that. Sister Sm_____
Since we have started focusing on finding I have had two people come up to me and ask me to be baptized. That hasn't happened my entire mission. We ended up having to refer both of them refer them but it was still cool! Elder But____
Yesterday we had a pretty miraculous experience! We had some time between a lesson and our dinner appointment, so we decided we would find a new investigator. We prayed an asked Heavenly Father to give us specific characteristics of a house that we could knock. We prayed that the person in that house would be prepared to hear about the gospel. The answer that we received was a white house with a red front door, a black roof, and shutters. In my mind I specifically saw what the door looked like. It was one of those doors with the big oval window in it. We looked around for a minute, but then we had to go to our dinner appointment. At our dinner appointment a conversation about finding people came up. We told them that we were trying something a little bit different and that we were on a search for a specific house. We told them about the house and one of the girls said, "That sounds like our voice teacher's house!" They told us the general direction of the house and we went off to look for it! We found it, and when we pulled up, I knew that it was the house we were supposed to knock. The door was exactly what I had seen in my mind as we were praying. It was a big white house with a red front door (with the oval window!), a black roof, and shutters! We knocked on the door and met one of the best people to ever be born on this earth. Her name is Gigi and she is incredible. She has a great relationship with Christ and she told us her concerns right away. She told us that we could come back next Monday and have a lesson with her! The Lord always provides. Sister Mart______
"A cool thing that happen this week, it was 8:30 and me as sister Cal____ didn't know what to do with the 30 minutes we had left .... so we made a sonic run. But instead of sittin inside the truck we went out and sat in the bed of the truck. The guy workin came rollin out on his blades and we gave him a pass along card and he went back in. We were just finishin our half off shakes and gettin ready to leave and he came out and started talkin to us about what we believed and if he could meet up with us sometime and talk about it...... COOL right haha we met up with him the next day and he brought two friend who were super interested, When he just wanted to bash. SO cool to see that lords hand in the work to find those who are ready :) It will happen if the lord needs it to :) May not have been him who was ready but through him we found those who are :) " Sister Rob____
Anyways back to the cool thing on our exchange... So we were with this Recent convert and her mom visiting people. I got a little nervous when things suddenly weren't going like we planned and we really wanted this member to have a good experience on her first exchange. President what I am about to tell you is evidence that God is good and in the details. So our backup plan was to see this potential family who has a really busy schedule but said we could try around then. We went and the Recent Convert, Jazz, knew one of the investigator’s daughters, and it was evident that they were the perfect fellow shipping family. We got to teach the whole restoration with the members sharing their testimonies. The Spirit was so strong, and we now had a new investigator family! Plus it built the faith in the members, and they said they wanted to come out with us again, sometime soon Sister Fer_____
On our exchange, we were trying to contact some referrals, so we plugged the address into the GPS (even though I pretty much know where it's at) and the GPS took us the wrong way which was really weird and led us in a circle practically but we followed it anyways. Lo and behold randomly on the side of the road, is a less-active named Dallan that I've been trying to get in contact with for months, and I just happened to recognize him! So we pulled over and jumped out of the car and talked and it was much needed. I just knew we were exactly where we were supposed to be when we needed to. Miracles. Sister To______
I’d like to share an experience about finding through Family History-IT WORKS! Yesterday I made it a goal to find 1 person through family history. problem is...I don’t know much about it, or how to find with it. Well we met this great family. But they were obviously not interested in the Message of the Restoration. they like us an what we do, but they are happy were they are. I was getting antsy to leave, but then the spirit reminded me what else we have to offer. so i pulled out my Fan Chart, i showed it to him and offered Family Search. He got so EXCITED! and this Saturday we get to go back and help him find his family!! woo woo! success! Something that I learned from this: When we are invited to do something that forces us to step out of our comfort zone, we need to do it! We need to do it, more than doing those things that we are comfortable with. the Lord blesses us when we sacrifice and when we trust in Him. I don’t know all the blessings and the why to family history work. But I do know it is a commandment from God for me to share it with others, therefore i will go and do:)
The Lord prepares someone, your efforts are nothing. I have done nothing for these people. I haven't spoken any beautiful sermon, no life changing words have escaped my lips. The Lord has allowed me to invite the spirit but literally nothing I can say or do would change this person’s mind. The Lord has already spoken and that is all that matters. This is the Lords work. I'm here to see His hand.. And I sure have seen it!
Love, Sister Ha_____
I have gained a firmer testimony that the Lord rewards effort. We had a miracle in finding as we worked to get someone at that cottage meeting. We worked down to the last minute we could. It was 7:20 when we were able to find someone to come and it started at 7:30! It was such a miracle.
One thing I have learned about finding those the Lord has prepared is once you find them, you need to take care of them. Elder St_____ and I were trying to decide if we should stop by one of our investigators or go tract. We decided to pray about it and we both got the impression that we need to take care of what the Lord has given us before he will give us more. Finding is very important, but I think we also have to remember the people we do have. I think that is why in the planning guidelines we have to plan for our investigators before we plan to find people. We will try to find a lot still though.
One thing that I have learned about finding people that the Lord has prepared is that the Lord will send you to many people who are on different levels of preparation to prepare you to talk to those who are most prepared. He does this to give us experience. So we should not be discouraged when certain people decide to stop taking the discussions. We should be grateful that we were able to grow in our teaching and communicating skills. This means that we need to be finding constantly if we want to work with those who are prepared. It's pretty neat. If you want to be a master teacher it helps to be a master finder.
Something that I have learned lately about finding those that the Lord has prepared is that the more obedient I am the more I am able to find those who are prepared. I don't always think that this means that I will find dozens of people every week if I being exactly obedient. However, I do think that it means that somehow, and definitely at times by divine revelation on where we should go, we find those who are prepared to listen to us and feel of the Spirit and accept the message that we bring. E. Ham.
Something that I have learned about finding people who have been prepared is: having confidence in who we are as missionaries. The Lord's Elect will recognize us as Christ's Representatives as we present yourself as such. If we go up to a door unsure of what we teach or scared what the people will say, then it will be hard to help people have a desire to learn. As we trust in the Lord and fear "him" more than we fear the people then we will 1- gain confidence in our abilities. 2- be able to bare stronger testimonies with the spirit. 3- and most importantly we will have the trust of the Lord, and he will guide us to the people who have been prepared. So the most important thing that I have learned is to fear God more than man, and to follow his ways.
It's been great seeing the effects of tracting with the spirit and prayer. We've tried finding with family history, and have seen its effect on people to be positive and non-threatening. I love how easy it is to open up a conversation about it. Simply asking them if they know where their name came from will start a conversation about their family history.
One thing I've learned this transfer about finding those that are prepared by the Lord is that one of the more important things we can do is prepare ourselves. If we prepare ourselves then the Lord is willing to allow us to find his prepared people. As me and my companion have spent more time preparing ourselves spiritually, and preparing more specific lessons we've had more people come to us. Not enough to be a lot of people, but there is a quantifiable increase. -Elder Ho_______
One thing I've learned about finding those that the Lord has prepared goes along with how the harder you work, the more the Lord sends to you. Elder Bu____
This week I have learned a lot about finding those who the Lord has prepared. As we talk to people I find that there are a lot more people who are willing to listen than I thought and that the best way to find them is just to talk to them. Our zone set a contacting goal and I set a goal to talk to 17 people a day. As I have done that I have met way more people who are open to at least talking about Christ than I anticipated. I have also learned that if you show the Lord that you're willing to go out of your way to talk to everybody that He will put more of the prepared in your path. A lot of times they will come to you instead of you having to dig for them. I have loved this experience.
One major thing I've learned is that to find the Lord's prepared we must involve the Lord! I've realized how crucial it is to constantly seek God's will for the day as I plan, study and work. I've noticed that when we ask for the Lord's prepared in prayer, then prepare for them by studying and planning, then go where the Spirit directs us that day, miracles will follow.
I've also seen what a huge role fasting can play in finding. Our zone leader invited us to fast to find the Lord's prepared this last week. I fasted on Thursday, and on Friday and Saturday we were on exchanges in Rolla. During the two days we were there, we found eight new investigators. I felt that fasting the day before helped me be humble enough to follow the promptings of the Spirit and allowed the Lord to fill my mouth with the right words.
I have a strong testimony of being prepared so the Lord can place His prepared in my path. And to find those prepared I have to strive to talk to everyone He places in my path that day. That's something I'm trying to improve on after this last week's
In the Book of Mormon we're told that God is a God of miracles. So I've had to ask myself if I really actually believe it.. I decided that I will believe in that. So I have gained the mentality of "expect miracles" now. Before I knock on a door or open my mouth I think " I believe that this person is prepared to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ" or "This conversation has an eternal purpose". It has really changed my perspective, regardless of the way that the contact turns out.
As of lately I have been able to see the fruits of being submissive and doing our Father’s will. As I mentioned last week my companion and I have found 18 of Gods Children now investigating the Church in just the space of 1 week. And because of our Diligence in finding those who are perishing in unbelief. We have been blessed with many experiences in doing so. One Experience we shared came from someone who we tracted into last week named Kim. As we knocked on her door we woke her up from taking a nap after a late night at work. As we talked to her she was very nice but very tired. But she let us share a quick message with her about the Book of Mormon and our Savior Jesus Christ. After doing so we asked if we could come back. We then set a return appointment with her to come back the following week. I then left her the invitation of reading the introduction of the Book of Mormon. While leaving that invitation with her she mis understood what we invited her to do and she thought we were asking her to read the introduction of the Book Of Mormon right then and there. And as tired as she was she opened the Book of Mormon to the introduction and started reading it. At that point there was no way I was going to stop her from reading out of the Book of Mormon. So my companion and I just sat back and listened to her read the whole thing.
We then left her place and came back the following week but she had to cancel and reschedule for next week. With a little disappointment we carried on with our day and throughout the week. But then on Sunday we got a text from the Sister Missionaries serving in the other ward next to us saying that someone who we tracted into came to their Church congregation. After our sacrament meeting was over we went to see who it was and sure enough it was Kim. She began to explain to us that she has been looking for a Church for quite some time and just days after we knocked on her door one of her good friends invited her to come to her Church. Little did Kim know that her friend went to the same Church as we did. The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saint's. As we talked to her she expressed to us that she felt as if this was a sign from God. Because we would knocked on her door and shortly after she was invited to the same Church by one of her good friends. She confirmed the appointment we set with her and we will be teaching her on Wednesday .
As I think of that experience I think to myself? What would have happened if we didn't follow the promptings of the Spirit when we were directed to knock that street? What if we would have been lazy and not knocked it at all; therefore, not doing the will of our Father in Heaven. And what if that would have stopped her from receiving the inspiration she received from the Holy Ghost as She felt that God was giving her sign? Luckily though we did as we were supposed to do. It is a testimony to me that it not only can effect us when we don't do the will of the Father, but it especially can effect others.
love Elder Na_______
The biggest thing I have learned recently in finding is that it is very simple. Just like the gospel is supposed to be. Sometimes as humans we over complicate things. We simply need to pray often and seek for inspiration on where to go and what to say. The Lord will always guide us right where we are supposed to be and we will know what to say. If we ever think it is us doing this work we are never going to get anywhere. This is the Lords work and we are his servants. We should always go where he wants us to go and say what he himself would say. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be one of his set apart servants.
We have been focusing a lot on finding through the Spirit. It's not enough to just drive or bike to a random location and start knocking doors aimlessly. This is not our work, it's the Lord's, and I've realized we really have to ask him where we should go to find His elect. Last Saturday, after we prayed we went out to contact an investigator we felt we needed to go and see. They weren't home. I've realized if I don't know why I've arrived somewhere, it's usually not a good idea to leave until we do know. So we went to try and talk with a guy sitting across the street on his front porch. He ran inside and locked the door before we could talk with him. As we were standing outside of his house, we heard a voice across the street saying "Those are the Mormons! There are millions of them, and those are the guys that gather people into their cult!" We walked straight over to that lady and said "Hey we're your missionaries in the area, you were saying something about a cult?" She laughed nervously and said she was just kidding... but then as we were talking about how the gospel would bless her and her two daughters, she really started to listen. Well, long story short, she was at church on Sunday, stayed all three hours, and is excitedly preparing for baptism the last week of this tranfer. Prayers really do get answered! Elder Stev_______
I'm so thankful that it was all about finding! Because of what it says in PMG that nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach! And yeah missionary work is a lot funner when you have people to teach! When i was talking to my Brother yesterday he was just saying how too often missionaries separate finding and teaching, they'll be in modes of finding, and then they'll just teach those people and baptize them and then have to stop and go find again instead of just always finding and teaching! He also told me a cool perspective on finding and talking to everyone! He said you have to think and know that the only way that people in your area can receive salvation is through you as the missionaries, he also said that you have to feel when you're out and about that you are literally sent to that area for a reason and that someone close by needs what we have and is prepared whether they're behind a door or walking past you on the way to a house you're stopping by! I thought that was a pretty impactful way to look at things - no matter where we are, the people around us have to go through us to be able to receive salvation. Elder Ki____
Something cool that has happened lately was our Restoration lesson with a youth. We had been knocking on doors and felt the impression to go across the way and talk to man sitting down. While he didn't have too much interest, we knocked the door next to him only to find a lady who was very ready for the Gospel! We had a great Restoration lesson with her, and at the end she was eager to read the Book of Mormon. We gave her the number for other Elders, as she was not Hispanic, and left feeling the spirit. Before heading to dinner, we decided to knock just one more door. A young man, Luis, answered and allowed us to share the message with him. It turns out, he has had many experiences in his life that have turned him to God and have given him a desire to have a personal connection with Him. He had many questions, and he soaked in the message of the Restoration. Before we had even finished talking about the Great Apostasy, he asked "so, who is the prophet today?" What?! He understood the role of Joseph Smith well and looked forward to reading the Book of Mormon. At the end, we discussed baptism, and he accepted a date for 5/13! I learned firstly that we never know what the Lord has in store when He gives us promptings; we just have to follow them in faith. Secondly, success doesn't always stop with one person or one talk - there are so many ready for the Gospel ~ Elder Joh_______
Something really great happened last weekend. We were getting out of a lesson late, and we saw someone sitting outside in a neighboring apartment. We took a brief second to give him a pass-a-long card, and hurried on our way. Later that night he sent in a media referral, requesting us to come back and deliver a Book of Mormon, and is investigating the church now. If we hadn't stopped to talk that wouldn't have happened. I am so grateful that the Lord blesses us when we talk to everyone.
Recently we taught the restoration to a new investigator named Tanya. A long time ago, when we were looking for the apartment I am staying in, you called to ask how it went then you asked me if we had the chance to teach anyone while we were looking for the apartment. I recalled the leasing agent for our apartment and felt that I should talk to her. I prayed for that opportunity, and a few days later, I saw her in the parking lot, and approached her. She said she would be interested in meeting with us, but we were never able to get things set up, until now. She seems excited, and I am excited for her, and the Elders who will be teaching her. Thank your for that question you asked, It was a major motivator to talk to her and to keep setting up appointments.
We have been working on finding in our Zone. We set some goals and then we prayed and asked Heavenly Father how many people he wanted us to find this week. The original number was 21. There are 7 companionships, so if each companionship found 3 new investigators, we would have 21 new people to teach. As we prayed though, the zone felt like the number should be higher. We set our goal at 30 new investigators for the week. Now, numbers aren't the important thing. I am personally not a huge fan of number goals because we are talking about souls here, not just random numbers! I admit I was pretty skeptical and I was worried that we would not meet this goal. I was lacking a lot of faith. As we went about our week, we saw miracles in finding. We even found a family to teach! Last night the zone leaders called everyone and said that as a zone, we had found 39 new people to teach this week. I was shocked. As we set that goal with Heavenly Father, he provided a way for us to reach it and then he multiplied our efforts. I was very humbled by that. I know that when we set goals with the Lord, he will help us accomplish them and we will do things that are impossible for us to do on our own. I am very grateful for this experience
We have gotten into the routine that while President is interviewing I pray with another missionary and then they teach me something that has been assigned. It is a personal one-on-one time that I treasure. So you can imagine that the thought, “One of your children is in trouble.” would come as an alarming shock to this personal missionary moment.
In the Spirit led moments that followed, (when you think more things in a split second than is normally possible), I battled about what to do. Do I leave and call them all? Is that fair to the missionary? What if they end up in the hospital because I didn’t warn them? The battle ended with the thought of an experience of Joseph F. Smith when he was serving in the temple. He had the similar thought that one of his children was in trouble so he should pray for their safety. Taking this as an indication of what to do, I prayed with an intensity that the Lord would protect my children.
After the one-on-one time ended, and we were gathering for some wrap up teaching, my mind again turned to the safety of my children. I was pretty sure it was one of my sons that was in danger. Since Neal was at youth conference, I decided I should go out and give my son Matt a call of warning. The concern didn’t leave, so my son Matt ended up getting three calls while I offered multiple prayers for my son’s safety.
It wasn’t until after a very busy day that I came to understand the Spirit’s earlier urgency. A quick call to check on Elder Gr____’s foot, revealed that he and another missionary, Elder Dur_____ had been in an accident that wasn’t their fault. They had been T-boned, the air bags came down, and there was a pretty nasty dent that went down most of the passenger side of the car, but they were both okay. You can imagine the relief I felt to know they were both okay!
We can not always be where we would like to be to protect our children. And I am not sure why some are protected and others are not, but what I do know is that I was prompted to pray and two of my “sons” are safe for which I am very, very grateful!