Date

July 11, 2017

Area

Damascus, Maryland

Companion

Elder Tucker

Am I Good Enough

This week was sweet!! The work has been going really well here lately! Of course there will always be minor set backs, but the Lord continues to hasten his work. I think there's a special truth to be learned from that. We had some really cool experiences and lessons throughout the week. We ended up picking up 7 new investigators, so grateful! One in particular is Erik. We met Eric two about a week ago while contacting on of his neighbors, he was sitting outside with his dog smoking a cigarette. We came up to him, he immediately put out his cigarette, and walked over to us and introduced himself, he told us that he had some family that lived in Utah and that they were members of our church. He told us that his wife was pregnant and about to have their first child (turns out she had him that night). He said he didn't know if God was really there but that he wanted to find out and get some direction in his life. We set up an appointment for the following Tuesday. We came back into the neighborhood on Friday to contact the person we were originally trying to get a hold of, we didn't have a lot of time, so we were just going to set up a return appointment and leave. As we were leaving Erik came out of his house and sat right down on his back patio, we were driving by and we saw him, we were already late for another appointment. But the spirit spoke to me and I felt like we needed to stay. We parked the car started talking with him and we ended up teaching him the restoration. We were put in the right place at the right time. I believe he understood the message we were sharing, and the spirit that accompanies it. He said that he would like to come to church with us this next week with his wife. We hope and pray and believe that good things are to come.
I have felt that same hope throughout my mission that good things are to come. As I write this, tears come to my eyes knowing that all of this is in the Lords hands. He truly loves us and is the guiding hand to which we can grasp. Often I think to myself "am I good enough?" Maybe this is a question you think to yourself also. Am I worthy enough, am I qualified to do what I am doing, and really live up to the Lords expectations? As I have been at low points in my life some of these questions have entered into my mind, and giving me feelings of inadequacy. This was the topic of a meeting we had several months ago and I felt the things that were said were directly for me, I hope they will be the same for you.

Am I good enough?

Elder Nelson said that there are five ways to find out if we are good enough (he was speaking to being qualified to do missionary work but still it is the same for a ll of us).

1) Our hearts must be honest
-full of love
-having correct desires
-doing our best
-without guile

2) Hearts are Broken
-humble
-teachable

3)Our spirit is contrite
-desire to improve
-obedient (repentant)

4)Covenants by Sacrifice
-develop the faith enough to endure
-live unto our covenants

5)Every Sacrifice
-willing to give all for the Lord

After praying earnestly, I have found that even though we have those feelings of inadequacy, they are okay to have as long as they are motivating us to be better. That is the objective of the mortal life we currently live, to become better. I can say that we are good enough if we are giving it our best. We will make mistakes, things will need to be improved, and sacrifices must be made. But the Lord will strengthen us, I have felt the reality of that power. It is the power that comes from His Atonement, and we can draw upon it and endure with his help.
The things that I testify of each and everyday are true, they can and will bring us the greatest peace and happiness in this life that can be felt. The Savior, even Jesus the Christ gave his life for you and for me. My testimony is in Him and what He has promised each of us. As we come closer to Him we will have a greater desire to progress and move forward! I know these things to be true, and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love you all,
Elder Shouse


Letter is week 7/10/17


Hey everyone!! This week was super sweet! Hard to explain all that happened, but basically God is softening the hearts of our investigators. We have three investigators that have given me some of the greatest opportunities to study and learn more. They are stubborn, extremely intelligent, and have a very close connection with Father in Heaven. Jerry Perry came to church for the second time this week. We had a lesson with him this week, and during that lesson we read from Joseph Smith History as we came to the part of the first vision and read it, he began to cry. The spirit controlled the room and Jerry unknowingly bore his testimony to us and said that he wants to believe but with the experiences he has had in his life it "proves difficult" to fully believe. Elder Pullsen and I bore our testimonies, he has come such a long way! It is so fulfilling to see someone start to see the change within themselves! Jerry, like I said, came to church again and loved it and he has several friends already at church.
We had another cool experience with Devin Ray, we have been struggling lately with getting Devin to come to church with us. He has a valid concern as to why he hasn't been coming which is that his employers are a board of directors who are all southern baptist and have expressed to him multiple times about how they don't like him meeting with us. So he believes that his job could very well be on the line if he were to attend one of our meetings or join the church. We talked about the brother of Jared and his experience, and how much faith was required for him to see the Lord. It was the story he needed to hear we talked about it and prayed about it and he felt strongly that he needed to come to church. So he has promised God that he would attend this next week we are so excited he is also beginning to change and he is seeing it!
As I was pondering this subject, something that Devin said in our meeting stuck out to me, and I pondered on it while studying yesterday. He said, as we have met, his thoughts have been centered on the more important things, I believe that this is a direct reflection upon the sincere study and prayer he has been doing to find answer to his questions. I believe that a mans thoughts and what he puts in his head can either be the greatest triumph or the greatest downfall. As I was reading in "The Miracle of Forgiveness," I came across this quote. "In the armory of thought (man) forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself Heavenly Mansions of joy and strength and peace...Between these two extremes are all our grades of Character, and man is their maker and master...Man is the master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny."
We shall see at the end of our lives what we made of them, and what we will come to see, is that our thoughts, where they were, and what they were mainly focused on is what became of us. Can we not each see that if we were to have our thoughts focused on the Savior and his teaching that in the end we would become like those thoughts. Elder Oaks puts this simply "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Can we give greater attention to things of purity in our minds stage? Although we will never attain perfection in this area "our focus must be riveted on the Savior and His Gospel. It is mentally rigorous to strive to look unto him in every thought. But when we do, our doubts and fears flee." I know that God has given us the capacity to be mentally clean. As we all strive to be better in this area, I pray that we will seek the Lords help, truly His enabling power will be what brings us to greater heights! I know this is true,in the name of our Savior even Jesus Christ Amen.
Love you all,
Elder Shouse




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