Day 321 01/06/20
I have been a missionary for 11 months. We (I) tested our smoke detector and it is still a loud box. We went to the library and I got a library card. We went shopping and that was something, didn't get much because we have enough food at our apartment for a few days. We went to a sock store and they had winter ski socks and I decided that having a pair of socks for cold weather may be useful in 13 months. We had a zone activity with just the Elders in the zone. I didn't participate because I was washing my normal clothes. We had a member lesson with the members that lives as far away as possible from our apartment.
Day 322 01/07/20
Today I learned that what Elder Stone told me about being obedient is true. You will be hated for following the rules. How unfortunate that is as a missionary. We taught a man about the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy, we got bashed and then got told to go away as we were walking up a driveway, nothing new.
Day 323 01/08/20
We went by some people in the morning then went up to interviews. I told President how I was doing and how I was feeling. I then had another interview with Sister Reeves and I was given the option of being Emergency Transfered from Elder Marquez. I declined because I felt I could make it 10 more days and that I was doing some good. After interviews, they ended at 5pm. We went finding, we talked to one guy in his garage for 40 minutes, not our best moment. We went tracting and we didn't find anyone new. We had a member dinner (it was after 7pm so it was okay) after that we had another member lesson and we were at that one for longer than we should have been, I learned that a member lesson is only supposed to be 30 minutes.
We had district council. After we went to taco bell and had lunch. Then we got back to our area. we invited a lady to church and she said she would come (she didn't) we went by some other people then went back to the apartment for dinner. (It is at this part of my week that everything went south. It started to rain, we had dinner, we got our of the apartment late. On the way into our area I lost sight of Elder Marquez and I thought another biker was him but I lost sight of that bike too as I waited to cross the road. I went to where we had planned to go and my companion wasn't there. I found a place out of the rain and called the mission president, he said to call the zone leaders and to go back to the apartment. So I did. On my way back to the apartment I found Elder Marquez about 11 minutes after I had called to say he was missing. (in total I didn't know where he was for 22-25 minutes) President talked to Elder Marquez and that put a damper on things so we went back to the apartment, and Elder Marquez was not happy with what I had done. We met the zone leaders at our apartment and they said we were going on exchanges for the rest of the day and tomorrow. The zone leaders are in a trio (Elders Wells, Ball, and Judd) Elder Judd will be my companion until the 15th then I get Elder Ball as a companion till the transfer ends.
I felt bad for getting Elder Marquez and myself E.Ted (Emergency Transfered) Elder Marquez said it was my fault, but it was a collective failer that would have been resolved if we had stayed close together while biking. But he went down a hill and was gone before I got to the top of it. Thank you mom for the Email. I read it at 8pm and I should have read it when I got it at 1pm. Elder Judd and I found two people to teach in one day and we stopped teaching Habib. He only wanted to talk about religion. We went tracting and we didn't find any new people to teach.
Elder Serr and I went on exchanges, we called Armando and he said he was coming to church. Elder Serr and I tried stopping by people and tracting but no one was home. We had dinner at the church, a member brought us pizza. We exchanged back and all was as well as it could be.
We biked to church, Armando came. I gave my talk, The ward said they enjoyed it after. Everyone wanted to know where Elder Marquez was so we said we were on exchanges for the day. We eventually told the ward mission leader that Elder Judd would be here until Wednesday then we get a new Elder. We found another person to teach making this week the best week in finding and getting people to church that our area has had in 4 weeks.
Here is my talk.
Well they are having a missionary speak... Guess what the topic is. So we have priorities and God should be our our first priority and as we love God and as we draw closer to God by learning about the Gospel. Eventually we will want to share that knowledge of the gospel with other people and share what we know. From a missionaries point of view sharing the gospel is still not the most comfortable or easiest thing to do. But God blesses us for doing things that are hard and he will bless us more as we strive to bring souls unto Christ.
There are many ways to do missionary work, some are simple and comfortable to do. Others push us out of our comfort zone. I think that this is why we prioritize things over sharing the gospel, I'm not going to list where missionary work should be on our priorities, because I'm a missionary and I don't know what other things people priorities, because the only priorities missionaries have are Missionary work, sleeping, eating, and staying alive. My companion and I more so on staying alive because we ride bikes in California. So I'm going to refer back to Elder Uchtdorf's talk from the April conference of 2019. So sorry to disappoint you that there will be no story about a Hobit. So Elder Uchtdorf gives us some ideas and some of these are easy to do. The first way to do missionary work is draw closer to God. This should also be a priority of ours. I'll list some ways we can draw closer to God. Studying scriptures, praying, going to church. As we draw closer to God we find greater happiness and peace in our lives and it is noticeable. Elder Uchtdorf says, quote "The closer you draw to our Heavenly Father, the more His light and joy will shine from within you. Others will notice that there is something unique and special about you. And they will ask about it." close quot. Hebrews 10:22 "22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." now I'm going to be honest and say that I don't fully understand what "having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience" means but I interpret it to mean we will be nicer and friendly and happier. At the least we are doing missionary work by simply peaking people's interest in why we are so happy. Skipping two of the points Elder Uchtdorf brings up we get to Sharing what is in your heart. Now we do not have to shout from the corners and cary signs with Book of Mormon verses on them to share the gospel. We simply just need to prioritize standing as a witness of Jesus Christ and prioritize telling people about what we believe at appropriate times. You don't have to go tracting to tell people about our faith. I know that before I was a missionary the primary thing that stopped me from sharing the gospel was fear. This is what Jesus Christ tells us in Doctrine and Covenants section 68:6 "6 Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come." we do not need to preach a sermon to the people we are sharing the gospel with we just need to simply tell people why Jesus Christ and the Church are important to you. If done in a normal and natural way its not awkward or isn't as awkward. Because this is God's work he is going to help us. If we have faith we can see miracles. Moroni teaches this in Ether 12:12-18
"12 For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.
13 Behold, it was the faith of Alma and Amulek that caused the prison to tumble to the earth.
14 Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
15 Behold, it was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites.
16 Yea, and even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith, even those who were before Christ and also those who were after.
17 And it was by faith that the three disciples obtained a promise that they should not taste of death; and they obtained not the promise until after their faith.
18 And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God." Faith in Jesus Christ is required to work miracles. The best part about missionary work is that it is not the missionary that converts the person it is the responsibility of the Holy Ghost. It is our job when sharing the gospel and live the consistent with what we believe.
I know that it is the Holy Ghost that will ultimately convince people of the truthfulness of the gospel. It can also change us and help us understand the importance of missionary work. An example of this is how I came on a mission. As an 18 year old I thought I knew what I wanted and I didn't want to go on a mission. Jokes on me, here I am. What changed was simply a four wheeler crash. My brother and myself were out with an Uncle and our cousins enjoying the back roads of the Black hills. I had driven for most of the trip and deciding to be nice to my brother I let him drive. Now he drove like any 13 year old drives...like a maniac. We came to a gravel road and my brother in his own words said quote "I turned onto the gravel road and it was a perfect experience and opportunity to race one of the cousins down this road and it was a great time racing him for about the first hundred yard but then there was a turn coming up ahead and our Uncle knew that but we did not know that so he got in front of us and starts breaking and then at that very moment my brain had a fart and I was like which brake is back brake because it would be better to roll then to end up in our uncle and the gravel so I immediately turned left and it was a great time... and you’re not dead so be happy." close quote. Well his turning left led to he and I being thrown from the four wheeler going 45 miles an hour. We were both fine, we landed in the ditch by the side of the road. We sustained some hurt feelings and a little bit of road rash. Since we were fine we rolled the four wheeler back onto its wheels and continued back to the truck to go back to camp. On the ride back I knew that I needed to serve a mission. From this crash God was able to soften my heart and the Holy Ghost was able to help me realize that I needed to serve a mission. Missionary work is God's work and he uses us to do it. He will provide a way for us and we just have to act in faith and share the gospel in simple, normal, natural ways.