Hey everyone, another good week here in Damascus. Transfers are gone and I'm staying, but unfortunately Elder Tucker is leaving, but the good thing is that he will only be up the street. He's in the area right above me and he's still in my district, so I will see him every Tuesday, so that's sweet! My new companion is going to be Elder Smith, he's a younger missionary and I have no idea who he is, so I'm excited to meet him on Wednesday! So things are progressing smoothly here! We picked up 3 NEW INVESTIGATORS this week!! How we found them was pretty cool too! So the first new investigator is Yesha. She is a Chinese woman who lives right next door to the Penaloza's. We knocked into her two weeks ago and she said we could come back on Friday, we did and taught an awesome lesson. She said the most wonderful prayer at the end too talking about how she needed this in her life and, and how great God was for sending us two young men. It was awesome, super grateful for the Lord putting us in the right place at the right time. The other couple we met was on Tuesday night and their names are Mike and Leslie. We had all of our appointments fall through and it was about 7:30 so we started walking down this street looking for houses that had lights on so we could go knock on them (cause everyone seems to go to bed here at 7 o'clock). And we saw these two people smoking out side of their house so we went and started talking to them. We asked if we could share a message with them, and they said yes! So we sat there and shared the restoration with them, they had some awesome questions, we answered them and asked them if they would read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon together that night. They both agreed and Mike gave a really good prayer at the end. It was awesome! We have an appointment with them on Tuesday night and ill let you know how that goes.
We've been able to see a lot of good things happen in this area lately, and I feel like I should talk today a little about why I think that is. We had a zone training this last week that was focused on how, “obedience brings blessings” and I totally agree with that! But to take that a little further, I believe that obedience brings happiness also! This week in my studies, that is what i have focused on, asking heavenly father what lack I yet? How can I be a better instrument in his hands, and a better vessel to bring in the spirit. As I was studying out this topic, I was led to Adam and his obedience to the Lord. Adam had become a man of perfect obedience to the Lord after he was commanded to offer his first ling's of his flock, he did so willingly. An angel soon appeared to him and asked: "why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord?" His reply "I know not save the Lord commanded me." After he received instruction as to what the sacrifices meant. The revelation was given after he showed his obedience, can we see a parallel in our own lives? The revelation, the blessing we receive in our lives in predicated upon every act of obedience, every righteous step we take towards the Father. I would like to share a story that Spencer W. Kimball told about his friend many years ago, I feel it has some relevance to our lives.
I am indebted to my good friend, Jim Smith, formerly of central Arizona, who told me the following story:
"Long years ago when I was a little boy and rode the range with the men, tending the cattle and helping with the roundup, I used to look forward to the 'rest stop' under the wide spreading branches of a most beautiful tree on Ash Creek.
"How we used to enjoy it and admire it with its uniform shape and its thick green foliage! How we came to look forward to it, depend on it, and almost love it as we came to think of it as our very own, having been planted there for our comfort and to satisfy our needs.
"Its green coolness was a haven of protection for the birds that made their nests in its branches and perched upon the outer twigs for their chorus rehearsals.
"The cattle sought out its cool shade and the soft, pulverized, unrocky ground under it for their afternoon relaxation.
"And we thirsty cowboys always made a stop to get a cool drink from the canteen, perhaps to play mumble-peg for a few minutes, and to stretch our tired, cramped limbs for a few moments as we rested from the hot summer Arizona sun.
"As we lay on the soft cool earth on our backs and looked up into the tree, we saw high in one of the limbs a little sprig of mistletoe. It stood out in contrast from the grayer leafage of the tree and was not unattractive in its dark green dress with its little whitish berries.
"I imagined I could hear the gigantic tree saying to the little mistletoe, 'Ha! little friend! Welcome to stay with me. In my great strength, I can easily spare you a little of my sap, which I create from the sun and air and the water under the creek bed. There is plenty for all, and you in your smallness can do me no harm!"
"Years later when I was a man, I again came up Ash Creek, again driving cattle. Imagine my consternation and sadness to find the beautiful tree of my adoration dry and dead, its long jagged branches reaching high like the bony fingers of a skeleton. Not even an uninhabited bird nest graced its forks, no cattle lazed under its branches, no foliage covered its grim nakedness, and no welcome was there to traveler or cowboy to take shelter under its nude wretchedness, and already its limbs were being hacked away by woodcutters.
"The infinitely beautiful tree of my youth was now the ugliest tree on Ash Creek."
(In seeking for the cause of such devastation, I saw hanging from the limbs of the tree great clusters of mistletoe—the parasite of the tree. The translucent glutinous berries perhaps had been carried by a bird or the wind. The stickiness of the berry served to attach it to the tree limb or host plant until germination was complete, the little sprout always turning toward the point of attachment.
And as I pondered, this thought came to me: Who would ever dream that a sticky little white mistletoe berry would overpower and kill a huge, beautiful tree? How like the little mistletoe is the first cigarette or first drink! How like this predatory plant is the first lie or dishonest act! How like this parasitic growth is the first crime, the first immoral act!) - Spencer W. Kimball
We each deal with our own Mistletoe, which can come and infect our spiritual tree, and if we aren't careful can lead us to spiritual death. If we intend to make it back to our Father in Heaven we must know that the laws of heaven are governed by obedience. I can testify that Obedience not only brings the blessings of Heaven but they bring happiness, spiritual contentment, and Love from the Lord. "and this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." As we come to know Him our lives will be enriched, the windows of Heaven Will be opened and we will feel the peace that comes to our lives from His presence. I know this, I know God intends for each of us to be happy, and to live happily. Obedience truly brings happiness! In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
Love you all,
Have a great week!