Man, this week was a roller coaster. Both Elder Harris and I were sick for a good portion of the week. Just a cold, everyone says it's allergies but it was a cold. But, we did alright for ourselves. When one of us gets sick, we both do. That is just a part of mission life!
We went to the temple on Friday and that was awesome! It was a good thing we went because there was only two other people that went besides the man going. I learned a lot from that so it was a great experience all around. Brother Franklin, the man who went for himself, was super excited and it has been a long time coming.
I am getting to the point on my mission where I am not afraid to be bold and follow the spirit. I had several experiences this past week that really help me in my confidence and teaching ability. I am not going to put "exciting" non-spiritual stories in this email because 1) I didn't quite have any of those and 2) even if I had them, I can't remember them.
0. We were teaching the mother of a recent convert. This woman is legally deaf (doesn't sign though) and is very busy with work and school. We were teaching her about reading the Book of Mormon and promising her how studying it will bless her studies. Elder Virgin and I did that but she did not do it. Surprise! Her studies and such weren't very good. So, she is now in a position to actually take our word on it. Midway through a sentence, i can't remember who it was that was talking, but i had the clear impression – as clear as i have had – such as I almost blurted it out without thinking, to ask her why she has not joined her daughter in partaking the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I will always remember how almost uncontrollable that was. It was powerful.
0. The next instance was later that evening. We were teaching the Harros family. A little background on them: She and her daughter were referrals from Temple Square. They got a copy of the Book of Mormon from the front desk and consented to missionaries meeting them when they got home. We visited with them and they are interested. They are wonderful! The daughter is 20 and the mother is in her 40's. The daughter is more interested than the mother but not by much. They love what we have taught them. This last lesson that w taught them was the Plan of Salvation. This lesson is one of my favorite things to teach because of the focus that it has on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As I was listening to my companion teach about the atonement, I couldn't help but feel excited! There is someone that cares about us. Who loves us perfectly. I just loved teaching and testifying of that.
For those of you who were not aware, the church had it's General Conference this past weekend. As you might know, we believe that out of love, God has called prophets again on the earth, just as he did anciently, to teach us about Him, His love for us and His Plan of Salvation that was just mentioned. They are ordinary men, they are not worshipped and they are not paid. They do not do what they do for praise or worldly fame. They give up their lives and dedicate the remainder of their time, talents and energy to the building up of God's kingdom here on the earth in preparation for the second coming of Christ. General Conference is the time that we have the opportunity to sit and be taught at the feet of prophets of God. Unfortunately, some people take the words spoken as binding and scripture without studying them or praying. In fact, some do not study the scriptures at all. But, that does not mean that the men that we sustain (sustain means to support and uphold or give assistance to) as prophets are perfect. There has only been ONE PERFECT MAN EVER! And that was Jesus Christ. Some people leave the church because they get offended or because they find something that a prophet or other leader in the church said almost 2 centuries ago that has so little meaning in the scheme of things but shakes their testimony to the core. If you find yourself in that situation, I have two things to say.
The first: People who read the Book of Mormon consistently and pray fervently DO NOT leave because of a lack of testimony. If your testimony has been shaken by offense, or something that puts a bad taste in your mouth, I invite you to re-evaluate your study of the scriptures.
The second: Yes, there were probably some things done by leaders both now and then that might come off as inconsistent with what the Lord has taught. Keep in mind that they are men which means that they are mortal and that they make mistakes. Guess what, so do you, so do I. Peter, the great Apostle that walked and talked with Christ cut someones ear off, denied Christ three times and went back to fishing. But guess what? He was a prophet. Paul, before he was Paul the great missionary of the New Testament, gleefully put Christians to death and imprisoned them. But guess what? He became the greatest missionary in that hemisphere. Alma the younger went about "destroying the church of God." But, he repented and was the instrument in the hands of the Lord in converting thousands of Lamanites to the Lord.
If you do feel like your testimony is shaken, please, take time to do those things that strengthen it. I have seen, first hand, people who think that their lives in the church are boring and restrictive so they leave the church without seeing how destructive this world is. It is very sad to see the situations that many people find themselves in that would more than likely have been prevented if they had just done something so simple as to read the scriptures, pray and repent everyday. That's all it takes. That and time.
I am sorry that I kinda went off on a rant *steps off soap box* but it really saddens me when people lose their testimonies and leave the church because of something they don't feel that the church isn't true. Yet, they don't put in the effort to study for themselves or they look past the mark and become stubborn. Anywho. Yeah, we believe in prophets.
I thoroughly enjoyed General Conference and I am so excited to try a new study method with it. I am going to get a binder and print off all of the talks. As time goes on, I will study them make notes etc. just like I have with my scriptures. I went into it with a few questions and I got some direction on where/what to study to get the answers. I also got some glorious advice on being a leader, guidance that I have been seeking. I love General Conference! I have such a joy in my heart that I never want to leave. I have the spirit with me so much! I am getting to the point in my mission where missionary work is so incredibly rewarding and glorious! I am loving my mission and I love being a missionary. This work is amazing and wonderful. Truly, it is a marvelous work and a wonder. Anyone who has looked at this church, has read the bible and has some common sense would be able to know the truth from the lies. The gospel is TRUE!
I hope your week has been as glorious as mine has been! Truly, the Lord is a wonderful man to work for!
Love, your missionary brother and son, Elder Jefferies
Picture: Us going to the temple!