October 3, 2016
"We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet"
It was kind of a slow week, but it ended with Conference, so all is well! We have been trying to find more people to teach, most of the people that we met or were already being taught when we got here aren't really progressing. So that means lots of tracting! Yay! We literally spent our whole day on Friday knocking on doors and trying to contact former investigators. Did we find any new investigators? Of course not! BUT we found people whose hearts we were able to touch. We didn't find the three new investigators we had hoped for, but at least three hearts were opened to the Spirit. Success is not defined by the numbers, but by our efforts. We worked hard this week and I know that what we did was what we were supposed to do. There was one woman in particular that I know we were meant to meet. She opened the door and I could tell something was wrong. After introducing ourselves and asking how she was doing, she told us she was fine. I knew she wasn't. As we talked a little more about what we do as missionaries, she told us it wasn't a good time. Both of her parents had died within the past couple weeks and she didn't want to talk. We asked if we could pray for her and she said yes. As I prayed on her doorstep, I felt so much love for her. We gave her a pamphlet for the Plan of Salvation and we testified of the peace that comes from knowing God's plan for us. I felt like I should give her a hug, so I asked if she would be okay with that. She was slightly hesitant at first, because she wasn't fully dressed, but then she said yes. As I stood there and hugged her, I knew that I was literally standing in the Savior's place, doing what He would do. I couldn't make everything better with just a hug, but for that moment, she knew that she was loved and was not alone.
I will try to make this a weekly thing, but no guarantees. Here are fun things/tender mercies that happened each day of the past week.
Monday- Our investigator Jarek, who won't be able to make his baptismal date of October 8, understood the importance of the priesthood and what he needs to do to be ready for baptism. Since that is something not a lot of people here in the South grasp easily, it was amazing to have an investigator who does!
Tuesday- The member we brought with us to our first lesson connected really well with our investigator and helped her understand what we taught!! I love having members with us!
Wednesday- RAINSTORM!! I love the rainstorms here, they are so much fun!
Thursday- Someone we tracted into said "I'm kind of interested but I don't know why" (We know why: the Spirit :) ) Also, one of our investigators is now living the law of chastity and on track for baptism!
Friday- I experienced a knock-knock joke in real life. We went tracting and one person had their screen door closed but their solid door open. Sister Burkholder said "knock knock" to get the persons attention. The man inside said "who's there?" and we told him it was the missionaries. He said "who?" It was the funniest thing!
Saturday- General Conference!!
Sunday- General Conference pt 2!!! Also, between sessions we went through the phone and called people we didn't know (which is still pretty much everyone). Someone somewhere was playing bagpipes and I could hear it. Totally made the bug bites worth it :)
A few weeks ago was the Primary Program and they sang a song that perfectly describes what I love most about General Conference.
"I hear a living prophet speak the things that Christ would say
If He were here upon the earth to talk with me today,
The prophet teaches how to live in righteousness and peace,
And if I listen with my heart I hear the Savior’s voice."
When we listen to the prophet, apostles, or any other divinely called church leader, the Holy Ghost is able to speak to us individually. Each person who listens to the prophet will have a different thought come to mind. Those thoughts are personal revelation, direct communication from a loving Heavenly Father for your specific needs.
There were a couple insights I had from Conference that I wanted to share with y'all. The first came from President Uchtdorf's talk on Saturday morning. At the beginning of his talk, he spoke about the importance of keeping our sense of awe and wonder. He used the analogy of technology, saying that we have come to take our incredible technology for granted and become frustrated when information is not instantly available. He then applied that to the gospel, saying we can sometimes forget the incredible miracles of this restored gospel. That is something that I have thought about before on my mission, how easy it is to take for granted the incredible things we experience every day. As missionaries, we teach the message of the Restoration hundreds of times. I noticed that it is very easy to get into a rut when we teach, but when I stop to think about what I am sharing, it is the most incredible news I could give anyone! Every day I have the opportunity to tell people that God loves them, that their family can be together forever, and that Christ's true church is on the Earth again, never to be taken away. How incredible is that?!?! I see miracles every single day and sometimes I think that those miracles are just a normal part of life. They are, but that doesn't mean I should stop seeing them as miracles. Take some time today, tomorrow, in the next week, and every day to notice the many small ways the Lord has blessed you. I promise that when you start paying attention to them, you will realize just how many miracles happen in your life on a daily basis.
The greatest miracle of all is of course the gift of the Atonement. The second thing I wanted to share with y'all that I learned from Conference came from Brian K. Ashton's talk on Sundayafternoon. In teaching of the Gospel of Christ, he spoke of the Atonement. I'm not sure if this is an exact quote or just the words that stuck out to me, but he said something about how Christ's scars signified the completion of the Atonement. As I thought about the scars the Savior bears, I thought about the time between His death and resurrection. When Christ appeared to his apostles in Jerusalem, and later his disciples in the Americas, He showed them the scars in His hands and feet to testify of His reality. I realized that the wounds left by nails through His hands, in only 3 days time, would not have turned into scars unless He himself chose for that to happen. In a normal person, wounds that deep would be barely scabbing over in 3 days. However, the resurrected Christ bore scars to signify His suffering for us. He chose to be scarred. As the Son of God, He had the power to heal His body and take up His life again. He did not need to keep the scars that came with His death, but He loved each of us enough to carry an eternal reminder of what He did for us. His scars are what allow ours to be erased. His eternal wounds serve as a constant reminder that all of our hurt can be taken from us.