January 20, 2014
Thanks for your e-mails. We are able to e-mail from the Family History Center today which is a huge blessing because the libraries are closed here as well. I am getting quite accustomed to the Family History Center because we have had some huge success with the family history approach! It definitely softens people’s hearts and allows the spirit of temple work to touch them in a way that prepares for the restoration to be taught. We feel very blessed with that and we have a few appointments with people to do family history with them this week so I hope it goes well.
We have experienced some huge miracles. It all started with going on exchanges earlier this week. I got to go back to MSU and it was really amazing! Sister Gonzales and I worked with Sister Richardson and I learned so much from her, namely about faith. Sister Richardson showed me a talk by Elder Bednar that has seriously CHANGED MY LIFE and the way I think about faith! http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ces-devotionals/2013/01/that-we-might-not-shrink-d-c-19-18?lang=eng
True faith is accepting the will of the Lord, no matter what happens. Sometimes I get in the mindset that if I have enough faith, miracle after miracle will happen. When those huge miracles don't happen, I doubt my faith and often think "If only I had enough faith, this and this would have happened." Sister Richardson taught me there is so much more to faith. In this talk, Elder Bednar speaks of how he was going to give someone a blessing of healing and comfort. Usually I think "Do I have enough faith to be healed?" But here is an excerpt of the talk that really taught me a ton: "[Elder Bednar] then posed questions I had not planned to ask and had never previously considered: ‘[John,] do you have the faith not to be healed? If it is the will of our Heavenly Father that you are transferred by death in your youth to the spirit world to continue your ministry, do you have the faith to submit to His will and not be healed?’”
I learned that true faith is saying "Will I still have faith God is there even if I don't receive the blessings I have asked for? Will I still have faith in God's plan for me?" It really has changed my outlook and has helped me to learn how to really, fully trust in what God has in store for me. I am still working on my faith, and I know faith does produce miracles, but this new and abiding sense of trust has helped me so much with the work. This kind of faith makes me think of Alma and Amulek in Alma 14. They had the deepest faith as they had to watch the women and children and scriptures in the fire. They could have prevented it with their power from God, but they knew the most important kind of faith is to trust in God's plan.
Here are a few miracles this week:
I don't remember if I told you about meeting Rita at the library. I think I did. But anyway, Rita came to church this last week! It was really amazing. Our bishop got up and started off by saying "I don't know if all of you know this, but the clergy of this church do not get paid. We serve God without getting money in return. We have other jobs, but we serve the members of this church to serve God." Rita told us afterwards she has been looking for a church where the clergy do their jobs for free. How cool!!! We know that Rita was led to us at the library and that Bishop Bartlett was inspired. It was really awesome. The other talk in sacrament meeting was about the temple, and Rita told us she feels that is where she needs to go to work out some difficulties in her life right now. We told her we can prepare her to go there and she is really excited to learn more about the gospel! We are really excited and so blessed!
Brother Fowler gave a talk on Sunday and invited some of his friends to come and listen. One of them is a man named Kevin and his wife,Yolanda. They are both from China, and Kevin has met with missionaries before. He had a baptismal date, but then he unexpectedly had to go to China and the missionary discussions discontinued. We got to talk to him and his wife after sacrament meeting and they are interested in learning more! What a huge blessing that is and it definitely shows the power of member missionary work!
Last, a lady in our ward called us this week with a referral for her neighbor, Debi. Debi has been going through some hard times recently and is really open to having us come and teach more about the gospel and help her sort things out. We are going over later this week and I am just overwhelmed by how many people are being prepared and how many blessings we have been almost bombarded with. The Lord truly is in this work!!
Our companionship is doing well. We love each other, we love the work, and we love the Lord. It makes for a pretty good time! I love you all and you are in my thoughts and prayers!