Dad, I am so excited that you are doing family history! I will send you some stuff that I printed out a while ago with some names on it. We get an hour of time on the computer every dayif we want and I used my media time for family history before I knew that missionaries aren't really supposed to do their own family history while they are missionaries. But I'll send you some stuff I found and hopefully it helps! I'm stoked to do family history and temple work with you when I get home! I had this really interesting experience when we were teaching the W's kids the plan of Salvation - I felt like there were more people in the room than just us and the family. President has said that as we are teaching the lessons to people here, some of our ancestors might be there with us, learning the gospel from us, so that they will be prepared to receive ordinances when we are done. Kind of a cool thought, eh? So yeah, I feel like that was true when I was teaching the W's - I don't know who was there, but I feel like some one or some people were and it was really cool.
K, here's some excerpts from my Presidents letter that I wanted to share with you.
"Is your testimony growing and are you becoming converted to the Lord?
Yeah, I think so. Interesting experience - we were biking down one of the main roads in denham springs and stopped at a stop light. A man pulled up in his truck, rolled down his window, and said, are yall mormon missionaries? And we said that we we are, and he asked if he could talk with us for a minute. So we pulled into a gas station parking lot, and he got out of his truck and basically started telling us that he is being excommunicated soon. At first I was excited to help this man come back, but as he told more of his story and began telling us all the evidence against/lack of evidence of the Book of Mormon and how it brings people to Joseph Smith instead of Jesus Christ, I just felt this strength poured into me. I felt like i was facing Korihor, someone who had been possessed with a lying spirit. We asked him if he'd actually read the Book of Mormon, and he said that he had 16 times, and felt the same every time - that it was a good book but that it was the work of man and that it brought people to Jospeh Smith instead of Jesus Christ. I felt like Alma and kind of wanted to say, "If you have read the scriptures than you do not understand them, for they truly testify of Christ." Basically, me and Sister Alvine both testified that we know that every morning as we read the Book of Mormon, we feel the Spirit and we KNOW that it is of God. We thanked him for his time and rode away, while he was still calling after us that he was worried about our salvation. President, thank you for challenging us to read the Book of Mormon in 60 days. Just that morning, I had read a big chunk because I am trying to finish by Wednesday, and I had read 3 Nephi 11-Mormon 1. And I know that was I read were the words of the Savior. And that as I read, I was filled with a sincere desire to be better, and to become who the Savior would have me become. Your challenge fortified me in advance for an attack that heavenly Father knew was coming. I think if I had faced that guy at the beginning of my mission, it would've taken me a few days to recover from that. But I feel strong and happy in the gospel this morning, and ready to go out and share the Book of Mormon with more people than ever. I know this is God's work, and I know it with more force than ever before. So yes, I think my testimony is growing and my conversion is deepening.
Are you striving to be obedient?
Yes! I hace decided to go through the white handbook and write down all the things that I've gotten a little complacent on (I just started with the first 25 pages) and I know we will see miracles as we strive to be more obedient. Plus, I told President Tolbert about my challenge for myself and we will be following up on Saturday. Next week I'll go through the next 20 pages or so and try to purify my life. I've gotten a little lazy, and it's time to step up my game. I want the Spirit to be with me in my teaching, and to have that, I need to be more obedient.
No matter what, I'm trying to be a good example, and working on my own flaws because I know I have a lot.
Report on Book of Mormon Study-what have you learned this week?
So I read the account of when Jesus visited the Nephites, and I just loved it. It filled me with the Spirit and with a desire to be better. Also, I noticed some interesting things as I've been reading quickly this last week-
-In the books of Alma and Helaman, it mentions over and over how the church leaders have to go out and "make a regulation in the church" and this is said as least three times that I remember. It reminded me that we need to constantly need to be making a regulation in our lives, never getting complacent, alwasy striving to drive our error and embrace righteousness.
-Mormon, although he lived in a super wicked time, was able to "taste and know of the goodness of Jesus." How did he do this? How did he raise such a righteous son in such a wicked world? I think it was because he was surrounded by the words of God. A good chunk of his life was spent reading, compiling, and apridging the words of the prophets, and when you are that immersed in the word of God, it's hard to go wrong. And the cool thing is that he wasn't compiling the record for himself or anyone that he knew. It would be for a people he would never see, meet, or live among. And yet he did it anyway. Am I willing to work as hard as Mormon did without seeing the fruits of my labors, relying on my faith that this is what God has asked me to do?
Are your investigators reading the Book of Mormon/If needed are you reading it with them?
Some are, and some are not. We are really trying to get our less actives back into the Book of Mormon because we've felt that that is something that will really build back their faith in the gospel. Just last night we asked F and S to start reading the Book of Mormon again, and they said they would. I am excited to go back next week and see how it went for them. If they haven't read, 1 Nephi 1 or the Introduction to the Book of Mormon will be what we read with them."
So yeah, I feel like as a missionary, your two biggest enemies, both the enemies of yourself and those you teach, are pride and complacency. And I am working to stay committed, keep working hard, and not just work hard but work hard with the Spirit. I realized that we can fill our day with stuff, but if we didn't have the Spirit, then none of it matters. That's why I'm a little obedience - obsessed right now - I NEED the Spirit with me if I am to become a more powerful instrument in the Lord's hands.
Thanks for sending me your talk by the way. I loved it! You did a great job! Thanks for lifting me up and reminding me of the importance of baptism, both for me and for those I teach. It really is a life long commitment that is just as important as the temple covenants. I just love the gospel!
Thanks also for the sports updates! Hopefully the Hawks and recover! It was a sad day for me when people down here were talking about how the Saints beat the Bears. I had to pretend to be excited about it so people would talk to us, but inside I was really quite bummed. Good thing LSU never plays BYU or I don't think I could pretend as well. Let me know how the game is at Camp Randall! That is freakin' awesome that you get to go! Try not freeze!
K Papa Bear, I love your guts! Thanks for being so stinkin awesome! I love you with all my heart! Thanks for everything you are!