This is my current favorite quote (from President Monson's priesthood talk from last general conference I think):
"At times the wisdom of God appears as being foolish or just too difficult, but one of the greatest lessons we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and man obeys, that man will always be right."
A couple weeks ago Sis. Carter and I were studying (our comp studies are PACKED--ah, good stuff!!) and she shared with me this story:
"A young man, just before leaving on his mission, stood in sacrament meeting and bore, in essence, the following testimony. 'My brothers and sisters, as you know, during the past few weeks I have been awaiting my mission call. During the time I was waiting I had a dream I was in the pre-existence and was awaiting my call to come to earth. I was filled with the same excitement and anticipation that I had before I received my mission call. In my dream, I was talking to a friend. He was a very dear friend, and I felt a special closeness to him, even though I've never met him in this life. As we talked, a messenger came and gave me a letter. I knew it was my call to go to earth. In great excitement my friend and I opened the letter. I gave it to him and asked him to read it aloud. The letter said, 'You have been called to earth in a special time and to a special land. You will be born in the true church, and you will have the priesthood of God in your home. You will be raised with many advantages and many blessings. You will be born in a land of plenty--a land of freedom. You will go to earth in the United States of America.' My friend and I rejoiced as we read my call. And while we rejoiced, the messenger returned. This time he had a letter for my friend. We knew it was his call to earth. My friend gave me the letter to read aloud. The letter said, 'You have been called to go to earth in circumstances of poverty and strife. You will not be raised in the true church. Many hardships will attend your life. Your land will be fraught with political and social difficulties which will hinder the word of the Lord. You will be born in Costa Rica.' We wept, my friend and I as we read his call. And my friend looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, 'When we are down on earth, you in your choice land and me in Costa Rica, my friend, come and find me.' Then this young missionary, with tears in his own eyes, said, 'Brothers and sisters, I have received my mission call. I am going to Costa Rica.' There is a special sequel to this story. About a year after this sacrament meeting, the bishop to this ward received a letter from the missionary in Costa Rica. The letter had one sheet of paper in it, and on the sheet was written in inch-high letter four words: I FOUND MY FRIEND."
Oh man...I get chills every time I read that. We cried reading it together. Incredible. The church is true. We each have specific callings on this earth. It is our duty to discover what the Lord's will is for us and to ACCOMPLISH it. It takes practice and it's a skill recognizing his spirit speaking to us, but He is patient with us and teaches us every day. Fulfill your duties!!
We taught a lady this week who has been investigating the church for over a year. A senior couple who works in the mission office miraculously made it to the lesson. It was a miracle that they came, because we had been calling people all day to find a member to come. 45 minutes before the lesson, they called us back and said they could come, so they rushed to our lesson from the office. Elder Bailey asked some pretty bold questions about why she hasn't joined the church after investigating for so long, and she really opened up some concerns she didn't even realize she had. That lesson was truly guided by the spirit, and since then she has felt very at peace. We are still working towards a baptismal date for her, and it is very helpful to be team-teaching with the Assistants and to get their feedback. Sis. Carter and I have faith that things will click for this investigator--we are just relying on a lot of prayer so we can know what her needs are!
We also had a powerful lesson with a young man in his late 20s, where we really had him focus on how he was feeling and we asked him how God has played a role in his life. We want to get to know him as an individual, and it was neat hearing him talk about his experience. We recognized how much faith he has. We have decided to keep our lessons simple with him, because he easily goes off on tangents and starts teaching us at times. We are praying that the Book of Mormon will touch his heart as he continues to read. He can't meet with us this week so we will keep in touch with him daily.
We did a lot of service this week, and I was concerned because I felt that we were taking away from proselyting time. On Saturday we read about Key Indicators in PMG and we were able to evaluate our past week and make goals for next week so we can use our time more wisely. I am really trying to learn how to work by the spirit and not worry so much about if what we are doing is "right" or "wrong." We did some great service, but next week we will be more aware of how much time we are spending on service hours.
This has been a very humbling experience for me, because I still have a lot to learn! I am still totally lost when it comes to knowing where people live--I am so directionless! :) So I am working on being more proactive so that I am more familiar with the area and the responsibilities.
We're also working on not saying "like." Sis. Carter and I call each other out all the time! We're memorizing Alma 37:6-7 which says "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass," and we know that if we work on those small and simple things, even those nit-picky ones, we and others will be blessed!
The other day Sis. Carter said "In church we are trained to be leaders." True dat. Every single member of the church is given callings and responsibilities, so we can all know how to be leaders! Every one of you is an example! You never know who is watching!
This area is very family and community based. Every morning we see parents walking with their kids to school, or a parent jogging with their kid. Anyone else walking outside our apartment is walking at least one dog. I have yet to knock on a door without hearing several dogs barking on the other side.
One of our investigators texted us, "I love my brothers and sisters in the CJCLDS!" Haha, I love the lingo.
We're still working on talking to everyone! It's scary randomly walking up to people or stopping people in their tracks to talk! A lot of times it's awkward and we don't quite to how to start or finish, but practice makes perfect! And we have seen some miracles where people are truly open and interested! God places people in our path, and it's up to us to take those unplanned opportunities. God is so good.
Love you all so so much! The church is true! Missionary work never ends!