So housekeeping first. The work this week:
Our week was really great! We had an exchange, Sister Nuttall came up here to Port McNeill. It was a really neat experience for me, because I took over the area. It was really confidence building for me, but also very humbling at the same time. I realized that I am able to take control of the area, and know what to do and how to be a missionary, but it also taught me that you NEVER fully know how to be a missionary. You are continuously learning and growing. I really enjoyed our experience!
We taught 3 member presents in the time that we were on the exchange (2 days)! We taught Barb, who is progressing very well. We watched The Testaments with her, and she really REALLY enjoyed it. She had been having trouble connecting with the Book of Mormon, as God’s Word. She read it as a story, but watching the movie really helped her to connect with it as a Testament of Jesus Christ. She cried through basically the whole thing. Then we invited her to come to church. She said “In the past, I would have said ‘Don’t hold your breath…’ but now I’m going to say…. MAYBE… maybe hold your breath…” We really hoped that she would have the courage to come to church, but sadly she wasn’t there. So this week we are going to focus on the importance of church attendance, and how we can access the Atonement through baptism and taking the Sacrament. She also told us that her husband is softening ever so slightly towards the Church and her interest in it. So that’s a huge step in the right direction!
We also taught Betty Lou. Last week she really talked a lot about original sin and how we are all doomed because of Adam. So this week we taught part of Lesson 2, Pre-earth through Our Life on Earth, with a big focus on agency and the Fall. She seemed to take it well, and she had no questions at the time, but then when we talked to her the next day, she expressed some concern that she doesn’t believe that we existed before this life, and she had a really hard time with that, and she is STILL questioning the validity of the Apostasy. I asked her very bluntly, “Betty Lou, have you prayed about this specifically?” And she said no, she hadn’t. So I said, “Betty, no one can know of spiritual truths without prayer. And to get that specific answer you want, you need to pray specifically for that question. Will you pray to know about the Apostasy and the pre-earth life tonight?” She said she would, so we will be following up with her on that this week. She also was not at church this week, which was very frustrating. Her date is set for November 10th, and we really believe that if she prays and gets her answers, she can absolutely make it. It’s all up to her.
We also taught Mandy McPherson! We watched Finding Faith in Christ with her, because her teaching record expressed that she wasn’t really sure about WHY we need Jesus Christ. She said she believes He is the Son of God, and the Savior, but she doesn’t really understand what that means exactly. So that was the main focus of our lesson with her. It was really good! We had dropped by a few nights before, in the POURING rain, right before we headed home for the night. We just felt we needed to drop by her. When she came to the door she was rubbing her eyes and we thought we had woken her up. Then at our lesson this week, she said that she wasn’t asleep, but that she was crying. She said that she felt alone, and abandoned by all her friends who claimed to care about her. She said she had been feeling totally invisible. Then we dropped by. She said that was a HUGE thing for her. I bore testimony then that she is NEVER invisible to Heavenly Father and that it was because He guided us to her house that night that we dropped by. We helped her to see that He is aware of her and knows her personally. I think it was really a great lesson!
We also taught the Wedels. We taught them about temples, eternal marriage, and family history work. It was kind of all over the place, because they had SO many questions. We tried to keep it focused on the temple questions though, and we wrote down the other ones and said we would address them next time. Then yesterday in church, we watched “Between Heaven and Earth” with them, and it answered all the remaining questions they had had about temples. The main ones were, “what is the next step in preparing for the temple?” “Is there some kind of class I can take to get me ready?” etc. They REALLY are excited. They are planning to make a “pilgrimage” to Salt Lake next April for Conference, and so they can see Temple Square and show it to their boys, and all that. I think they are really coming along! Such a neat family!
We also taught Matt the law of tithing, the word of wisdom, and the law of chastity, just kind of as a review/see how he’s doing. He is solid on all of them, and he is just such a great member!
This week in my personal study, I studied Jesus the Christ a lot. It REALLY has helped me understand just how much we need the Savior. How central He TRULY is to the work. I have gained a much stronger testimony of Him this week, and a much deeper love and appreciation for Him.
Every week, President Tilleman sends out these amazing emails, and I want to share something he quoted in last weeks.
“Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, ‘Why is it so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy, because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation was never easy! This is the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moment in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I am not talking about anything near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe missionaries AND investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor conversion is, nor retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our souls.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry ‘Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let is pass’ (see Mark 14:36), then little wonder salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us.
If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.” – Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (quoted in Pres Tillemans email)
That really hit me hard. This is not supposed to be an easy work. At times, I really feel like what I’m doing is useless, that no one is listening. Then I stop and look at the people that ARE listening, and the seeds that I am planting. And I feel so much better. Missionary work is a work of miracles. Without the hand of the Lord, none of this would be possible.
Boss and I were reading in the stake handbook this morning, about the different callings. The ONLY calling in the entire church that needs the approval of the President himself, is that of a missionary. Not even bishops need that approval. Missionaries are the ONLY calling that have to be approved by the Prophet. Pretty heavy stuff, eh? I thought so. It makes me take my calling much more seriously.
I’m loving your letters!!! Keep them coming!!! LARSEN FAMILY! It was so great to hear from you all!! Sister BRONSON!!!! Girl I’m so proud of you!!! You’re amazing!! Let me know where you get called!! Sister Stones, shout out to you! My mom sent me some prints of pics we took at the mtc. I love you! you are amazing.
I love you all!!! Have an amazing week!
Love Sister Arbon