Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22, 2011 - Email from Elder Bezas

Ok so I'll try to do better with awesome stories like you requested. Hmm.

So I've decided I'll report to you guys whenever "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again" is sung. It was sung yesterday in Sacrament meeting. Oh. It just fills me up with joy, knowing I'll see y'all in all good time. That is my "mission" hymn. And I decided hymn 259 is my all time fav, along with "Savior, May I Learn to Love Thee."

So the weather here has been crazy. This last transfer has been nuts with rain. So we keep hearing that this has been the hottest summer on  record. And the wettest.. wettest? Is that a word? Oh well. Wettest August on record as well. Well, we just have awesome timing then. Ha. So it's rained just about every Sunday this transfer.

And I've come up with an idea. Looking back on my mission prep, or lack thereof, I realized what I would change. I feel like I had a decent grasp on the scriptures, but in actually teaching the lessons I felt pretty sketched out on that. So looking back, I would have done role plays with you guys, teaching the lessons in Preach My Gospel and listening and asking questions and addressing concerns. I feel like if I had started doing that when I was twelve or so, going into the MTC and the field would be a piece of cake in that aspect, having gotten the hang of that piece. Definitely the most important piece is being in tune with the Spirit. 

In practice, we can try to figure out what will help each person the best, but it's the Spirit that knows perfectly and will tell us what they need. I think that's what I want to do with my kids... Even just for mission prep in life in general. That they can feel prepared in answering peoples' questions when they talk with people throughout the day. Going through school I didn't really know how to respond to missionary situations. So maybe starting out with my kids when they're in primary and making it pretty simple stuff. Making it fun. Just talking about what they believe. I don't know. Something like that. Does that make sense? Hopefully. Maybe you could check this idea out with my sibs and see what they think about it.

So this week we visited a less active member who has trouble getting work off. He spoke about his experience finding the church. He lived in Africa, and in his respective country the church had no real presence. He found a copy of the Book of Mormon in the library and he read it and wanted to learn more, so he wrote Salt Lake and they shipped him a box of materials. Missionaries were sent to that country and the work moved forward. Just amazing to hear stories of people's faith and the efforts they go to in order to learn of the gospel.

So it was truly amazing this week. We met with our investigator who has a baptismal date and she had spoken previously about how she wouldn't ever give up coffee. She has given up a lot of things and she felt that was her one vice. Well, in our previous lesson we brought up the fact that in order for her to be baptized, she'd need to give that up. She felt hesitant to do so. So when we came over to teach the plan of salvation this week, I assumed we would need to address her concern further with that. But when we brought it up, she said simply that she had given it up. Cold turkey! Just amazing. Oh the faith she has. It's amazing to see what people are willing to do, once they truly desire to follow Christ into the waters of baptism. She is one of the people I'm truly grateful I've come on a mission and had the chance to work with. The Spirit was so strong!

We also had another meeting with another investigator we have, who has been meeting with the missionaries since April. We talked about the Word of Wisdom and she has been cutting back on the coffee. We set a baptismal date with her for October! She has that desire to change her life for the better. Truly a great moment!

If I were to be involved with just one individual who chose to follow the example of Christ and be baptized and then continue onward in the faith during the course of my mission, I'd be alright with that. And so when more individuals decide to take the right path, for me it's not a matter of "Yes! Another baptism!" True, I am excited about it. But not from that perspective. This work truly is eternal and this has everlasting significance. It's kinda like Mosiah 28:3. As many people who will accept Christ and follow Him, the better! And I just value the chance I have to work with these people as they make these choices. We can never force anyone, but it's amazing to see the change of heart in people. The true conversion.

One of the best things I'm learning while out here is transitions. And learning to not react to them. To accept change. The change in areas. The change in missions. The change in companions. I've noticed that with each of these I went through emotional time periods. I want to lessen the amount of time it takes me to transition and move on. I feel it's a good lesson for life in general. And also in being positive. In looking for the good in each situation and person. Even when we're getting dumped on with rain while walking, there's good to be seen.

So the last two weeks have just been bad. Not with my companion. It's been awesome. But with the work. It's just been slower. And a LOT of our appointments fall through. Especially the ones where we find members who are willing to come out with us. Oh how frustrating! I just feel stupid when we show up, even after double checking by phone, and people aren't there. Nice. So it's been really disheartening, and the numbers show similarly. It's just been slower. So the two experiences shared earlier helped to contrast that.

And my testimony that we can find people to teach from knocking doors improved this week. I've had a pretty negative attitude about tracting... Still doing it, but not really viewing it as something that can bring about success. But we knocked into a young man who wasn't religious at all but his friend bought him a Bible and he read that within the last year or so and now believes in God. That was a week ago Sunday. Yesterday evening we went over and it was a little sketchy of a beginning. He opened the door with a look on his face like, umm why are you here again? Even though we had set up a return appointment. But anywho, we taught the restoration, and he committed to read. People are being prepared by the Lord. I will choose to be wisely optimistic, like President Eyring spoke about. The way he gained a testimony of God and the Bible can happen again for him with the Book of Mormon.

Alright I love you all and have a great week!
"Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism." -Alma 7:15