Hello! This week has been pretty fantastic! Mostly because (yep you read it right) Elder Holland came to my mission!!!!! All 170 missionaries in the California Long Beach mission gather in Cerritos to hear him speak and it. Was. Awesome. Elder Hallstrom from the Seventy was also there as well as our area authority. I haven't felt the spirit like that maybe ever, definitely not for a long time!
In the meeting we were encouraged to ponder the things we are being taught and to let this experience be a life-changing one; let it affect how the rest of our mission and as our life plays out. I definitely intend to take that counsel to heart! I sincerely hope that the way I do, and think about, missionary work will never be the same; that I will be able to recommit myself, my loyalty, my obedience, my diligence, to the Lord! One of the speakers talked about how marines are completely loyal and that once you're a marine, you're always a marine. WE as missionaries are the same way! ONCE A MISSIONARY, ALWAYS A MISSIONARY! He also spoke of how a marine is 100% LOYAL. We must also be loyal to the Lord, our Mission President, and our companions, in that order. Another piece of insight that hit me was to "leave everything on the field." The reason this had an impact on me was because I have been told that time, and time again on my mission by 2 stake Presidents (including President Weckesser) and now an area authority... I guess I'd better listen, eh? I want so badly to be the missionary I know God sees that I have the potential to become! I pray that I will be able to continue to grow and progress and constantly strive to be strictly and exactly obedient to the standards that have been set for the representatives of Jesus Christ!
Elder Holland spoke to us about our own conversion. He told us that what the General Authorities are really worried about is us! Our testimonies and our progress within the church. I know that as I sacrifice this time, I will be strengthened and blessed to be able to endure well in the gospel after I go home, as long as I allow myself to be changed by the things I experience. We are supposed to be changed by our missions! I am so grateful for the short time I have been given to serve and prepare myself for the things that lay ahead of me.
Elder Holland was also really funny haha. He told us we were apostolic but he corrected himself and said, "Now I don't want you all to write home telling your folks that I've called you to the quorum of the 12 apostles... I'm a capital 'A' apostle, you're a little 'a' apostle!" Also when we were reading a story in the New Testament about Nicodemus coming to Christ and asking him about gospel things and Christ says, you must be born again to see the kingdom of God, and Nicodemus says, what the heck? born again? do I have to go back in my Mother’s womb and be born again like that??? HAHAHA Elder Holland said, and I quote, "THAT IS THE STUPIDEST THING I HAVE EVER READ IN RECORDED SCRIPTURE HISTORY." It was so funny!
Elder Holland did talk about the gap that sometimes occurs in missionary work between the missionary and the investigator, things like; ignorance, sin, pride, misinformation, etc. He instructed us that we have to go to where they are and bring them up! That is how we bridge that gap; not by insisting they come to where we are, but by making the journey with them. We were also instructed to make every single teaching opportunity a strong spiritual experience. A lot of times we think that we just have to fill our day, stay busy. We go into a less-active member's home or even an investigator, we chat, and then share a token scripture or power thought from one of the lessons and leave them with a half-hearted commitment we know we will not follow up on. I know I am guilty of this and I know that without the spirit and without an invitation to commit or in other words to change, or REPENT, no one can progress in their journey back to their Heavenly Father! I am so, so grateful for the time I have had to learn at the feet of an Apostle of the Lord. I know that he is a special witness of Jesus Christ and that he has been called by God, our actual Heavenly Father, and Creator.
The rest of my week was good. We had a lot of people cancel on us, which was frustrating at times, but we know we only have so much control over what happens in this work. All we can do is invite the spirit and invite, invite, invite the people we teach! We were supposed to have about 5 investigators at church this week... they all said they would come, we even offered to get them rides and yet… only one showed after Sacrament meeting and it wasn't even one we were expecting! That's okay though! We are not discouraged! We'll get them next week for sure!
We have also been having a hard time finding members who are willing to teach with us, especially since we don't really have any ward missionaries... so we decided to take it upon ourselves to find members to teach with us! We sent a sign-up sheet around Priesthood, Relief Society and even the Youth and Primary (for the leaders) to see who is available to teach with us! I really do hope we will be able to get more members teaching with us! I know that when members teach alongside missionaries, it strengthens the investigators’ testimonies and creates a fellowship and a bridge between them and the Church that helps immensely with their conversion.
This week we also met with 2 of our investigators, William and Kim, and committed them both to baptism! It brings me an incredible amount of JOY whenever I hear that these children of our Heavenly Father are wanting to come closer Him! Now, it is our responsibility to help them progress toward that goal they have made in faith!
I love you lots!
The church is true!
Sorry, no pics this week! I'm bad.