Elder McConkie is doing well. He has had a variety of encounters with people of many faiths or no faith. Through work, daily exercise, eating healthy, study and striving to learn every day the Lord is truly blessing him. In his words, “This past week was been both incredibly hard and incredibly rewarding.”
We had District meeting this week. We talked about our District Goals to plant seeds, teach lessons, and meet the key indicators and such. We all had areas we could improve on.
After we reported, Elder Sirrine gave an amazing workshop on being a well-rounded missionary. He really drove home the points that:
- We need to follow the rules,
- We need to have faith in our planning and what we aim to do during the day, and
- What matters is that we try. If we do this, then we will begin to see miracles in our area.
“After an entire day of trying to dedicate myself to God completely, I was blessed with an incredible opportunity.”
14 April 2016
Today was a very special day for me. This morning I read something called the Ricardia Letter. It’s a record of the experiences of a missionary who was trained by someone named Elder Ricardia. It contains so many lessons, but the biggest lessons that spoke to me were: 1) don’t fear any man and 2) we are here to harvest the white field, not convince those that have absolutely no interest. So, today I decided to stuff my pride and to not fear any man.
After an entire day of trying to dedicate myself to God completely, I was blessed with an incredible opportunity. We knocked on this man’s door. When he came to the door, he knew who we were as LDS Missionaries. He proceeded to tell us all the things wrong with the way we worshipped and our religion.
What came to my mind was an experience in the Ricardia letter that was similar to this situation: Two priests were bashing on him and in the end he bore a powerful testimony. So, I waited for him to finish and then, I proceeded to bear testimony of the truth. I asked him how he felt about prayer and if he felt that God answers us through the Holy Spirit. He said yes. I, then, proceeded to bear witness of my testimony I’d received, through the Holy Ghost, of The Book of Mormon. I said that I didn’t know the Bible as well as I wish I did – after all I’m only 19 – but I testified that I do know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is a true book.
When he raised the concern that we value The Book of Mormon over the Bible because we called ourselves Mormons, we explained that Mormon was a name given to us by the world and that our real nickname is LDS. We explained that we use The Book of Mormon in unison with the Bible. I even quoted the 8th Article of Faith that says that “we believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. We also believe The Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”
Instead of Bible Bashing with this gentleman – who obviously would have run circles around us – the Spirit directed the words I said to testifying of truth with great power. The Spirit was palpable. I watched as his blinking got faster and it became obvious that each time I that I did as the Spirit directed and answered with testimony, boldness, plain and simple truth, and love that he felt the Spirit. We finally gave him one of our cards with our number, asked him to read The Book of Mormon and pray about it, and parted ways.
Truly, God was teaching this man, not me —for, I would have had no idea what to do to convince. Rather, the Spirit worked through me because of my hard work and dedication today. I am beyond grateful for God’s faith in me; this is one of the strongest spiritual experiences I have ever had my entire life. What comes to mind is the promise in my setting apart blessing that says that ‘I will testify with boldness and with power and those I testify to will feel the Spirit’ – I am so excited to see my mission come in line with what the Lord has promised! I am grateful to be out here and tomorrow I am going to dedicate myself again.
Let tomorrow worry about tomorrow, let yesterday be lessons but not my focus. My focus is thrusting in my sickle, for the field is white and already to harvest.
“Elder Johnson and I continue to see miracles every day.”
15 April 2016
Elder Johnson and I continue to see miracles every day. Tonight we taught a woman whose door we knocked on last week. Her name is *Beverly. She is an older lady who was sick when we first met her so we scheduled to meet with her today. When we came by at the scheduled time, she wasn’t there. Her husband told us to come back later. So we did. Happily, she was back. We sat down with her and taught her the Restoration.
During our lesson, she told us that she had read the two pamphlets we had left with her: The Restoration and The Plan of Salvation. We shared our message and she was COMPLETELY open. In fact, when we said that God had sent us to her, she said “I know.” She explained that normally she doesn’t pray for herself. However, last week she had been feeling especially sick and prayed to God for some real help. Just a few minutes later we knocked on her door. She explained that she knew we were an answer to her prayers. As it turns out, immediately after we left she read the pamphlets.
We taught the first lesson in its entirety and even answered her question about how to tell real prophets from false prophets. She told us she wants to come to our church (she can’t come this Sunday because she works, but she wants to come next Sunday). She said she would start reading The Book of Mormon as soon as we left, and she said she would pray to know if it was true. Before we even had a chance to say we wanted to meet with her again, she said that we needed to come back and she told us when we could. She even said that she needs to learn first so she can share it with her family.
She is incredible. I pray that Elder Johnson and I will be worthy enough of the Spirit and listen and follow His guidance to help Beverly be baptized and then go through the temple. –Oh yeah, she also accepted to be baptized if what we are teaching her is true. She’s so close to God, and it’s very evident after you listen to some life experiences.
Tonight we got to talk for about half an hour to a Pastor from New Mexico and her friend who was visiting her. The Pastor was in an accident when she was younger, her husband was killed, she was blind, in a wheel chair, died three times, and the miracle is that you would never have guessed that any of those things happened. God was really looking out for her. We were able to get to know them pretty well, share some of our message–considering one was a Pastor, we brought up the Plan of Salvation when she told us that she helped comfort people as they passed away and we explained that we used the Plan to help people feel comfort.
In the end, her friend took our card and said she wanted to call us. Hopefully she does. 🙂
“It was so great!”
16 April 2016
Elder Johnson and I got to teach a lesson in SPANISH!!!!! It was so great!! It was a little rough, but thank goodness for hand gestures! Also, when I couldn’t remember how to say something, one of the Hispanics there knew a little English and could help us out a bit. I really, really enjoyed it. For the most part, I knew what they were saying and they understood us (although I’m sure I’m SUCH a gringo :P).
All of the men that we taught are trying to earn money to bring their families over from Spain and such. They are such amazing men!!
“Life is good.”
17 April 2016
Soooo, I gave a talk in church today. President McGuire (our Branch President) asked me to pick a talk from Conference to use for my talk. I picked President Eyring’s talk “Where Two or Three Are Gathered“. My purpose of this talk was to focus on the importance of Church attendance and the gospel in the family. We’ve run into so many people that don’t feel they need anything more besides an occasional bible read and church a couple times a year, so this has been something on my mind.
I feel like it went alright, though I wish I had prepared more. I had many of the points I wanted to touch on with scriptures and stories and I’m am grateful for the guidance that the Spirit gave as I didn’t follow the points in any particular order; I just hope that the Spirit testified of truth and communicated the message I was attempting to give to everyone’s hearts. Afterwards, the comment I was most grateful for was when one of the older men told me that I didn’t sound like a greenie (greeny?). 🙂
Actually, I was humbled before my talk because I embarrassed myself a bit. I forgot about the hymn the congregation was going to sing before I gave my talk, so I almost got to the pulpit when the Branch President said “The Congregational Hymn, remember?” So, I nodded and sat down in the front. Then, I remembered I was the pianist. So, I got up and walked over to the piano. When I sat down at the piano, one of the sisters leaned over to her companion and whispered “He’s nervous.” Yep. And I, then, turned really red. Oh well. *Face palm* Life is good.
“God is good.”
I am grateful for Elder Johnson. His boldness is teaching me how to be a better missionary. I am not used to pushing people so hard when I’m trying to teach them something. In many situations, it becomes apparent that the other person is getting pretty annoyed, but he doesn’t let up until there is absolutely no hope for them to accept a later appointment. Surprisingly, his persistence has paid off more than I would have imagined.
There are so many amazing people out here and I hope that I can be the tool and servant that God needs me to be to gather his people.
I hope life is good for everyone! Serving day in and day out is quite exhausting, but good work. It’s very humbling, so sometimes it can be tough to keep your spirits up, but God is good and he always knows what I need for a little pick me up. Have a great week everyone!