There we sat “casually” waiting to receive the Skype call. When suddenly a cheer went up as we notice the status change on his account go from “away” to “online!” And only seconds later the sound of the Skype ring had never sounded so beautiful!
Our visit with Elder McConkie was so amazing. He is healthy and strong because he is very happy and very engaged in doing the Lord’s work. And while we miss him, we are so grateful he is called to serve and doing it with all of his might, mind, and strength. His joyful heart is such a blessing to us!
To start off, it was so great to talk to y’all over Skype yesterday! There is so much change that I am growing accustomed to and a lot of change I am making to myself, that sometimes it has become difficult to have my own personality. It really helped talking with you all yesterday – it helped bring it all together. 🙂 I sure love you all!
On that note, one thing I have focused on this week is change. Preach My Gospel says “To come to the Savior they must have faith in Him unto repentance–making the necessary changes to bring their life into agreement with His teachings.” Repentance leads to a mighty change of heart. Therefore, when we repent, we change.
To many, I’m sure this is something that is elementary. However, the more I seek to come closer to Christ, the more I see that repentance is more than confessing, asking forgiveness, making amends, and never doing it again. Repentance means change. It says of the people of Lamoni “that their hearts had been changed; that they had no more desire to do evil” (Alma 19:33).
Where ever repentance is mentioned in the scriptures, the word “change” can be substituted in its place and the meaning remains the same. Repentance has taken on a whole new meaning since I have started doing this, because when we recognize that when Christ asks us to “repent and come unto him” (1 Nephi 10:18), he is asking more than just asking for us to ask for forgiveness of our sins, he is pleading with us when he says “be even as I am, and I am even as the Father” (3 Nephi 28:10) – he wants us to change and convert ourselves to be like unto him, even as he is as the Father.
The message of repentance that we share as missionaries is just as much for me as it is for those that we share it with, for until I am even as Christ is, I have plenty of change. I hope that all makes sense, this is the first time I’ve put this whole thought together into one complete idea. 🙂
While Elder McConkie is enjoying good health, missionaries get sick too. But that doesn’t deter the work 😀
There is not a whole ton that happened this past week. Our Zone Leaders (they are the other set of elders in our district) had the stomach flu bad for two days. Actually, interesting story. They were on exchanges with another set of Elders and were knocking doors. One of the Zone Leaders – was half way through the first lesson when all of the sudden he turned and leaned over the railing on the side of the porch and threw up. The elders that were with him took the pamphlet from his hands and continued where he had left off, not even missing a beat! Haha! For the next two days, though, they two zone leaders were bedridden.
Besides this, our week has been full of the usual: lessons, seed planting, and service. 🙂
Sunday really was the best day this past week, and not just because of skyping. 🙂 First, we made cookie brownies for several of the women in our ward (including our sisters) and wrote notes that told them how grateful we were for them and wished them a Happy Mothers Day (or a Happy Sisters Day :P). We delivered these throughout the day.
Next, remember that family I talked about where the dad and his bad habits were driving his family apart? Well, we got him to come to church!!! AND when sacrament meeting was over, I pulled him aside and told him the men in the branch were setting up tables and food (catered by a professional Italian Chef who is a member of our branch) for the women during the last hour. I said that we could really use the extra help. He readily agreed and was so determined to help that even when BOTH his kids tried to convince him that they should go home that he sat them down and told them that they were staying. YIPPEE!!!!
So at 12:30, we set up the whole thing, we called the women in from Relief Society, and surprised them. Then, we went to Elders Quorum and he followed us right in! Elder Johnson gave an impromptu lesson based around the Mormon Message “Reclaimed” and he was very attentive. Just yes. The spirit was strong (not to mention the Lord helped us teach a lesson we had no idea we were going to need to teach – we were so grateful!).
After church, we went to the a members house, an older couple we are helping to become sealed in the temple as a couple (she’s a recent convert and he has been a less active his whole life). They’d been having trouble with the communication between all of their electronics (tvs, digital devices, sound system, etc). It took me around 30 minutes, but it was a super fun “puzzle” to solve. 😀
That night we were finishing up the night with knocking when I got the strongest impression that we needed to go back to the Village and talk to the people around the stores in that area. We talked to a couple kids, during which a lady came around the corner with her dog. I wished her a Happy Mothers Day and started talking to her while Elder Johnson continued talking to the two teenagers. It soon came out that her two sons were 18 and 25, autistic, and still living at home.
At one point I said that because of the nature of what we do, we get to meet a lot of people and we get s good feel for who they are. I then shared sincerely what I had felt from our short interaction – how wonderful of a mom she is to her sons. She thanked us even as she began to tear up. I felt very strongly that in order for our message to be shared with this family, we needed to ask to meet the sons (and I really wanted to meet them anyways :)), so I asked and she said she had been a thinking the same thing. She said we could go out for tea and coffee and we said that hot chocolate would be great. 🙂 Before we parted ways we got her address and as it turns out, she lives just around the corner from us. 🙂 God is good. 🙂
I am so grateful to be out here in the Hamptons. We are here to share how much God loves us and because He loves us so much, His message will bless the families He has given us, His word is taught clear and plainly (2 Nephi 31:2-3) through prophets, we have been saved from death and we can find peace and comfort and strength through Christ’s Atonement, He has restored His truth to the earth, a truth that had been destroyed by His children centuries earlier, and given a book that is prepared for us! How merciful He is to us!
The work is not easy, but it is real. What we teach is not a different denomination or a different sect or even a different idea – it is life. We share why we are here, how we are, what we are to do, where we are going – answers that bless all those that hear and follow. I am so grateful for it all.
I love you all! Have a great week!