Charity: OUR Love of Christ

Michael and elder Asplund July 2016a

Elder McConkie and Elder Asplund (2nd companion in NY).

     This last week was pretty good! To start off, we met 5-6-7!!! This is our mission wide goal for the year. It’s 500,000 seeds planted (a seed is a minimum of mentioning the church to someone), 60,000 lessons taught, and 7,000 referrals contacted. In order for this to happen, each companionship needs to plant 105 seeds a week (15 seeds a day, which with as busy as our days can be, this can be a challenge for those who have a driving area), teach 12 lessons a week, and contact 2 referrals a week. Of course, we don’t use these numbers as a cap, but rather as a minimum. 🙂

     On Tuesday, we went to a local pizza place where one of our investigators works. He has been too busy to meet with us (working 18-20 hours a day, only Mondays off which he uses for shopping, etc.). So we visit him at work, buy a slice of pizza, and talk for a bit. However, this was not to be an ordinary visit, oh no. This is the HAMPTONS – crazy stuff “Hamptons” all the time! (<— get it? Replaced “happens” with “Hamptons”? I’m a genius.)

     On our way out, I turned and started a conversation with this super buff black guy that was enjoying his slice of pizza. We started talking about his career as a personal trainer, his son, where he grew up, and the whole works. It turned to how he admired what we do, how he should be more religious, and how he mentioned he wants more direction. I pulled out a Book of Mormon and said “We have a gift for you” and gave it to him. We talked about it for a while, discussed what we do, and exchanged contact information. He said that he would love to meet with us, though it would have to be Tuesday at 10:30 in the morning (#tomorrow), because that’s his time off. As Preach My Gospel would say, “Teach when you find, find when you teach!”

     This last Friday we had Zone Training Meeting. We had two local members who work for as professional door-to-door salesman gave a little workshop. They shared a whole lot that will definitely make our knocking better! Elder Asplund and I are working on a plan to apply it to our door approaches.

     A few of the missionaries were hesitant, which is understandable. However, these two members shared that these pointers they were giving are tools in our hands to be used at the direction of the Spirit. The main friction which some of the missionaries had with what the two local members were teaching us came from recalling the first part of Doctrine and Covenants 84:85, when the Lord says, “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say…” They didn’t feel like we would be showing trust in the Lord if we knocked on doors with pre-prepared things to say for those first critical moments.

     One of the salesmen explained that by preparing we would be better able to listen for the Spirit. Yes, the Lord has promised us to give it in the very moment we need it, however if we continue reading  D&C 84:85 it instructs,

“…but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.”

My mind then turns to Doctrine and Covenants 11:21:

“Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word,
yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.”

And also, Doctrine and Covenants 58:26-27:

“For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;”

A couple months ago, I had a discussion with Elder Martino about the divine importance of a plan of preparation. We see this in the second lesson we teach: The Plan of Salvation. God Himself has given us a plan. Wilford Woodruff or John Taylor (I can’t remember which) learned the importance of preparing when twice in a row they stood at a pulpit to give a talk they hadn’t prepared for and both times they recounted that neither talk were inspired.

     That’s not to say the Lord will not inspire us in a moment with what to say, completely changing a prepared talk or lesson or even door approach. What it does say is that in order for this to happen, we need to continually “treasure up in [our] minds…the words of eternal life” and remember that “it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things…” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:26).

    So we have been teaching this guy named *Ohad. He’s from Jamaica, probably about 28 or 30. Maybe 29.5. Plus or minus a day or two. 😉 Anyways, he is awesome! He is enthusiastic about the gospel and anxious to discuss truth. He, also, has no ‘bubble.’ As I’ve experienced so far, Jamaicans are so friendly – they’ll grab your hand and hold it for a moment to make a point. They’ll touch your heart when they are sharing a special experience. They’ll give you great big hugs when they see you. Well, Ohad is very Jamaican. This last time, he took my by the arm, and had me stand in place, holding a candle with his hands around mine, explaining his point on God’s blessings. Quite frankly, I’ve learned to be alright with it, but Elder Asplund nearly burst out laughing and it was all I could do to contain myself. Boy, Omar is such a great guy! We love teaching him. We’re hoping to see him at church this Sunday and he says he will begin to read The Book of Mormon.

Finally, *Paul and *Linda. Yes. I LOVE THESE TWO SO MUCH!! We saw them last night and had the BEST BBQ. It was so good!! We talked about all things they’d been up to, their childhoods, and all that. When it came time for the lesson, Elder Asplund and I had decided we wanted to do a “Bible Study” style lesson, since they enjoyed going to those. Paul and Linda have struggled to come to the realization of what it means when we say this is God’s church, so we decided to teach attributes of Christ’s church when it was organized in the Bible. We found scriptures – mostly from the New Testament – that discussed Church Organization (i.e. prophets, apostles, seventies, priests), authority from God, no paid clergy, and temples. At the end, we invited them to seriously consider baptism. Very cleverly, Paul made the observation that our church and their church were very similar, to which we agreed and we reviewed that much of what makes us different were those things we had discussed tonight. They agreed to read the Book of Mormon this week and pray to receive an answer if this church is true. I know that they would benefit so greatly from the blessings of the temple! To know that the House of the Lord is on the earth and is open to His people is the greatest blessing!      

     In our mission vision, we state that “Baptism is the gate, the temple is the goal”, as it should continue to be each of our goals.

     God is good. He loves us. This past week I have done a study of Charity and it has opened my eyes to things I never realized. One in particular has stuck with me. Charity is the “pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47). I’ve always viewed “love of Christ” as a noun – Christ’s love. This made charity a but more abstract to me. When we’re told that it is long suffering, vaunteth not itself, and such, it can be hard to see the full connection. However, as I saw it as OUR love of Christ, my perspective has been changed. I could go on and on from there, as I’ve been pondering this each morning for much of my personal study.

 

Sincerely,
Elder McConkie

 

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