Pride, humility. Fear, courage. Listening for and heeding the Spirit. Recognition. Gratitude. Joy. Each week brings to our inbox a condensed version of the spiritual lessons Elder McConkie has learned. Often, I ponder what I can do to learn as he is learning and grow as he his growing. The opportunities are there for each of us. My heart and eyes have been reopened to being sure I am seeking to learn and grow.
19 October 2016
This day has been a tough one. Not tough as far as the work goes, but as far as pride goes. I was on exchanges with Elder Corzo and during companionship study, when we were talking over what we studied in personal study, he was talking about obedience and then shared that the atmosphere I had created as District Leader was one of just telling everyone to be obedient, and not helping them have the desire.
During the whole thing, he wasn’t mean or demeaning at all. But boy was it hard to take. I just listened for half an hour. We had fun most of the rest of the day, though I did just listen a lot. And then he was having more success, he was more on top of things, etc. None of this is bad. He is a fantastic missionary. My pride just had a really, really hard time taking it. I’m pretty discouraged right now, but also motivated to be better.
We taught around 6 lessons today, so it was a pretty good day. We were able to talk with the Siddoways. Sure love Sister Siddoway! She is fantastic and sticking strong with the truth. Sister Siddoway has been sharing the Gospel with her friends. It is amazing!
20 October 2016
Elder Johnson and I had a stellar day!
First off, District Meeting was a blessing from the Lord. We started off with a “prepare to learn” where we wrote down times when we had seen the hand of the Lord in the previous week. (On that note, usually during our 15-minute pre-district meeting “prepare to learn”, I play hymns on the piano to help bring the Spirit. Sometimes it’s easy to get distracted during this time, so I’ve decided that instead I’ll just play some hymn arrangements from my music in my iPad and study with everyone.) I’ve recently been studying gratitude and have felt that the next thing that would help us in our work would be gratitude (Mosiah 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 4:4). So, I suggested that we each take time each night to record times we had seen the Lord’s hand that day and why we were grateful for it. I love verse 12 in Mosiah 4, which promises us that we can be “filled with the love of God.” Speaking from experience, that is the greatest feeling.
After an opening song, prayer, and the likes were finished, we went right into sharing one of those moments when we had seen the Lord’s hand. This is not what I planned for. In fact, I’d hadn’t had much time to prepare at all. However the Lord definitely made His will known and I did my best to comply. This was an incredible spiritual moment. Each missionary shared how we had seen the Lord’s hand and why we were grateful for it. Afterwards, I shared with everyone 1 thing I was grateful for in each missionary.
Elder Corzo then gave a fantastic workshop on obedience, inviting everyone to add another companion to their companionship: God. He is such an incredible presenter, mixing humor, scripture, and personality perfectly. I’m so grateful to have him as an example and missionary here. He’s a pretty awesome Elder.
After District Meeting, we taught Robert. He is an old man who hunted Nazi’s in Canada after the war. That’s right, Nazi’s. However, he is still going strong! His hearing struggles a little but he is completely coherent, gets around relatively well, remembers everything we say, and–oh yeah–he’s 90. 90! He’s told us that his entire life–as a lifelong Presbyterian member–he was taught to fear Mormons. After a brief summary of where the Book of Mormon came from, whom it’s about, and what it teaches, he has become super interested in the book. Especially after he mentioned that he could be with his wife forever, if we follow the direction of the prophets God speaks through. He told us through tears and much emotion that he prays every night for angels to deliver his love to his wife. My goodness, I wanted to cry. You look in his eyes and you see so much goodness! After this appointment, he said “I’m Presbyterian. You’re not supposed to be making head way.”
ALLSSOOOO, I got a call from Elder Sirrine this week. He’s been an assistant for a few months now. He said that because we are coming to the close of a transfer, and they wanted to use some of the extra time they had, that the three of them (we have a trio of assistants) would be coming down to our area next week. I would be splitting with Elder Parrish, Elder Johnson would split with Elder Ko, and Elder Sirrine would go with one of the Spanish Companionships. I’m SOO pumped!! To add to all that next week, we have an exchange with the Zone Leaders.
23 October 2016
A few days ago, we had a pretty crazy lesson. We were knocking on the sketchiest projects in the area (just as a quick brush up, these are government owned apartments that have reduced rent…and are super run down) and were invited into someone’s house when we mentioned our message was centered on a Jesus Christ. The mom brought us to the main room which had a single lightbulb from a broken lamp giving the only light (this was late enough in the evening that the small window provided little to no light). There were two TV’s and one mattress on the floor. One of the only two chairs was almost completely broken. There were no doors, only curtains hanging.
Looking back, I realize that the feeling we got while we were first there was one that was telling us that something wasn’t right.
The woman brought her husband and her son into the room. We asked if we could start with a prayer. They asked what kind of prayer, so we started to explain to them how we pray. The woman interrupted us and said that she didn’t do any prayer except for the Lord’s Prayer. As we tried to explain, we mentioned our belief in a current living prophet. The woman looked right at me and looked deep in my eyes and said something like “that’s good.”
I remember a chill went down my spine. Again, something was not right. The woman then launched into her declaration that she was a prophetess. She recounted how she had healed many, cast out demons, and then told us a very frightening experience of her encounter with evil.
Elder Johnson and I were at a complete loss of what to do. We listened for a bit and there was a very heavy feeling in the room. At one point–to try and bring the Spirit back–I attempted to share a portion of the Restoration. I said a couple sentences, but there was absolutely no power behind what I said. I looked at Elder Johnson as I realized that I could not teach.
Taking advantage of this, the woman starts rampaging about a crazy experience she attributed to God, but was very, very much so not from God.
I have never feared for my life before. Sure, I’ve been scared, but this time I was actually concerned for my life. I looked at Elder Johnson and asked “What time is it?” He looked at me and nodded and so we both stood up and left. They followed us out and shook our hands. After the fact, Elder Johnson and I were a bit shaken up, so we went back to the church and gave each other blessings before finishing out the night.
I want to testify of the protection we receive as servants of the Lord. Alright, alright, I don’t want to share this to merely scared but instead to testify. In hindsight, I remember when I felt scared for my life and there was a calm assurance that I would be safe. The Spirit made it very clear we needed to leave and assured me that all would be okay. I felt real protection. We were not there on our own–the Lord was with us.
We had a lesson with *Brad, and oh boy is he cool! He’s 22 and said straight up he was looking for the right church. He is a media referral (he went to Mormon.org and ordered a Bible or Book of Mormon). This is the first time we’ve met with him and he has already read the from the Title Page of the Book of Mormon to Laban in 1 Nephi 4. When we told him church services were at 10, he commented–without us saying anything–that he would need to talk with his manager to get time off. Really, the whole lesson was pretty stellar!
So being Branch Clerk sort of blows my mind. Yesterday, one of the Stake Clerks came down to train me on the rest of responsibilities. My mind was so fried. This new calling is going to keep me growing! One thing I’ve learned in this last week is that I cannot waste a single second, otherwise I won’t have enough time. There is simply too much to do. 🙂 The Lord knows our situation and works with us.
I am so grateful for His hand that I’ve seen on a day to day basis. Truly, He is wonderful! Something I am working on this upcoming week is the attribute of gratitude. I’ve found that the love I am searching for to feel for those I’m around comes as I express my deep gratitude to our Father in Heaven and grow my love for him.
Last night we had an incredible dinner, lesson, and jam session with Iderle and her husband, Fred. She made us some Haitian food which was AMAZING and then I jammed on the piano with Elder Johnson and Fred. So much fun! Fred is incredible at the guitar, playing a sort of style that sounds similar to Spanish. Before we left, we shared a message about being with our spouses for eternity. 🙂
I love New York! I am so pumped to be here! Hope you all had a great week. Love y’all. 🙂