Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Highs and Lows and Finally Learning How to Pray :)

Hi Family!
Sport Night
This week we had a lot of highs and lows. We saw a lot of miracles and a lot of disappointments. We had a baptism scheduled for Sunday, but he was unable to make that date. He is not quite feeling ready and he got a little sick. We met with him yesterday, shared a lesson on the atonement, filled out some baptismal forms, and then asked him to decide on a new date. It was overall a pretty effective lesson. His baptism has been rescheduled for the 17th of next month (May). That will be right at the end of the transfer, so we are ending with a bang! 

One of the highs happened while I was on splits with our zone leader. We found one of our investigators who had dropped off the map a few weeks ago and stopped answering our calls. I was so glad to see him! I invited him to a ping pong night that we hold pretty regularly at the church and he came and asked us to teach him while we were there. That was one of our miracles. Another miracle was that I was able to share Michael's conversion story and some of my experiences during that time, with one of our investigators. Afterwards he accepted our invitation to be baptized! He is still deciding on a date, but he was definitely touched. He's a pretty old guy (85) and moves pretty slowly, but he is progressing! Yesterday I met a man from Dallas, Texas. He is living here and teaching English. He's a great guy and incredibly prepared. We gave him a Book of Mormon (another miracle, I felt like we should make sure we were carrying an English one that day) and exchanged emails. We will be meeting up with him soon. Apparently he is headed back to Texas in a month. If y'all can, you should meet up with him! He seems like a really great, sincere guy.

I have also noticed a lot of answers to my prayers and thoughts over this past week. I was reading in the newest Liahona magazine and came across an article about the power of faith. The entire thing is a wonderful article but in the end it quoted part of the Bible Dictionary section on prayer that I loved. It says:

Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.

Christians are taught to pray in Christ’s name (John 14:13-14; 15:7,16; 16:23-24). We pray in Christ’s name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ--when His words abide in us (John 15:7). We then ask for things it is possible for God to grant. Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not in Christ’s name at all; they in no way represent His mind but spring out of the selfishness of man’s heart.

For about two weeks prior to reading this article, the words in 2 Nephi 4: 35, "Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss", kept coming to my mind and I kept wondering why. I didn't feel like my prayers were getting answered. I, like the woman in the article, felt as if my faith in God's ability to accomplish what I was asking for was not the problem. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting an answer. I think over the past week I have gotten a lot of the answers I was looking for and I don't think I was asking for anything selfish; however, reading that article and the Bible Dictionary entry for prayer was a great reminder of a very important principle. It is so important to be aligned with the Lord's will. Sorry I gotta go! 

Love y'all!

Elder Sterling Siebach

Monday, April 20, 2015

How Beautiful...Are Many Things!

This week has been great! We got to go out and do a bunch of finding and teaching and training! We had zone meeting this week and I gave a training on the importance of studies. I'm not sure how mine went (I think it was alright) but the other trainings given by other members of the zone were really good!

After-Zone-Meeting Lunch
Right now we are working with one of our investigators really closely, his baptismal date is this coming Sunday. So we are concentrating on building him up and preparing him the receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. He is a wonderful man and I am very excited for him. Other than that Elder Peck (my companion) and I have been visiting a lot of less
actives and we have both seen the most amazing miracles and experienced the biggest rejections so far on my mission. So that has been a ton of fun. It seems that once you receive a little bit of light you can't go back to neutrality, you either continue in the light and get more or you go dark and fall. I have met some pretty violently anti-mormon people out here and they are all considered less active... Anyways, we are also working with another man who has told us that he will get baptized if he finds out that the Book of Mormon is true. That is pretty exciting. I may have mentioned him last week. We haven't been able to meet with him for a while. We will keep praying and fasting for him though.

In my studies this past week I read a lot of scriptures that I already hold dear to my heart, but one in particular came across in a different way. It was Romans 10:13-15

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"

I read those scriptures and the Spirit carried them straight to my heart. It is just a different twist on the missionary purpose. I, along with thousands of others, have been called and sent to preach the name of the Lord, that others may hear, and then believe, and then call upon him, and therefore be saved. I love how simple that is. I think that we have all been sent.

Love y'all!

Siebach 長老

Monday, April 13, 2015

Transfers and General Conference

Hello family! 

I hope y'all are doing well. I'm doing pretty well. It is raining A LOT right now and we had to bike for about an hour out there. So my socks and shoes are soaked through! That's always fun. So we had transfers this week and I am now with my new companion here in Kohoku. We focused on visiting less actives this week which turned out to be really good. We met with a lot of them and had good conversations with them. We will be working with them more closely soon!

We also had general conference this week! It was amazing! I LOVED IT. There were so many incredible talks! I really loved the focus on the family and also dealing with gospel questions and shaken faith. It is so important to focus on the basic things that we know and have a testimony about when we have questions. I also loved the prophet's talk in priesthood, Ballard, Nelson, Holland...and pretty much everyone else's talk! I downloaded pretty much the entire conference and can't wait to watch it all the way through.

Other than that not much has changed here. We have a couple people with baptismal dates that are coming up. We are going to be working pretty closely with them over the coming weeks trying to prepare them.

I am so sorry but our bike ride and cleaning the apartment took up a ton of time! I love yall! Hope you have a great week!

Elder Siebach

Monday, April 6, 2015

Beautiful Feet

Hello family!

Look at what I get to look at every time I turn the corner!?! Cherry blossoms everywhere! So pretty! I LOVE this time of year!

Thank you for all the emails! I am excited to read them! This past week has been pretty great! Elder D and I worked in the area book a lot. We called a bunch of people from a long time ago and so were able to clean out the area book and establish who wanted to learn more about Christ and who wasn't interested. There were a lot of
people who weren't interested. Every once in a while there was some hope! We also got to use the videos to have some great lessons on the street about the resurrection and the atonement. It is amazing how you can be feeling the spirit so strong with some people and you can tell that they feel the spirit too but when you try to invite them to something walls get thrown up again. It's too bad... But we are working hard and accomplishing our goals and our purpose!

Today we got transfer calls. I am staying in Kohoku but I am moving to the other Elder companionship. My companion is another transfer 4 missionary named Elder P. I am excited, I have lived with him for the past transfer and he's pretty fun. Looks like he is a pretty hard worker too, which is great.

This week I was reading in Romans 10 and came across some of my favorite scriptures:

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and
how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how
shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written,
How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace,
and bring glad tidings of good things!

This scripture really spoke to me. I am here to preach so that people can hear and believe and call upon God and receive salvation. Plus it's nice to know my big feet can be called beautiful:) Pretty awesome!

I love y'all. Hope you are doing well! Sorry this is so short!

Elder Siebach