Monday, November 23, 2015

Can't Go Back to Neutral

Hello family! I am sorry for the late letter! We have been really busy today with three lessons and we are going on splits soon! Please forgive me if this email is lacking! 

This week we had some good times. We had a zone meeting this week. Something interesting about our zone is that we are all super old except for one transfer 3 missionary! When I saw that on the roster I got really excited because of all of the great experience we had coming into the zone. I thought that our stats would sky rocket and we would be seeing a lot more baptisms. Unfortunately I was caught in the excitement of my predictions of success to the point that I disregarded the problems that could be lurking under the surface. That was unfortunate because it turns out that the problems are there in a very big way. These missionaries have gotten used to their blessed life, they have grown accustomed to seeing miracles all around them, and they have forgotten what they are sacrificing. This has resulted in lower than ever stats, lukewarm support from the zone, and a pretty rough zone meeting. A lot of them, instead of preparing their hearts with questions and trying to be open to any suggestions or revelation that God would give them, they came to see their friends to joke and to laugh. So that is one of the problems we are facing right now. My companion and I will be working hard at addressing these concerns.

A little while ago I was reading in 1 Nephi 4, probably preparing for a lesson when I read a scripture that piqued my interest and I put away for safe keeping. That scripture has come to mind many times of over the past few days, especially today, so I will share it and my thoughts on it.

6 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.

10 And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.

11 And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property.

12 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands

Shoot! My iPad just deleted a ton of my email! I will throw down the abbreviated version!

When we are asked by the Lord to do something, we are given an opportunity to exercise our faith. We can either say no and choose our will or say yes and act in accordance. In so doing our faith grows and we feel that that growth "beginneth to enlarge [our] soul[s]" as it says in Alma 32: 28. I know that when we choose to say no and we feel the exact opposite of what we would feel if we were to say yes, we feel a shrinking. We can not expect to be allowed a chance to know the Lord's will and choose whether or not to follow it without consequences. We cannot be given a decision and say no and return to where we were. We can't go back to neutral. We, in essence chose to follow Christ or not, which involves growing or shrinking. I have felt both while here in Japan. I promise that a decision to act in faith will result in one more step down the path to perfection and eternal life! God loves us and because of that, even if we say no, God will, as with Nephi, give us more chances to follow Him!

I love you all!

Elder Siebach

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