Sunday, April 10, 2016
"Why Not Choose to Believe?"
Dear Family, Wow.... General Conference was amazing! Do all you females watch or read the priesthood session!? IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!! The entire conference was incredible, but especially priesthood! Y'all should read them! So this conference my mission president wanted us all to watch it with the members in Japanese! I had a hard time and didn't get nearly as much out of it as I usually do, but my poor greenie companion didn't understand a thing! I felt so bad for him! 10 hours of Japanese translation is brutal! I am so grateful for our iPads! I have been doing my best to re-watch everything in English. We could also read the English as we were listening in Japanese. That was so nice! There were so many great talks this conference though! I wish I could write a summary of my thoughts on all of them and send it, but that would take forever! Gomennasai! There were a couple recurring themes that I noticed: families, temples, and remembering Christ. Lehi's dream came up a couple times. In the priesthood session President Eyring told us that an RM's highest priority should be taking the next step on the covenant path and preparing for and making the most important decision in her or his life. What a crazy thought! I can't believe that that is coming up! I am so glad I have learned how to receive revelation (at least kind of) and answers to questions. That decision would be a lot harder without guidance from someone that knows better!
This week we saw a lot of miracles. We found six new investigators. It was kinda crazy that we got that many because we were pretty busy with other stuff this week! But we really focused on praying and doing what the Lord would have us do! I certainly felt more this week than in times past that I was right where the Lord wanted me to be! I also had one of the strangest contacts I have ever had. This dude told me he was a Navy Seal, and then tried to tell me that there is no God, and then he testified to me about how our lives are a gift from God, and then he told me that nature is a gift from God and something we must take care of, and then he came to our church. We have an appointment with him on Tuesday. I am pretty sure that this man is schizophrenic, partly because he told me that he is, but mostly because he acted like he was two completely different people. He was, however, very fluent in English and was capable of narrowing down where I am from to eastern Texas just from hearing me speak. I'm a leaning towards that being a lucky guess because I don't have much of a Texas accent at all! It seems like the vast majority of investigators I find are mentally disabled. It's awful. I don't know why but that's all I seem to work with lately!
I also was asked by each of the two sisters in my district to give them a blessing. That is always a cool experience. I never remember the words I am prompted to say. The revelation for blessings comes in two ways. The first way is during the preparation, which includes personal prayers and the time where the other person is telling you about the problem. You have to pay really close attention to the thoughts and impressions that you get, but it is so cool how many things the Spirit tells you during that time. The second part of the revelation is the real time revelation that is coming during the blessing. Sometimes I pause for a long time while I am trying to feel and then confirm impressions. I hope the person I am blessing doesn't get uncomfortable! I always want to be very sure of what I say and usually the confirmation comes, but it would be bad to promise blessings that God doesn't want you to promise. God loves his daughters a lot. I feel so much more guidance when I am blessing a sister than when I am blessing an elder!
One thing that I have been thinking about a lot is choices. President Monson gave me a four minute talk on choices that I really appreciated. There are a lot of kinds of choices, but I think that most of them involve a choice between acting in faith and not acting in faith. I used to pride myself in not asking for a priesthood blessing. I went 19 months of my mission without asking for one and I thought that that was a good thing. I was learning to rely on myself and trying not to bother others (God) with my problems. But then about three months ago I was really sick. I felt awful and I was coughing a lot and had a headache and I just hurt all over. During that time I was kind of angry with God. Why would you do this to me? Why would you make me be so useless in missionary work during these precious last months of my mission? Why would you put me through so much useless suffering? What am I supposed to learn from a silly little thing like this?... I had a lot of thoughts like that running through my cloudy head. Then I just had one thought come piercing through the fog: "Why not choose to believe?" And I felt so stupid! I was out here trying to learn how to trust in God and rely on him and here I was doing my best to not accomplish that! I have decided now that, if I have a thought that leads to a decision to act on faith or to not, I will default to the one that pushes my faith a little bit. Doing so has put me in the position to see so many miracles! It's wonderful! On a mission (or in life I guess) you can either do everything by yourself, rely on the "arm of flesh" so to speak, or you can choose to believe, rely on God, and see unspeakable things! I am so grateful that God gives us the witness after the trial of our faith. Those witnesses are really special.
The reason I bring this up is because my companion has become frustrated with how often I pray and make us pray together! He exploded a little bit yesterday when I asked him to do it for the fifth time in a row. "Why do you keep on making me pray!?" I looked at him and said "you know the reason don't you? I make you pray because I know you don't want to!" He got angrier and told me that it was a waste of time and we might as well be out finding or something, "we don't need to pray so often". It was a great teaching moment! :) While we were discussing I stopped the discussion and asked him to pray again. He turned so red and then he did it! I quoted the end of 2 Nephi 32 and told him that we must ALWAYS PRAY! Hopefully that was a good defining moment. It was cool to watch the Spirit soften his heart! Love Y'all!