I have two emails for you today. One is more of a spiritual thought, and the other is about the week that we had.
This week was, as always, very eventful. To start the week, I was able to go back to Quartzsite on exchanges, and what a blessing that was. There is also getting to be a lot more people down there and so I was able to see some people that I really love! It was a great blessing. Some cool experiences we had down there really showed me that, at times, people are just not ready to hear the gospel. And then, because of a circumstance, or because it is the time the Lord has prepared them, they are ready to listen. It says in Alma 13:24, "Angels are declaring it [Gospel] unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word". It is so wonderful to know that Lord is preparing people for us. We met three Nancy’s and all three I had taught when I was in Quartzsite last year. The first has a sister who is a member of the church and last year she said she wasn’t interested. But, during the summer her husband passed away, and when we went to see her just this last Tuesday she took a Book of Mormon and was receptive to the gospel! What a miracle! Then, the next Nancy was the wife of one of my recent converts. He passed away a few months after his baptism and no one was sure if his wife would even come down to Quartzsite this year, but she did and I was able to see her and we have begun teaching her! And the last Nancy was one that said in the past she wasn’t interested, but that now she said she wants to learn more and try out our church! It was great to see the work of the Lord preparing the hearts of the people.
This week, I was also able to kneel twice in the streets and pray to find someone to teach, and then get on my feet and with my companion find two new people to teach! I just need to work on having more faith; that is the key. We also had been fasting and praying this last week to find a family who can get baptized before the end of the year. This Sunday almost all of our investigators got sick and couldn’t come to church. We were super bummed. But then a member walked up to us randomly and introduced us to his brother in law and said that he and his two children would like to be baptized! His wife is already a member. These are just some of the neat experiences we have had this week!
I love you,
Coming into conference I made a personal commitment to prepare questions and to be ready to seek revelation, and so along with this, comes real intent. If I want the Lord to give me answers, I must be willing to act on them. An answer that has come apparent to me over the weeks since conference is focusing on the basics.
As Elder Uchtdorf said in this last conference "simplify your discipleship". So, taking that thought of the fundamentals, I have pondered my own life and my own gospel living. My parents will be the first to tell you that when I came home from sixth grade football, I complained about all the blocking and tackling drills we did. I remember standing in a line every day and going through blocking and tackling over, and over, and over, and over again. Up and then down, up and then down, slower then faster. But this set the foundation for the rest of my football career. Five years ago, in a conference, Elder Uchtdorf talked about Vince Lombardi referencing the same topic, the basics. He said that Vince used a ritual at the start of every year to explain to his experienced players' what a football was and how you used it and what the lines on the football field meant. Elder Uchtdorf later said "They could spend their time practicing intricate trick plays, but until they mastered the fundamentals of the game, they would never become a championship team."
If I spend all my time getting lost in the depths of the Kolob or the busy schedule I have as a missionary, I would never become a championship disciple of Jesus Christ.
Will Smith said, "Skill is only developed after hours and hours of beating on your craft". As sons and daughters of Heavenly Father, our craft is to become like Him. Sure we are all different, and all take different paths in life, but the goal is the same-eternal life in our mansion above.
So I would say, "Conversion is only developed after hours and hours of beating on your scriptures because they don't make sense." Haha "Conversion is only developed after hours and hours of pleading to our Father in prayer and study.”
I took the commitment given by Elder Devin Durrant to 'ponderize' a scripture every week. As I write a scripture on my heart weekly, I know the Lord will bless me with conversion. It's so simple, but extremely vital.
My scripture this week was in memory of my parents and some of my favorite Book of Mormon heroes. The 2000 Stripling Warriors. Alma 56: 47 reads "Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them."
Before coming out of my mission I had never really preached, or done too much missionary work. I could have been a whole lot better. But I did not doubt to serve my mission. In the year prior, I knew I was going and I can testify to you that was because my parents, especially my mom. She had taught me not to doubt the Lord and what He asked of me. God has delivered me from many harms, he has protected me when I have been in the ghetto at night in Vegas and he has protected me spiritually throughout my mission.
Elder Holland said in the last conference, "No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child."
So as I pondered on what my mother has done for me, my voice echoes those 2000 of old, "we do not doubt our mothers knew it"
And what was it that they knew? The very thing my mother knows; the power of the pure love of Christ and if we have faith in Him, He will deliver us.
To all those who are mothers or future mothers, I would like to say along with Elder Holland, "I can pay no higher tribute to anyone." Mothers are so special and even though I missed my mother’s birthday, and I have missed many holidays with her, I have still given her a gift. And that gift is my devotion to my Savior. That gift is me, and who I have become. Just as on judgement day when I stand before the pleasing bar of God my gift to my Savior will be who I have become; what I have done with His atonement. This is my gift to my mother. And one day I hope to be able to say that I am "exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this [is] not all--[someone] who [is] true at all times in whatsoever thing [I am] entrusted. Yea, [someone] of truth and soberness, for [I] had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him." Someone Taught by my mother. I love you mom! This gospel is true; ‘doubt not, but be believing' (Mormon 9: 27)
I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.