August 4, 2014
Dearest Family & Friends,
Sorry Ma...last I heard Austin was using my arm-band-thing :( Check in my nightstand, or under my bed (don't get lost), or in the little white storage drawers on the right side of my closet. That is so cool about the Joseph Smith movie! I think I have watched it more than any other movie on my mission. Yeah...I'm slowing down. I'm the only driver. As for being Senior Companion, there really isn't much of a difference. It's usually just whoever has been out longer. Sometimes I feel like the junior still, because I have only been a couple weeks in a place where my companion has been for three months. HAHA! Tell Cathy to have fun, the poor dear, and that I thank her for her message :)
This week we focused a lot on finding and meeting with previous potentials and formers. Although not all of our appointments went through, nor were we able to find a new investigator, we were able to give away a lot of Book of Mormons and many people said they would read, so I am excited to follow up with them in the future. Oh. My. Goodness. We met the coolest Mormon-history-sympathizing-gay-atheist-yet-still-open-to-learn-about-truth-and-brings-his-kids-to-church-to-choose-if-they-want-to-be-baptized-for-themselves man who accepted a BOM and said he'd read it. He has a lot of respect for the Mormon's, has walked the Pioneer trail before and been down to Nauvoo and the only exposure he's had to the Book of Mormon was the musical (which we cleared up pretty quick). It's funny how we have heard more back lashing about the church from the straight gay-rights people than actual gays. Anywho...
|Donald - WWII Vet|
At the museum this week we met a cool guy named Donald who fought in WWII and wanted to see our WWII antiques. We went through a box full of Nazi stuff, which had some disturbing pics of a cremation liberated from a concentration camp. We also found a Japanese uniform pulled off a dead soldier from Hiroshima, and tons more. Donald showed us his book he wrote about his time in Singapore and it was cool to see all of the pics of him and all the other soldiers who, some of them looked younger than Austin!
We met with a former named Toywania this week and were surprised to learn that she knew a lot about priesthood keys. We plan to follow up more about the priesthood this coming week. She also brought to our attention a common concern about the Book of Mormon, saying that it is saying what the Bible says and questioned how it taught anything different. We told her that it contained the FULLNESS of Christ's gospel, and without it we would not have the complete knowledge, nor the credibility of the restored priesthood necessary for performing the ordinances of salvation. She said that she believed that one had to pray to know of truth, so I hope that she takes that to heart when praying to know if the Book of Mormon is true.
One of the members of our ward, Sister Nye, asked us to come over to give her a Book of Mormon to give to one of the people working on her house, who talked a lot with her about God and his beliefs. I loved what she said when he was asking why God would let the good people suffer and then let some evil people just go along without any pain. She surprised him when she said: "Because we NEED it. Heavenly Father didn't let the Savior go through life all hunky-dory, He had to suffer because it is a purification process that humbles us and sanctifies us to the point where we can be receptive to the Spirit. He had never thought about it that way before. She greatly believed that he would benefit from the BOM so we of course RAN to her house (in our car :P). She let us know that he was SO grateful for it and she saw him reading it in the car when he left. I am so thankful for the faithfulness of the members of the church in opening the doors of trust for those they come in contact with.
We finally met with Alex! This cute 13 year-old who wants to be baptized so bad but her Mom won't give her consent until they try other churches (which stinks because SHE is the one who asked the missionaries to meet with her daughter anyway). But we'll keep working with her.
During testimony meeting yesterday, a woman named Sister Norton bore her testimony and I cried when she talked about how she had just returned from the site in Idaho where her son, his fiance, and three other family members had perished in a recent plane crash. She talked of how one of the other women at the memorial who had lost family gave her a small white box with what was left belonging to her son. All had been either melted or singed and the lady told her that she would not believe what else they had found: she pulled out her son's scripture case an inside where his scriptures, unharmed. It was a testimony to her because the scriptures are what had brought them together during times of trial in testimony. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.
We were talking with Kat yesterday about apostasy and how we can't imagine how some people who return from their missions and go through such spiritual experiences fall away...Sister Trent said that it is an act of mercy from the Lord. I had never thought about how being brought to such a low point could invite the mercy of the Lord, to bring you to a higher plane than you had been before, re-affirming what you know to be true and STAYING there. Sometimes people don't know the joy of belonging to the church or living in harmony with God's commandments because they have never NOT had Him in their lives. They do not know the difference between having the companionship of the Lord and not having it. Once they fall away or are excommunicated, they feel that darkness...and once they realize what is missing, they would do ANYTHING to get it back. It truly is a testimony to me about the Atonement and repentance and about how there is always hope for those who have strayed. It kind of rolls back to what Sis. Nye said about suffering purifying us. I myself have felt that darkness and will continue to testify that the joy of the companionship of the Lord is something that I never ever want to lose. It is a miracle to see how the Atonement carries us so far from who we were that it makes the person we were nearly unrecognizable to the people we are now due to the experiences we have gone through.
Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven (3 Nephi 12:16). Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do (3 Nephi 18:24).
My love to all of you. NEVER EVER lose the light!
|Brother Fulmer in our ward is a |
fantastical painter who paints
people as the unsung
Book of Mormon heroes.
|Some Other Work of Art|
|Sister Trent holding one of |
Brother Fulmer legit swords!