Monday, May 11, 2015

Cast Not Away, Therefore, Thy Confidence‏

Sorry if the e-mail comes out a bit funky today. The keyboard I'm using isn't great. I've already peeled off the stickers they'd placed on the keys that had been worn out so that I can write a bit better.

Calling home was great! As missionaries, for those who don't know, we get to do it twice a year - once on Mother's Day and once on Christmas. And I'll have you know I most definitely didn't cry. Nope. I don't even know why you'd think such a thing who told you I cried because I didn't.

And with that call I also hit my 8 month mark! Whaat! The mission flies by fast, people. But I think I've done a pretty good job helping people and doing what I'm generally supposed to do. I was listening to one of my Zone Leaders do his call - his last one - and he kept saying he got depressed every time he started thinking about going home and leaving Ecuador. I'm well on my way to getting to that point.

Honestly, I don't think much about you people! That doesn't mean I don't love you but it means that I'm getting the hang of this work and getting it done, too. These 2 years are about thinking about the people here, after all.

New Investigator Miracles!

Speaking of which, we've been really blessed to find a lot of new people this week! Our leaders had given us the goal of finding 7 new investigators (12 is the standard of excellence) and we actually got all 7! It's really important to constantly be finding - we talk a lot about the "weekly process" here. The point is that we constantly need to be finding new people because inevitably the people we're working with will stop listening, we'll stop finding them, or they'll get to their goal of baptism. So when that happens, instead of starting back at zero again, we need to keep finding people constantly so we always have people to work with.

Here's a cool experience. A month ago or so, maybe more, Elder Equite and I were walking to an appointment.  As you usually do here you at the very least can greet the people with a "buenas tardes!" So we passed a guy on the street and at the last moment I said hi - and he turned around, calling after us, "Hey, wait, where can I get a Book of Mormon?" Awesome! We talked, but unfortunately didn't have one on us. He didn't live in our sector so we passed along the reference.

Weeks later we ran into him again. What?? This time we actually had a Book of Mormon and so handed it over.        

Last week we'd some less-actives and were teaching them when all of a sudden this guy walks in. I did a double take. "Have we talked at one point?" Guess what - it was the same guy! His name's Alan and now he's moved to live in our sector, so we can teach him! He has great questions and is super interested. He's a young guy and really friendly. We might see awesome things down the road!

Cast Not Away Thy Confidence

My message this week has a lot to do with last week's - for me, at least. Because this week I felt a lot of the same things I did last week. It was pretty frustrating. But this highlights another important principle we can learn.

In the Book of Mormon the prophets always talk to the people and to their kids about "remembering the captivity of their fathers." I've wondered why they talk so much about that. Why was it so important that they always remembered that stuff?

In Helaman 5, Nephi and Lehi (who were named as such so that they would always remember their ancestors of the same names) work some pretty marvelous miracles among the Lamanites. There's this whole deal with a cloud of darkness, angels, all of them being encircled with fire that doesn't burn them...pretty crazy stuff. But here's something interesting in verse 49, after all this happens:

 49 And there were about three hundred souls who saw  and heard these things; and they were bidden to go forth and marvel not, neither should they doubt.

That's what I've had to realize this week. We won't always be encircled about with fire. We won't always have angels talking to us. We won't always have a constant confirmation from the Spirit. If God did that, it'd be too easy. What he wants is for us to exercise our own free will and make our own choices.

The point is: after we've received personal revelation or confirmation of something, we can't afterwards doubt in what we've already received. We have to keep moving forward.

I needed to apply that this week. Many times the Lord has told me, "You're doing fine, don't worry, keep going."  But I've doubted! I've forgotten the captivity I was led out of and I forgot the many things the Lord has already shown me. Hours or minutes after receiving the comfort of the Spirit I've gotten impatient again and started to doubt that what I was doing was what I needed to do in that moment.

This is why it's so important to write down the impressions we've received - it's partly why I keep my prayer journal thing. So that I can remember what the Lord's promised and move forward, nothing doubting. I've got a little annotation on my patriarchal blessings of a spiritual confirmation I received some months ago about exactly how I should put in practice a promised blessing. I haven't received a confirmation since that that interpretation is correct, but I was smart enough to write it down in the moment. So I should keep going!

Anyhow, don't doubt! Go forward in faith! If you know you've received an answer the church is true, don't cast away thy confidence! The confirmation WON'T always be there, but you received it once. Now comes the hard part. Just stay true to that!
1. We have to buy a lot of water in the coast. I finished this in about 2 days.

2. My shoes are coming apart hilariously.

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