This week has been amazing!! On Tuesday, we had a devotional and ELDER HOLLAND CAME!! It was easily one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had and totally redefined how I am doing my missionary work. He talked alot about how the Lord is hastening His work, and it is super exciting that we are all a part of it. One thing I thought was really cool about what he said, is about the missionary efforts of past dispensations. Like in the Book of Mormon, or the New Testament. The prophets and teachers at that time knew that a apostasy was going to happen, and that the people were going to fall away into sin. But they still worked hard, and found hope in the fact that WE would succeed in this dispensation. Elder Holland talked about how every scripture is written as a guide book for us by earlier missionaries, teaching how to grow and learn to be better missionaries by their mistakes -Mormon 9:31. He told us that the original name for Preach My Gospel was Preach My Gospel By My Spirit as it is stated in D&C 50:14. It is absolutely vital that we teach with His spirit. As Elder Holland put it “We must teach His Gospel in His way”. The Spirit is who does the real testifying and converting in any lesson. If He isn’t a part of our lessons, we aren’t doing it God’s way. He taught us alot of other way cool stuff, but that’s pretty much the gist of it!
Well, you know how I was super excited to teach Daniel again? He has been sick all week. But, last night we taught our other investigator Patricio and it was amazing! We went in focusing on his concerns and doubts, which was how he could grow his faith in Christ. We taught him from James 2:17-18 about how faith is a principle of action, and we have to exercise faith in order to grow it. Then we went to Alma 32 and talked about how we have to experiment and give place in our hearts for our faith to grow. As we bore testimony about faith and how we have seen it grow in our own lives, I could feel the spirit strongly. This is a doubt that many people have, because just like Patricio did, we often compare our faith to others. We don’t receive a huge testimony about the Book of Mormon after the first time we read 1st Nephi 1. Our testimony is grown line upon line and precept upon precept. Just like a brick layer might feel like his work isn’t going anywhere as he lays one brick at a time, it isn’t until he steps back and sees the huge wall he has built that he sees how far he has come. We have to be patient with ourselves and try our best to do better and continue increasing our faith by acting and trying.
Another thing that has really stuck out to me the past week is the power of the Atonement. We had the Argentina MTC director come and speak to us (all in Spanish by the way!!) on Wednesday, about the power of the Atonement to overcome the Fall. I’ve understood that the Atonement helps us overcome our bad habits and repent, but I’ve never realized that it is the Atonement that gives us the strength to continue along the pathway and improve. President David O. Mckay said “The purpose of the Gospel is…. to make bad men good and good men better, and to change human nature.” The Atonement of Christ not only has the power to help us repent, but also to improve ourselves when there aren’t any major sins or transgressions holding us back. Elder Bednar said that the word grace is equivalent to ‘the enabling power of the atonement’. When we read 2 Nephi 25:23 “We know that it is by grave that we are saved, after all we can do” with that in mind, it gives us greater insight about what the Atonement can do for us.
I know that I can’t explain myself well with words, and I’m even worse in Spanish, but hopefully I got across a little of what I’ve learned this week. It has by far been my favorite week here at the MTC. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it. I know that Christ lives, and His Atonement and Love are for everybody. Becuase of the Fall of Adam, everybody became subject fo physcial and spiritual death. But through the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can be redeemed from Spiritual death and be resurrected. I love this Gospel and everything that is has done for me. It is such an amazing blessing in my life.
I hope all is well!
This has been another awesome week here at the MTC! Sister Mariah Hatch and Elder Ryan Tuckett showed up on Wednesday and my super talented companion sang at their welcome fireside so I was able to see them and say hi! Its funny to see the nervous and scared looks on the new missionaries faces, because I know we must have looked the same way when we got here. Good thing adapting to the MTC goes super fast! By the 3rd day everyone is laughing and loving it!
We got new teachers this week, because of the new semester at BYU and all the teachers getting their schedules changed. Our new teacher is Hermano Thompson and he is absolutely amazing!! I know that he truly does care about us and loves us so much. We had a discussion yesterday about what we are willing to give up in order to come closer to Christ. He likened it to Alma chapter 20 and 22 about what King Lamoni’s father was willing to give up. It started out at half of his kingdom for his life, then his whole kingdom to receive the great joy that the gospel brings, and finally he was willing to give up all of his sins to know Christ. I love how applicable this is to our own lives! How much are we willing to give up to follow Christ? He had us think about how as missionaries, we have given up music and movies, but have we given up talking about movies or singing those same songs? Not that quoting a movie or singing a song is bad, but are we holding on to the world too much instead of following Christ with all of our strength. Just some cool food for though!
Hermano Thompson is also my favorite investigator. When we teach him, he doesn’t just accept everything we throw at him in our broken Spanish. He makes us fill in the blanks and explain things that we take for granted as members. For example, when we started to teach him about prayer, he asked us why we fold our arms, bow our heads, and close our eyes. Elder Roberts and I had forgotten to explain why we do that while we pray. It helps me to slow down and explain the gospel step by step instead of doctrine by doctrine. It also helps me to think and learn how to explain in Spanish other things that aren’t necessarily straight from Preach My Gospel. We teach him again tomorrow, and I’m super stoked to see what other questions he has!
During my study time today, I wanted to focus on how to explain the role of the Spirit in our lives. I looked in Mosiah chapter 24 at the story of Alma and Amulon. Then I compared it to the story of Daniel in the Old Testament. I found a pattern that happens as we turn to Christ and put our trust in Him to help us through trials. The first thing they did was pray with faith for help in their trials. God then sent them help in their afflictions. I thought this was interesting, because we aren’t always delivered from our trials the second after we kneel down to pray. For Daniel, God didn’t make it so that he didn’t have to go into the lion’s den. He still had to have faith to lower himself in to Lion’s den trusting that God would provide. Alma and his people still had hard tasks and taskmasters set over them. But, through their faith and prayers, God came and ‘did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord’ (Mosiah 24:15). As they continued trusting and praying, God eventually delivered them from their trials. Daniel was brought out of the Lion’s den unharmed, and the people of Alma were brought into the Land of Zarahemla. From their extreme faith, the Church of Christ was able to grow in both lands. In Zarahemla, Mosiah authorizes Alma to organize the Church, and in Daniel’s case, Darius sent a decree that all should worship the True and Living God of Daniel.
This pattern of support came to help me alot right after my Grandma died in November. After the funeral, I was really sad. I prayed for support, and God came to give me support through a friend. She invited me to read the talk ‘None Were With Him’ by Elder Holland. As I turned to Christ, he comforted me and delivered me from me trials. I felt peace in the fact that I would see my grandmother again as long as I am faithful. My grandpa, who was also going through great pain, came into the room where I was listening to the talk. He bore his testimony to me of the Savior, and I could feel the power of the Atonement through his words. I know that Christ lives, and if we pray to him with faith, he will deliver us from our trials.
This past week at the MTC has been awesome!! I feel like my last email was super scattered, so this week I wrote up a plan of what I want to talk about!
On Tuesday one of my companions left for Chile! He is going to the same mission that I am going to, but is amazing at spanish so they had to get him away from us before we corrupted his grammar. Now it is just Elder Roberts and I! He is such an awesome Elder, and I have so much to learn from him.
On Sunday we had a member of the Seventy come and speak to us. His name was Elder C. Scott Grow and it was an amazing talk! He spoke about the pre-requisites to receiving revelation. It was awesome! He talked about how our Agency is the only gift from God that He cannot take back from us. Instead, we must choose to give that back to Him by aligning our will to His. It made me think a lot about how I need to change some of the things that I do and give my agency back to Him.
Our branch president here is absolutely amazing! There is a rumor going around that he is one of the three Nephites, and I actually believe it! Jk, but he is awesome! He gave us a special devotional about how to recognize the Spirit and not everyone receives the ‘burning in the bosom’. The way he put it was that ‘not everybody is born with heaters’. Some of the ways we can tell if we have the Spirit is if we are cheerful. I thought that was interesting, because there are a lot of times that I don’t feel like I have the Spirit, but in reality I do.
One thing I have really learned here is the importance of writing things down. If you receive a prompting to do something, write it down or you might forget. And after you’ve written it down, re-read it and you are entitled to additional revelation. We have these super handy day planners that help me a ton with that. The more I use it, the more I feel the Spirit working through me!
We are teaching 3 ‘investigators’ right now. They are really just our teachers acting like people they taught on their missions, but I’ve learned so much from them! Yesterday, we taught Leonardo. My companion and I had a prayer before we went into the room, and because of that I could feel the spirit helping me say what I wanted to say. It wasn’t perfect. Or anywhere close to it. But, there were a few times when I was speaking, that the conjugation for a verb would just pop into my head instead of having to think about it forever. The gift of tongues is real, but it is something that we have to work at just like every gift of the Spirit.
So we have some really funny Elders in our district! One is from Texas and has a deep Texas drawl when he speaks. The other is from American Fork and just says the funniest things! The two of them are comps and keep our stress levels from building up too much! But this past week I asked the Texan if they consider themselves incorporated into the US. His reply in his deep Texan accent was, ‘depends what you idiots are doin’!’ The Elder from American fork always jokes about going in to lessons and asking the investigators ‘ud tiene ropas blancas!?’ which means ‘do you have any white clothes?!’. They are two of my favorite Elders!
Well now for a bit of a Spiritual thought. This Christmas season we really should remember the true reason we give gifts. It is in similitude of Christ giving us the best gift we could ever receive! I saw some symbolism while I was sitting in our classroom earlier this week. The water during baptism symbolizes death and the grave, but when Christ walked on the water to the apostles, I thought of how he literally overcame and rose above the grave! Never forget what an amazing gift the Atonement and Gospel of Jesus Christ is in our life. I would invite you each to think of someone you could invite to hear the missionary discussions. Even during the fake lessons we teach to our teachers, I can see what happiness and peace the Gospel brings into lives of those who don’t know. We often take it for granted. Study Preach My Gospel. You never know when you might need to teach the Lesson of the Restoration to a friend, of how to explain all of the Plan of Salvation. Nowhere in Preach My Gospel does it say ‘Missionaries Only, Members back off’. It is our best resource for learning how to share the gospel, and you are the missionaries best resource for finding people to hear the Gospel. Keep the Elders in Mesa busy! Don’t let them knock a single door! jk, but really pray for people you know who might be ready to hear the Gospel. It may surprise you who is actually ready and willing to hear. But our job as members is not to baptize, it is to invite all to come to Christ- Preach My Gospel page 1!
Well I love you all! Keep up the great work, and raise your personal bar every day!
I cant really remember what pictures I put up, but one or two are of my companions and I, one I think is my comps and my first ZL’s, and the other is of my parents and I right before we drove across the street to the CCM!
Con mucho amor,