Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Instrument in the Hands of the Lord

Buenos Dias!                          October 3, 2011
 This week was a pretty fantastic week! It was not one of great numbers or filled with baptisms, but there was just a great feeling left over from the week. I just feel like I went and did what the Lord wanted me to do, and I was rewarded with many "tender mercies of the Lord". I have been learning so much, so rapidly! This week I learned how important it is to have the Spirit and to truly be an "instrument in the hands of the Lord".
This letter may be a bit jumbled and hard to understand, but I will try my best to provide a good account of all these events this week. First of all, I am still having ups and downs with my companion. He really is more emotional then a woman. That is probably the toughest part. One day he is on top of the world, and then the next he doesn’t even want to go out and work. It is just a tough thing to deal with all the emotional change back and forth, but I am still trying to help him and understand more about who he is. Not all of this is easy, but there is something that the Lord wants me to learn by serving here with Elder McCarty.
We put our shoulder to the wheel this week, that is for sure. I had a pretty crazy experience with this guy in an apartment complex. He just came up to me and was like, "hey, I am not Mormon. What do you got for me?" So I just started to talk to him about what we believe and it became apparent that all he really wanted to do was "bash" with me. There were so many points I could have called him out on, or said that he was contradicting himself in many ways. But those were things that Elder Davis wanted to say to this man, so I could prove my point. But it turns out that the Spirit had other plans for this situation. I was really calm through the whole experience. I had moments where I thought to get angry and start being really rude to this man, but the Spirit was there. I was really made an instrument of the Lord at that point in time. I was speaking the words that the Lord would have spoken. I testified boldly about the Restoration of the Gospel and left him the opportunity to pray about these things for himself. After I had left this invitation, he just sat there staring at me, like "well this didn’t work to my advantage at all". It was a bad situation turned good.
I also went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I went to the Zone Leader's area with Elder Wood. He is from Olympia. So we had a few arguments about which side of Washington is better, but it is a clear statement that Eastern Washington is so much better! It was a different feeling to be out teaching people that I didn’t know their stories or background. So I really had to rely on the Spirit to help me when it came time for me to teach a part of the lesson. I have never been a really shy person, but it is something really different to go into a teaching appointment with absolutely no knowledge about this person and try to relate the Gospel to them. I met a guy that they were teaching that reminded me a lot of Ricardo. So it was a good experience there.
When we exchanged back, Elder McCarty and I had another amazing lesson with Claire. I mentioned her a week or two ago and about her lesson, but we had another tender mercy of the Lord with her. She is really listening with real intent to everything we teach. This lesson that we had was about faith and how she can better increase her own faith. Well that was the main topic, but it weathered down to her personal conversion and testimony. I think that this was the first time that I have really cried in a lesson in quite awhile. The Spirit was just so strong there and we were able to read the last two paragraphs of the Introduction to the Book of Mormon and then testify of these things! The Book of Mormon is really the keystone of our religion and through that book we can truly come to discover the Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church upon the earth. We must all pass through reading the Book of Mormon, pondering it, and then praying about it. That is the only way that we can know of those things. It was just such a wonderful lesson and it opened her eyes to see how she must truly gain her own witness of the Church and stop living off of "borrowed light".
Right after this lesson, we went to teach an investigator named Mike. Mike had been struggling to follow the Word of Wisdom, and we kept following up on how he was doing, but he would always slip a little bit. We walked in the door and started talking about how he was, and then it lead up to the usual question on how he was doing with the Word of Wisdom. Usually he just looks around and says that it hasn’t been going well. But this night he looked straight at us and said that he was done for good. We had not been there to help his decision or to force him to do this; he completely decided to do this on his own. I think he finally realized that there is no way that he can progress towards baptism if he continues to not follow this commandment. It completely set the tone for that lesson and we were able to set up a really good plan to help him finalizing his quitting.
There were just so many miracles that happened this week. These miracles were both big and small, but they came through obedience and personal worthiness. We cannot expect to have huge miracles or blessings from the Lord if we are not striving to do our part and be continually obedient to His commandments.  I honestly can say that at this point in my mission, I feel that I am the best I have been. I know that I am far from being a perfect missionary, but I have been able to grow and develop what is necessary in my life as a missionary. So the great benefit from this is blessings and miracles that I have seen here this week. I know that the Lord is blessing me for my obedience to His commandments and the mission rules!
General Conference was pretty amazing! I absolutely love Conference now. Looking back on my youth, I can’t believe on how much I seemed to let it pass by without giving it any thought. I mean I would watch it, but I wasn’t really paying attention. I just thought it was awesome that I didn’t have to get dressed in my white shirt and tie to go to Church, but that I could just kick it in my sweats. Now, Conference plays such a bigger meaning in my life. Especially as a missionary, I have received so much guidance and counsel for my personal self, my future, and right now. I know that from now on, my Conference experience will be more meaningful for the rest of my life! I will always cherish those short hours that we have to listen to the Prophet and Apostles speak the words in which we need to know for our days. It is an amazing time in my life as a missionary to listen to these other men that also hold the title of "Elder".
Well I know it is Chay Chay's birthday next week, so give her a big hug and kiss for me! I really miss all of you and you are always in my prayers! Have a great week!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!  Les amo muchismo!   ELDER D

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