Friday, December 23, 2016

Inspirada & Madeira Canyon: January 19-25

Hi everyone!

So hopefully this one will be a long one--so much has happened! It's been an extremely spiritual week because Elder Clark of the seventy came to the stake that I serve in (Anthem) and spoke at the adult session of stake conference on Saturday as well as at stake conference. Elder Corbridge of the seventy also came and visited our mission for a mission tour and I got to hear from him on Sunday at our missionary leadership council in addition to spending the majority of Monday at the mission tour that he taught at! He's the one that said, "Life is hard, not the gospel." We also had a huge broadcast for ALL missionaries and mission presidents on Wednesday. So, this week has been crazy!

Several general authorities spoke at the broadcast on Wednesday and it was really cool because they all focused on principles taught in Preach My Gospel. It really is that simple! Preach My Gospel isn't just for missionaries; it's for everyone! So go read it. It will help you in your callings no matter where you are or what you're doing. The principles in Preach My Gospel can be boiled down to eight fundamentals, which are the core of the training program that each new missionary gets to participate in called "The First 12 Weeks", which we commonly refer to as 12 Week. These eight fundamentals are: our purpose as missionaries (to teach the doctrine of Christ), the importance of and receiving revelation through the Book of Mormon, prayer, and coming to church; missionaries inviting people to act and then following up, the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion, teaching people not lessons, and using the How to Begin Teaching points in Preach My Gospel that help missionaries quickly establish their purpose as they teach people. It was a powerful reminder that we (the missionaries) are not the teachers. We invite the Holy Ghost into the peoples' lives and allow him to teach. We are simple God's instruments in delivering His message. And there's no more powerful way to do that than to live what we believe and invite others to try it and then live it as well! I learned that I need to focus on retaining converts and activating less-active members in addition to finding and teaching investigators and helping them progress.

The adult session of stake conference was really cool because Elder Clark dissected a single verse: Mosiah 18:21, which reads: "And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another."
He asked the audience what it meant to have one eye, what it means to have one faith, et cetera. It was amazing! Stake conference was amazing as well.

Our time with Elder Corbridge was awesome! In one segment of our meeting he addressed one question that a missionary had and was able to be led by the Spirit in everything that he taught. Then he basically taught us how to teach about the Restoration. I learned so much! There's almost nothing better than role playing with a general authority.

At the mission tour, our cars were going to be inspected so we all turned our keys in. Well, we didn't get ours back at the end of the conference. The senior missionary who was inspecting the cars accidentally kept our keys in his car and left! We were held up for quite a long time and we were an hour late to our dinner appointment. Luckily it was with a family that was flexible and understood that sometimes things happen! I always wonder why things like that happen, though. We could have been much more effective working in our area instead of staying at the church building where we had our mission tour for a few hours. I've been praying for patience a TON recently, and I've had many trials because of it. I suspect that might be part of the reason we were held up. It's all worth it in the end!

We've seen so many miracles this week! We were struggling a bit in the past few weeks but we figured many things out. One of which was when we realized that we weren't showing our excitement to the members that came out with us to teach. We were apologizing to them when our appointments fell through. But then we called one of the Mission Sister Training Leaders (a Sister Assistant to the President, except that's not what we call them) to get some advice on what we should do. She suggested that we become more excited to do the work no matter what was happening. So the next time we had members out with us and an appointment fell through, we told them we were excited because that meant that the Lord needed us to be somewhere else and that we were about to see a miracle! And we certainly saw miracles! One time a member who had never been out with the missionaries before was with us. We prayed with her and asked Heavenly Father specifically for miracles. Our new investigator wasn't home. We told her God needed us somewhere else and asked if she would still like to come with us. We street contacted many people who told us they weren't interested. Then we saw a mailman, and we almost didn't go over to talk with him because all the mailmen have met the missionaries before! But we went over and talked with him. He wasn't interested, so we were about to leave and then we saw an elderly gentleman in his car with the door ajar. I thought he was waiting for us to walk away so he could get out of his car without stopping to talk with us. Again, we almost didn't talk with him. But we did. He couldn't hear us greeting him at first, and then I really thought he was ignoring us. And then Sister Sandoval got his attention and we were able to talk with him! His name is Harold. He told us that he moved here recently from California because his wife just found out that she had leukemia only three months ago and she needed to come to Las Vegas to receive treatments. She was only expected to live for another two weeks. This poor man's wife was about to die and he was so sad! He wanted to believe that he could see her again after this life but he just wasn't sure. He didn't know what to believe. What a miracle that we were sent to him! We testified of the Plan of Salvation and that he could be sealed to his wife for time and all eternity. I really cannot imagine what his experience must be like. I am so grateful for the gift of discernment that we can have through the Holy Ghost! We are planning to meet Harold in a few weeks because he's going to be traveling a lot. I already know I won't be here because I'm getting transferred to a new area, but I can't wait to hear about how Harold progresses!

The member who was out with us experienced a huge miracle! Now she has a testimony of her own that God leads and guides us to those who need our help. She trusts us because she knows we follow the Spirit and we trust God more than we trust ourselves.

We also went out with another member and visited an entire hour's worth of plans in half the time. We decided to go to a brand new neighborhood where the vast majority of the houses weren't even finished. We pulled up next to one house (the only completed house) on a street and saw trash cans, a car, and yard decorations and we knew that we needed to go there. So we did, and we met an awesome older lady named Sharon! She moved in a week ago and had no help unpacking, so she was still living with tons of boxes in her home. She was a widow of seven years and wants something more in her life. By the way, our member was perfect for her! I am always amazed at God's hand in our lives, especially as we are doing His work!

I'm reminded of a verse in the Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 4:6 - "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."

I love you all! Have a wonderful week! :)

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