I have a confession to make of something I learned about myself this week: I have a drinking problem. I still have this huge stash of hot chocolate, and the other sisters point out that I drink at least one cup of hot chocolate every single day (except I didn't yesterday, so ha!). So that's fun. Who'd've thought?
Big news this week: the missionary schedule has changed! There was a missionary broadcast last week in which we received a training from Salt Lake about what we can do to better serve the people in our areas. I'll talk about that bit later. The New Schedule: Now instead of our schedules being rigidly this-happens-at-this-time, it's become more of a "you know you need to do x, y, and z between this time and that time, and you can pick how that gets done". Now this is what a typical day looks like:
6:30 A.M.-10:00 A.M.
- Say Morning Prayers
- Exercise (30 min)
- Study (60 min)
- Plan for the Day (30 min)
- Get ready for the day
10:00 A.M.-9:00 P.M.
- Lunch (30 min)
- Companion Study (30-60 min)
- Dinner (60 min)
- Return to place of living
9:00 P.M.-9:30 P.M.
- Get Ready for Bed
9:30 P.M.-10:30 P.M.
- Retire to bed
My favorite part is the fact that I get to go to bed at 9:30! Someone told me a few weeks ago that they think I am an old soul . . . maybe this is why. P-Day also has an additional two hours, so now it doesn't feel so stressful trying to get everything done. I am really happy. The other thing they changed is the Key Indicators, meaning those things that we report for what we've done each week. We used to have to say how many lessons we would teach, how many of those lessons were with members present, how many people we would talk to on the street, etc. and it felt overwhelming because I wanted to make sure that I had numbers that looked good while still trying to focus on the people, but at the end of the day, I looked at quantity over quality. (Not good.) Now we report with a focus more centered on the Doctrine of Christ (3 Nephi 11:31-41). We do what we can to help and invite people to partake of those things that help them become more like Christ by learning more about the restored gospel, partaking of the sacrament, and preparing to be baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Because of it, I feel like I am able to focus on loving the people and be bold in sharing what I know.
Here is one example of how I've been able to change and focus more on the people. We had a lesson with Amber and Kyle again this week. We had a lesson about the importance of the sacrament and why we go to church. We've had a hard time helping them to do this because Kyle works Sundays and they only have one car. But at the end of the lesson we asked them if they would at least attend sacrament meeting together each week so Amber can renew those covenants that she's made, and so Kyle can practice making those covenants that he will one day make. They said yes, so we are excited about that. I tried to invite him to be baptized, but he said he's not ready yet. So I decided to say, "Dang, I already had a date picked out and everything." He wanted to know what it was, so that makes me smile.
ALSO, Rachel has her temple recommend now!!! Sister Miller and I are so excited to go do baptisms with Alex and Rachel at the temple now. We just have to wait for a break in their schedule, but that should be happening in the next few weeks.
I said that I'd talk about the training. I should probably do that now. One of the biggest roadblocks in my mission that has caused a lot of frustration for me is I kept thinking that if I could just find some super way to cleverly explain our message that everyone would just get it and that they'd all want to learn more. Super not true, but I kept telling myself that. At the training, Elder David A. Bednar said something that I'm pretty sure was directed at me. He said, "[Missionary Work] is something of the heart, not the mouth". I realized how much I try to make it the other way. Even when I think I'm trying to be loving, I still sometimes just go back to depending on my own words, which DOES NOT WORK! If it did, then Jesus Christ would have already converted everyone when He was on the Earth because He knew the doctrine perfectly AND loved everyone perfectly.
It's caused me to reflect a lot on a scripture that I am trying to theme my mission around (Moroni 7:45-48, emphasis added). "And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure."
A few days later, one of our bishops was teaching at church, and he was talking about how to receive answers when we have questions about the Gospel and the church. It helped me realize another reason why I can't just smooth-talk people into the gospel. It's essentially what we learn in 2 Nephi 28:30. "For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have." Bishop gave an example of this principle with the situation of someone who is looking at pornography on a regular basis and was questioning their testimony. He talked about how their heart is not in a place where they can feel the Holy Ghost because of how they are choosing to use their agency. He then talked about what he would say if someone asked him about that situation. He said, "[Is the church true?] is a great question, but you're not ready for that yet. . . The first question you must ask . . . [is this:] Is my heart clean and pure?" We have to be ready for the most basic principles before we can learn more. It helped me reflect on my teaching and why some people aren't ready to learn yet. God will not give them a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon or any other gospel principle until they are ready for it by first having the faith and humility to seek to be better. He cannot. It would take away our agency by doing so, and He promised that He would never do that. I think that's why the First Vision didn't happen until Joseph Smith sincerely studied and went to ask God for himself. When Joseph was prepared to see God the Father and Jesus Christ, that is when they came. This is why "The Restoration is not an event, but continues to unfold" (Elder Ballard).
Elder Holland said, "For 179 years [The Book of Mormon] has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands." This is because the Book of Mormon is true. If it weren't, the honest seeker of God's knowledge would have been able to disprove it long ago. But because it is true, millions of those who ask of God having real intent have the witness that it is true because they are ready to receive it and so much more. I love being a missionary, Family, because I get to have thoughts like this every day, and then I get to share them with you. I love you all more than words could ever express!
1001 N Burk Street
Car Selfie with President and Sister Wheeler
Thank you for the package, Mommy!
You know you've hit the future when
My Hot Chocolate Stash :)