April 11, 2011
Things are flying by out here and I want it to slow down. This is the last week of the transfer and I have learned so much. I feel like I am getting transferred out to another area because it’s my time. I am just now starting to understand what the Branch needs and what I need to do to further help out the missionary work out here. If I stay here it will be great because the work is really picking up and we have the support of the Branch Leadership and the members!! We will see though and I will fill you in next week! My prediction is that I'm going to the coast with Elder Davis in a place called Tillamook! We will see though because it is what the Lord wants!
I really liked in General Conference how Elder Uchtdorf told us when we pray we usually don't receive the whole answer right then. We usually get the answer line upon line, precept upon precept. This transfer has been a testimony of that and receiving revelation for this area little by little. At first we received the plan and implemented it and are starting to see the fruits of the plan. We have also started to have missionary firesides every two weeks where we call members to give talks and talk about missionary experiences they have had. They have gone really well and the spirit is always really strong at the firesides. We have also been able to receive a way to work with the members more efficiently and I know that all these results are due to depending on the Lord 100%. I will tell you in the letter to President Dyches about the changes that we are starting to see here in Keizer.
I've had some really good experiences this past week and been able to understand how to follow the spirit a little more. One day we met this girl named Angelita and were talking to her in the door way. As we were talking to her in the door, one of her friends came walking up behind us. I greeted him with a handshake and everything seemed normal but I just didn't feel right. Well we entered into her house with her friend and began to start the lesson but I still didn't feel right. I didn't understand what the feeling meant so I kept going and began to pray to start the lesson but even during the prayer I didn't feel very comfortable. Right after the pray her friend started to barrage us with questions and he truly wasn't interested in receiving an answer. Soon after his barrage I told him we weren't there to argue or waste his time, so I left with my testimony of our Savior of Jesus Christ. I didn't know what the feeling meant but now if I receive it again, I know what to do, just leave with your testimony. I was grateful for this experience because before I didn't receive a prompting to leave when someone wanted to just bash, but now through the spirit, I can tell further more if someone is interested or not!
We went to a concert this week with the Portland Mormon Choir and Orchestra. It was so awesome and it further unleashed my love for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Before I thought they sounded pretty boring but know I love them!! They had a guest soloist named Dallyn Vail Bayles. He sang really well and I got his autograph. You should check out some of his music because he is pretty good!
I have to tell you about another exciting experience. You know that Sister in my Branch, the one that I told you about. The one that didn't like me, she said that I was lame. Well, yesterday we went to go stop by to see her and talk about how the missionary work is going in the branch. We talked with her and her husband for about an hour and the spirit was there. She didn't straight up say it, but she likes me now. I could just tell by the way she addressed me. I'm glad that we could build that bridge of friendship and trust over what had happened in the past. Looking back this really helped me to grow, I could have said," Man this ladies mean, I didn't do anything to her!" and then avoided her and not said anything. Instead I just kept saying hi to her and being nice, and in the end, she doesn't think I’m too bad after all.
Hey Mom and Dad,
I read the letter back that I wrote you guys and I feel that I didn't really explain what was going on out here last week very well so here are some more things that happened to help you know what I’m going through.
Well things have definitely changed out here and by that I mean that I feel like I have been changing. Before I told you that I had a lot of pride and it was something I have been trying to overcome. Well the Lord is continuing to help me with this struggle I have been having as one of the Elders in my area feels like it is his personal duty to tell me what I need to do better ha-ha. I embrace what he says now other than before where I would have tried to take him down a peg. I enjoy his presence and I like to hear what he has to tell me. For example I combed my hair all the way back for church yesterday because I thought it was an ok way to style my hair. Well this Elder called me later that day and told me that in the OPM mission we have to have a part and a comb over. Thanks to this Elders suggestions and help I have been able to put away my pride and just put a part in my hair. Before I would have told him to stop worrying about my hair, but now I thank him for his concern ha-ha.
I have also learned and know that whenever I have a bad feeling of discouragement or anger or fear to drop down to my knees and pray. I usually never know why I am feeling the way I do or what causes the feelings I have to appear but I know that my Heavenly Father does and he can answer my prayers. Numerous times I have needed help or felt a feeling of discomfort but these feelings soon fade as I ask the Lord for his council and comfort. I had an experience with this the other day. I came back from church and it was a great meeting, but for some reason I felt like something was missing, that I could be doing more. I didn't know what it was that I needed to do or what I was missing, but I knew that God knew. So I got down and prayed and at the end of my prayer I received an answer. I searched for the answer I received in Preach my Gospel and understood what I needed to do. Only was this accomplished by putting my faith in the Lord.
I have noticed one thing that has really helped me grow. You know in the back of my journal I write about 4 things, Hard Things, Funny Things, Tender Mercies and Learning Experiences. At the beginning of my mission I would write in the, Hard Things, like every day because I felt as if I was facing things alone. Now I rarely write in the, Hard Things part in the back of my Journal I usually put them in the Tender Mercies part. I put it in the Tender Mercies because it seems to be that the hard things that happen out here are usually gone as I rely on the Lord more. I used to write in the hard things part of my journal, things are really tough; the members don't want to help. But now I write, the Lord answered my prayer and my fast and the members are supporting us more than ever. It has been an interesting journey so far to see the change that takes place as you forget about yourself and rely solely on the Lord. It’s like that talk you sent me about Faith last week.
As the Apostles watched Jesus calm the roiling waves of Galilee, raise Lazarus from the dead, walk on water, and cause the man blind from birth to see, they desired greater faith that would enable them to participate in similar miracles. Later, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, we see that their faith had actually risen to much higher levels. Thus they participated in experiences similar to those of the Savior, beginning with Peter and John’s healing of the lame man at the gate of the temple. In this and other miracles, they exercised great faith and used their priesthood, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (see Acts 3:4–8).
I have been able to participate in similar experiences on my mission. When I got here I was new and didn't really understand. I know that I’m not exactly where I need to be yet, but I know that I am on the right path. I just felt that telling you guys a little more about what’s actually going on would be better. I feel like most of these spiritual experiences I’m having out here are yours as well as you made it possible for me to be out here. Thanks to everyone who is supporting me financially and with your love and prayers that makes it possible for me to be serving my mission. I am so grateful and let me know if you would like to know anything more or want me to write about things specifically!