Man! What a week. As usual I am short on time so I will just tell you about a few of the highlights of the week
Our Zone Training Meeting went really well! Giving trainings is still really scary and stressful to me, but I feel like I have gotten better than when I was first thrown into it. So that is a blessing.
Something interesting that President Cutler taught us that we got to teach the other missionaries in our zone is that there are 3 different kinds of obedience. First, you can obey out of fear. You obey because you are scared of the consequences that will come if you are not obedient to what God wants you to do. For example with tithing- D&C 64:23 tells us that if we don't pay our tithing is like fire insurance. So some people are obedient because they are afraid of being burned.
Second, you can obey out of want of blessings. There are lots of promised blessings attached to the commandments that God gives us! This is especially important as a missionary because we need the blessings of the Lord that come from obedience if we are to get along. Or if we continue with the tithing example, Malachi 3:10 tells us that if we pay our tithing then the windows of heaven will open and pour out blessings that we won't even have room enough to receive them. So some people obey the commandments because they desire blessings.
Or the last reason for motivation behind obedience is love. We simply love the Lord. Do we really love the Lord? when I wake up in the morning on time right at 6:30 and throw myself onto the floor to pray, am I doing it because I am afraid of what will happen if I don't? Am I doing it because I want the blessings that will come? Or am I doing it because I love the Lord so much and am excited that I have another day ahead of me to devote to serving Him. Why are you being obedient to the commandments? It is an interesting thing to think about.
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Also- you should watch/listen to this talk! Elder Holland can say it better than I can!
We got to go on exchanges this week. I went to Stevens Point to be with Sister Clawson for the day. She is finishing up her mission here in a couple of weeks so it was cool to get to learn from her. We have served around and near each other in the same zones almost our whole missions so it was fun to get to spend the day together working.
We had a cool experience this week. It was about 8:30 at night and our last appointment had fallen through. Pretty much the whole state of Wisconsin goes to bed at like 7:00pm so knocking doors didn't seem like the best use of the half hour that we had left of the night. So we decided to go on what I like the call a "Faith Walk." We said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to place someone in our path that needed to meet us that day so that we could make the best use of our time. We started walking and knocking on a few doors that had lights on, when we passed by this woman named sitting outside of her apartment. We approached her and started talking to her and she completely broke down and told us of the struggles she had been having with her son. We answered SO MANY of her questions with the Book of Mormon. It was incredible! She told us that the Jehovah's Witnesses had knocked on her door a couple of days ago and that she was thinking of meeting with them, but now she wants to meet with us instead! It was seriously a miracle! I KNOW that Heavenly Father needed us to meet her that night. We will be teaching her again later this week!
Also this week we were working at the food pantry that we volunteer at every week and ended up meeting an undercover less active that volunteers there! He is currently in jail so we aren't allowed to visit him... haha. But we did give him a Book of Mormon that he can read while he is there! Apparently he joined the church when he was 12 with his older sister without their parents back in California and had been ordained a Priest. But he had gotten into a little bit of trouble... and now he wants to turn his life around again! So that was pretty cool.
We also were out contacting a couple of people in these indoor apartment complexes and with the way that the doors were set up and with the amount of time that we had left we weren't going to be able to knock on every single door. So we decided to do what I like the call "Spirit tracting." Pray to figure out which of the doors we needed to knock on! We ended up meeting the 15 year old boy. He is Hmong though so we referred him to the Hmong Elders in our ward. They taught him twice this week and just yesterday they set a baptismal date with him! YAY SPIRIT TRACTING!
Ok we also met another cool lady this week. She was a headquarter referral that requested a Bible and a Book of Mormon so we thought that was pretty interesting. When we went by to give her the books we started talking to her. And apparently she had been meeting with Elders 6 years ago until one day she came home to find her house burned down! Her Bible and Book of Mormon were completely destroyed. Because of all the chaos between trying to find a new place and dealing with insurance and trying to salvage anything that was left from the fire, she fell out of contact with the missionaries. But now she feels that it is time for her to start meeting with the missionaries again! So she is going to start reading the BofM again and we are going to start meeting with her this week!
See- so many miracles are happening! So I didn't even miss you guys in Cancun. :)
But really though, I LOVE this work. There is no place I would rather be. The hand of the Lord has never been so prevalent in my life than it is now. I see it everyday and I am so grateful for that. This truly is the Lord's work and "no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing!" "Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go for boldy, nobly, and independent until it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear." I know that this gospel is true and that it is real. It changes lives!
Sorry! Only one picture this week and it is from my exchange with Sister Clawson