Monday, August 30, 2010

Habits

Monday, August 30, 2010
As this week has come to an end I have learned one thing: staying with your habits is much easier than regaining them. Due to all the trainings that have been happening I haven't gotten the chance to wake up at normal hours and/or actually work in my area, making this week, the first week, of actually working for the most part because we had zone conference this past week.

Things were a little different for this zone conference, this time we had a general authority, Elder Packer, Of the Seventy, come for a mission tour. To be honest I didn't get much out of him because I was on my meds (cough syrup mixed with some other pill) and it didn't help that he spoke in a monotone voice haha. All I can remember him saying was the same things we had gone over during the trainings the past two weeks, in other words, listening and don't talk so much. One thing, from the notes, that I somehow took, was something that he wrote down on the chalk board, it said "'Am' is our goal and 'Be' is the process that we take." At first we were all confused but then he shared a scripture that explained it all. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). I thought that was very insightful because we know perfection i sour potential through, and only through, the atonement of Jesus Christ. If we are to become, as missionaries, a true representative of Jesus Christ we must first do what we invite everyone to do, invite others to come unto Christ and follow in His ways. By following in His ways, we strive to become perfect but we first must hear or listen to learn how to act and apply what we are to become. Now, listening, for most, is not too much of a daunting task. In the Topical Guide it says "Listening (see Communication; Learning; Understanding)." We can take note that listening entails a communication, which in this case is our Heavenly Father, for we know He guides us to our potential and learning meaning to ultimately understand His ways in completeness. This is where I have seen the probelm: remembering. Jonah, being a prophet of God, was found worthy to do as the Lord had commanded Him, to "cry against" the land of Ninevah, but he choose not to because he failed to remember who's errand he was on. It wasn't until he had been in the belly of fish, or as he said "hell" that he "remembered the Lord: and [his] prayer came unto [Him]." This action of remembering what he had been called to do lead him to practice to "pay that [which he had] vowed." Why? Because he remembered "Salvation is of the Lord." When we remember what we had acted upon from what he had heard, practicing our agency, in a righteous manner, becomes natural because we understand, which leads to knowing, feeling, and gaining a testimony from the Holy Ghost of what the Lord would have us do. I'm sure Jonah knew what he had to do, as well as he remembered who he was representing, but because he, first, didn't practice what he heard and remembered, and second, he didn't truly know and feel that had a testimony that the Lord would provide a way to convert the city of Ninevah, he failed to become converted, which brings automatic obedience. "Am," means the Savior in all His glory and His perfection, is our goal and to obtain it we must be converted in all ways, in every principle and every attribute. "Be" or become is learning and then applying what we have learned of the Savior to become perfect in every principle. That is the true meaning of conversion. This is how we can say "I am humble," "I am patient," "I am a church going person," "I am a prayerful person," or many more. When we can say "I am" in a sentence we are in other words saying, "I am perfect just like our Savior in being humble," etc. As I have learned this, as well as when you learn this, it brings hope and courage to continue to strive and become truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the gist of what the trainings have been on and what he spoke of, because as missionaries we strive to help people become even as He is by [inviting them] to receive the Restored gospel through faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I love this gospel so much because it has answered some of life's greatest questions and I'm so thankful that we have a living prophet on the earth. It is such a great blessing.

Phew, that was a long winded speach, sorry about that haha. Now for what happened this week apart from zone conference. I don't know if I had mentioned that we had gone on a blitz in our area with the youth, it went great by the way. Haha. But Elder Bennett tracted into someone and we went back to go visit them and he is SO prepared, it's crazy. We went over late (like 30 minutes, eek!), and he was still home waiting for us and we talked about church and invited him to come. He said that his wife was off work and he wasn't sure that he was going to be able to go since she is anti-church, in general, but that the following week he would for sure come. He didn't end up coming but we know that we can't let him slip out of our hands because he is ready and so is his family. Then we came in contact with a part member family/ less active family. Haha. I haven't encountered one of those before but from the looks of it, it is awesome. We have had two lessons with them, mainly with the wife, who is less active because of her husband, but we encouraged her and then listened (one of them new techniques ;) ha) and it worked. She opened up a lot and said that we were a God send. I like it when people say that, makes me feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Anyways we talked with her for awhile and then I didn't feel like I had said enough. The second time we went over I was sort of "blunt" with her, honest is a better word, and first started with getting a background of what she remembered of the church. She remembered a lot, and then I asked her "why is that important to you?" She didn't say anything for awhile, and then gave me an answer just to say something. We then helped her realize that this is the only gospel that would bring her all the blessings that our Heavenly Father wants to give her and her family and that she is stopping them from coming. She was taken back and so was I, but I know it didn't come from me. We continued by explaining that the other churches are great, they serve their purpose to bring others unto Christ but that they would not be able to seal her family for all eternity (something that she said that she really knew was true) and encouraged her to write everything that she remembered on a piece of paper and go through them to figure out what she knew to be true and what she didn't. She agreed and told us, "that is what I have been waiting for all this time." Gosh it makes me feel so happy. Then yesterday we went up to the Visitor's Center (Sister Ludwig I have taken people up there several times, IT'S GREAT!) with a less active that we had been trying to get in contact with for months. The Relief Society President called us and told us to meet her at the Zayes family at 5 so we did. We ended up waiting for 45 minutes and then she finally showed up. Sister Arnazzi obviously has been given a mantle because she got the husband to do what she wanted her to do, when we couldn't. We went up after some discussion with him (more like convincing him) and it went great. We didn't know what to do with him because we didn't know him, but good thing Sister Prada has inspiration to know what to do since she knows the place a lot better than us. We gave him a tour and then she asked me if I could translate a movie that was in english that she felt was perfect for him. It worked like a charm. He was tearing up and then we showed him pictures of inside the temple that were on display and helped him understand the importance of the temple. We then walked around the temple with him and the spirit was so strong. I asked him to look at the temple for a minute, in silence, and then we turned around and looked at the world, in other words, the city right below, and asked him what each one has to offer. He knew exactly what to say and he said that he knew that when the Lord returns that it's going to be like this, except in Jerusalem because it is holy ground. My companion agreed and I did, but not all the way. I told him that if he wanted to step on holy ground, that is was too late because he already is. I told him that the Lord has walked on this ground and that this is His house. We then committed him to come to church so that he could be sealed with his family forever. He agreed. Don't know what got into me that day, but I knew that it needed to be said.

I know that this church is true. I know that the Holy Temples are holy and that it is the only place here on the earth that we can be closest with Him. I know that is also the only place we can be sealed with our families for time and all eternity and that through the atonement we can accomplish such things through our faithfulness. I love you all so much. Be happy. Till next week.

Elder Leavell

Oh by the way transfers are this week. We will see what happens.

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