Monday, November 8, 2010

An Attitude of Prayer

Monday, November 8, 2010
On this mighty fine day in California you all have the opportunity to hear from me! What a great opportunity huh? Haha. It have been a pretty good week. Had some great lessons with a ton of Spanish people, yes I know it should be with the deaf but hey I can't do both at the same time. How are all of you doing though? I got a ton of mail this week, it was legit! Thanks everyone, all I want to say is: Keep it coming! It was great to hear from all of you and I will for sure make some time to respond so no worries.

Well, where do I start? We had another Missionary Training Meeting that lasted forever. Those meetings go from 9AM to 3PM and they can be so long sometimes but I'm so thankful for them. I think they are helping me become better than they are helping me help others. I have learned so much about where I can improve and that is a blessings since it sometimes always seems like a daunting task. During the trainings we learned of the importance of prayer and the Book of Mormon. It was mainly focused on how we can help others to come to the same knowledge that we have obtained and how we can help them help themselves, but that is when President Baker pointed out something that was very interesting. As we were discussing how to encourage people to pray, we came to the conclusion that we hadn't really been teaching them the importance of it (that being one of the main purposes of the trainings); therefore, they had no "pull" per say to get on their knees and pray. Then President Baker made one shore comment, he said "They don't do it because we don't know the importance." I think that comment hit us all pretty hard because their was a silence in the room and, at least for me, I was thinking about how true that was in my life. We all committed to do better. Then the second half of the meeting was about the Book of Mormon. The First Presidency has asked all of us, being all missionaries, to go through these trainings to help the work progress faster, and we have already seen the fruits of the call. Our mission last year, so October 2008 to October 2009, baptized around 350 people, then this year, so October 2009 to October 2010, our mission has baptized over 650 people. The Mission Presidents were counseled to give us tid bits of these trainings before but now we are diving into them and they are a great blessing. Just as with prayer, I have learned the great importance of reading the scriptures and how we can truly receive personal revelation to our problems and find answers that our from our Heavenly Father through such sources. I have seen that so much on our mission but I think I have learned it in a higher degree and I'm hopeful that we, as missionaries, will be able to share our knowledge and testimony because of the great importance it has on our lives and convey it to others so that they may receive such witness as well. I'm excited, even though we have already had these meetings before, for the ones in the upcoming weeks. They are long but worth it in my point of view. It's not just training us for the now but for the future as well and there isn't a price tag to that.

As far as the lessons have gone, we have only had a few good ones. I'm too hard on myself. Haha. I invited Elder Franson, our District Leader, and Elder Myers, his companion, to a lesson with Noe. He still hadn't read what we had given him and it was rather disappointing. I was so excited for him and it sort of killed it when he chose not to. We then taught a lesson on prayer. I think that was one of the best lessons I had been in about prayer. We did not speak about anything more or less, just the principle of prayer. We invited him to give the opening prayer, he accepted. We then asked him why he didn't do what we had invited him to do and he said that "I only believe in the Bible." He then said that he has always relied on its consoling power and has found great comfort that. And that is when I remembered on of the scriptures from the Book of Mormon. It says: "And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul." (2 Nephi 32:8-9). We focused on the part where it says that "the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray." How true is that? I know that our Heavenly Father would prefer us to ask a wrong question than to not ask Him at all. He is all-knowing, omnipotent, the almighty, and never-changing. He has said many times in the scriptures to pray daily and to hearken unto His word, therefore, he will always tell us to pray, no matter if we are asking a question that should not be asked. We expressed this to Noe and told him that our Heavenly Father will never get mad for asking if something were of His, infact, he would bless us. Afterall, the only condition is if we ask in faith as it says in James 1:5. He accepted to read and pray and hopefully he will do it this time.

On Saturday, I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the temple and do the work for a deceased person. It has been awhile since I had last been but the same calm, peaceful spirit was definitely the same one that I remember. I know that it is His house and that it's a house of prayer. I would wish that everyone could walk on these sacred grounds to feel of that edifying spirit. I have found great guidance in just sitting and thinking of nothing but the things that the Lord would want me to do. I'm so thankful for those tender mercies that have come through the temple and I'm so thankful to have them here on the earth to be a beacon of light to look forward to. On that same day, I had the opportunity to go to Francisca's baptism. It was great! I can't believe that the whole family is baptized, except for the older siblings. It will be such a great miracle to see them go through the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. It was great seeing the old ward I had served in, it's always great to see familiar faces.

I want to let you all know that I love you all. You are all such a great support, especially you Mom & Dad. I know I couldn't have done this without you. The way you raised me and the way you have supported me along the way. I love you all so much and miss you a lot. I hope that the Lord may encircle you with all His tender mercies. Till next week.

Elder Leavell

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