Monday, August 5, 2013

Ether 12:6 Exemplified!

"And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."

Dear Family and Friends,

I’ve been sitting at this computer for 30 minutes or so, trying to figure out how to start this letter. This week has been a Godsend, and I’m trying to figure out how to do justice to it in a letter.

I talked about how hard last week was. We had no investigators, and we spent hour after hour after hour after day knocking door after apartment complex after neighborhood after door, seeing very little success. It was a hard week.... but one of the reasons it was so difficult was that I had been so very focused on numbers. I was so frustrated that we weren't hitting 20 lessons a week (our standard of excellence) and no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to change that.

This week started with MLC. We organized what is called the "big lift". Basically, a big lift is when the AP's and the traveling sisters and the STL's and the ZL's all come together and form a team, and send every missionary in an entire zone on exchanges at the same time. Elder Cardon (one of the Assistants to the President, or AP's) made us planner covers with all of the goals for the big lift printed on them: "Invite all to come follow the Savior" "Leave everything on the field" "Demonstrate the perfect day" " Minister to missionaries" "Use your authority" " Put 400 on date" (we have a mission goal of 100 baptisms this month.... we need 400 on date to do it, statistically) "No regrets!" We talked a lot about three [groups of] people: The missionaries in my stewardship. The people we teach. The Savior. These 3 groups of people are all my brothers and sisters. They make up my family. When I think about it like that, it’s easy to be bold. It’s easy to invite people to baptism. It’s easy to love every person I meet.

So, I decided to start that day. Everyone I saw, I tried to invite (tried being the operative word. I’m not perfect yet..... but I'm working at it ;)) I got the info of our sweet waffle house waitress, I stopped a man who was obviously working and was obviously with another church, and I tried to remember that the person behind every door I knock is a precious soul, my brother or sister. They’re lost, and I have the map. My message is that important.

Then, at ZTM on Thursday, sister Belyea and I got to give a training on contacting (super inspired topic, that’s all we'd been doing for the past week or so ;)) We talked a lot about how the Savior invited everyone to come follow him, and if the Savior were right here right now, he would ask everyone he met to do the things they'd seen him do. Cool training to give. We also got to hear from our Zone Leaders, and they gave the most spiritual trainings I’ve ever heard. The spirit was tangible, it was so strong. (Have I told y’all how much I love our ZL's? Elder Cranford and Elder Tanner are the best zone leaders I’ve had. They truly love and serve the missionaries they have stewardship over. They're awesome!!! I’m so privileged to be able to work with them.)

Elder Cramford trained on charity and love. He read the definition of charity from the Bible dictionary: "the highest noblest strongest kind of love, not merely affection; the pure love of Christ. It’s never used to denote alms or deeds or benevolence, although it may be a prompting motive". He then read the story "Find Me" written by a missionary in the 70's. I’ll send the author of it next week, but sakes alive, that story is so powerful. It talks about 2 best friends in the premortal existence, one of whom was going to be born to an LDS family in Hooper, Utah, and the other who was going to be born into a family that'd never even heard of a temple. The last words of this friend, before he was born were FIND ME. Find me and teach me the Gospel. I know from the blessing I got when I was set apart, that there are people here in South Carolina that I knew well, and loved in the pre-mortal life, that told me the very same thing.... "Find me." I promised them that I would, and so here I am. Anyways, it was such a great training.

Elder Tanner gave a training on having spiritual power, and on forsaking the world. He had us close our eyes, while he read from the bible the account of Jesus Christ suffering... saying “Father if it be thy will, let this cup pass." Then, he gave it up. He gave up what he wanted for what his father needed him to do. Now, compared to that, what have I been asked to give up? Not much. Now, it may be hard, but it was harder for him. It may hurt, but it hurt him more. I can ask the Lord for a new heart... he gave me the one I have now; he can give me a new one. I can do what he asks me to do.

Her amazing Zone Leaders!  This was taken after they went to the Temple with President Holm.

Sister Belyea and Bryndee after Baptisms with President Holm.  WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE!

So, with all of this new fire and spirit for missionary work, Sister Belyea and I went to work with new energy. Aaannnnddd..... We put 4 solid people on date to be baptized. :) We finally have actual investigators to work with! :D

One of the people we're working with is BT. he's a cool black guy with a very simple testimony, and a deep desire to be baptized. We told him he had to go to church at least twice, before he could be baptized, and he was visibly upset. He has to work Sundays, but he's working on fixing his schedule and trading shifts so he can come and be baptized. Way cool!

Another one is Robert. We knocked into him, and when he agreed to talk with us we launched into the restoration, but were stopped by the spirit. . As we listened to him talk, Sis. Belyea and I were both impressed to share the plan of salvation. We totally switched gears, and he ended up loving it! Rob grew up in Maine where he is friends with a lot of shady characters and "judgmental Catholics" (his words, not mine... let it be known by the internet that I love Catholics just as much as any other person!) we were able to answer lots of his questions, and he really liked our views on the 3 degrees of glory.

Anyways, I’m running out of time to type, and I know my spelling stinks in this letter.... just ignore it :) I love you all, and I hope this letter makes some semblance of sense!

Y’all have a blessed week!

S. Derrick

Plan of Salvation cards she made...Cute huh!

A Great and Spacious Building!

You know you have been a missionary for a long time when you see the number 600 but your brain sees the name God.

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