Sunday, April 13, 2014

General Conference

It has been a great week. Sister McNeece and I have been really busy, and it's been great. I love being a busy missionary. Time flies and I feel so much more fulfilled. We've started teaching a couple former investigators again. One of them was taught by the sisters a lot right before I got here but then he kind of dropped off the face of the earth for awhile. But he's back now. Sister Rowley described him to me as a 50 year old black man who acts like a 15 year old boy. After meeting him and teaching him, I think she had it about right. He's really nice and he's very willing to learn more about the gospel. He a person where you really have to make sure you're teaching to his needs. We taught him on Thursday about the importance of the Book of Mormon. He wasn't really getting the point we were trying to make, until a member who was with us pulled up a Mormon Message on her ipad. He really liked that and understood exactly what we were trying to teach him. 

The other former we've started teaching again is in his 60s, married with a couple grown kids. He's really nice. We had an amazing lesson with him on Friday night. The member who was going to come with us fell through, and we only had about an hour to find someone else, and who's free on a friday night? Our Relief Society president, agreed to come with us, and it was an amazing lesson. We didn't teach what we had planned. He had a lot of questions about baptism, and how we know that someone has the authority to baptize. That's a big hurdle down here, because so many people have been baptized and they consider that baptism valid. But we were able to use the scriptures to help him understand more the pattern of how men recieve the priesthood. It was great and he and the Relief Society president got along really well.

Most of what we did during the beginning of the week was in preparation for general conference, trying to get as many people there as possible. We invited whoever we could think of. General Conference is interesting out here. Since you can get conference on BYUtv and online, most members stay home. There was barely anyone at the church on Saturday. Sunday is a little better. There were quite a few families from our ward, a couple from 3rd ward, and a whole bunch from the Spanish branch. In between sessions, everyone sets up tables in the cultural hall and they all bring lunch to eat. We ate with a family, and then everyone shares desserts and everyone wants the missionaries to eat their desserts, so we got lots of dessert. 

One of our new investigators came to the last session of conference, which made us super excited! He seemed to really like it, he said it gave him a lot to think about. Our less active member also came to the last session. We'd called her visiting teacher earlier in the week and asked her to invite her and bring her, which she did. And then we ended up having dinner with them after conference. It was really great to see that their friendship is developing.

Sister McNeece found out this morning that her grandmother passed away yesterday afternoon. It's obviously really sad for her, and hard for her to be away from her family right now, but she's taking it really well. Just keep her and her family in your prayers.

My favorite quote from Preach My Gospel this week is on p.9, from Elder Oaks, "We do not preach and teach in order to 'bring people into the Church' or to increase the membership of the Church. We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives... We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism and confirmation in order to open the doors of the celestial kingdom to the sons and daughters of God. No one else can do this". If all we were was just another Christian church, missionary work would not be worth it. It takes so much effort to find, teach, and baptize and confirm someone. If all we had to offer was just a slightly better way of life, all that effort would not be worth it. But because we are offering people the gateway to eternal life it is worth it. It's worth all the time away from family, all the walking, all the rejection and persecution, all the worrying if you're doing enough, all the difficulty of living with the same person 24/7, all the planning and replanning when things fall through, it's worth all that. 

I am so grateful to be a full time missionary and so excited for Matthew to be a full time missionary. And I'm especially grateful that I will still be a missionary even when I come home, because I don't think there's any more rewarding work than helping people accept the gospel. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support. I love you, and I hope you have a blessed week.

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