Sunday, November 30, 2014

Time and Study and Teaching

November 24, 2014

It's been a good week. We continue to face the normal, predictable problems of not being able to stay in very frequent contact with people. It's an annoying pattern. We'll have a really good lesson with someone, schedule a return appointment, and then for whatever reason they'll have to cancel, and then we won't be able to get another appointment.

But other than that problem, we've had a very good week. We were finally able to teach some people that we've been trying to teach for a long time. One was a family I met my very first day in the area. We finally sat down with the mom and briefly went over the Restoration with her. They aren't really interested in considering changing churches, but were interested in learning more so we'll probably go by there again soon. The other was a woman that the sisters have been trying to teach since before I got here. We've gone by plenty of times, and she's been reading the Book of Mormon a lot, but never had time to talk with us. We finally sat down with her and had a good discussion, hopefully we'll see her again tonight.

I think the most interesting lesson this week was one with a lady we met about a month ago. Our first visit with her was very interesting, and at some points was on the verge of being contentious, although neither of us meant for it to be that way, we were just having a hard time understanding each other. There were moments when the Spirit was in the first lesson, but for the most part I felt like we were debating rather than discussing the gospel. She asked us some questions that we didn't have very good answers for (where could we find Joseph Smith in the Bible and about Lehi's lineage), so we promised to research them and come back with better answers. When we went back, the feeling in the lesson was entirely different. The Spirit was there the whole time. Ideas that had been major stumbling blocks for her before we were now able to explain clearly. 

We had put a lot of time and study into her questions, and she really appreciated it. Her question about Joseph Smith I studied a lot. I knew that I wasn't going to find his name spelled out in the Bible, but there were some more subtle references I found. But the most valuable thing I learned from what I studied was how to better explain Joseph Smith's role to people. So many people down here think we worship Joseph Smith, and when we try to explain that it was through Joseph Smith that Christ brought back the truth, they either think we're saying that Joseph Smith had to finish Christ's work because Christ couldn't or that Joseph Smith introduced a different gospel than the one Christ taught. It really confuses them and puts them off. But as I studied for her lesson, I realized that we could explain that Joseph Smith had the same purpose as John the Baptist- John came before Jesus Christ to prepare the people to receive Him, and Joseph Smith did the same thing. Explaining it that way made the Restoration much clearer to her.
I think the difference in this lesson was that we had a mutual respect for each other, and she had really warmed up to the things we had shared with her, and we were more firm in what we believe. We were really bold with her, and instead of turning her off or offending her our boldness is what helped her to feel the Spirit. When we ended the lesson, she had committed to come to church in the next couple weeks and to read the Book of Mormon. I love how God can soften hearts, and how as people open their hearts the Spirit helps them to understand.

These next couple weeks are going to be really busy for us. We've got a lot of people to teach, as well as Thanksgiving. We're having two Thanksgivings, one on Wednesday and then the following day with Patty. We've gotten a couple other invitations to dinners, so we may go to a couple on Thursday.

I love y'all, thank you for all the letters and encouragement. I'm looking forward to seeing you soon. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

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