Monday, June 25, 2012

Elaine and I after church Sunday

Robert is one of our regulars at the VC. He always brightens my day with his extensive vocabulary :)
Friends and Family,

 I hope things are going a little more smoothly back home. I'm sad to hear that grandpa had what sounds like a pretty terrible week... I'm glad to know that he will be alright, especially after seeing the pictures of his totaled truck! It's been a busy week for me as usual, but I like being busy in general. Elder Johnson from the Quorum of the Seventy and his wife came and trained us at our zone conference. He talked a lot about how we learn spiritually and how it is similar to other types of learning, but completely different as well. Like learning a skill, learning spiritually takes practice and repetition. We can read the Book of Mormon 100 times and still learn spiritually. Basic beliefs can be added upon and our knowledge increases. If we are learning factually all that is required is study and memorization. He taught us that too often, missionaries are content when the people they're teaching get the facts down and think that reason enough to move on. We talked a lot about how spiritual learning requires action. Unless someone has an experience where the spirit testifies to them that something is true then they can't fully understand what the gospel of Jesus Christ means in their life personally. If it isn't personal then it isn't lasting. These kind of experiences require us to do something, to take an action based on faith. We receive a witness only after the trial of our faith. Am I the only one that seems to constantly forget that? I'm slowly learning one experience at a time that as we simply go on; as we do what is right continuously the Lord will direct our paths. Too often I hesitate, waiting for some kind of spiritual witness that will tell me that "yes, that is what I need to do or say." Unfortunately it doesn't work that way! At least not for me. However, more and more often I am able to look back and see that as we pressed forward with faith things have fallen into place. I'm sure that learning to recognize and follow the spirit will be a life-long pursuit for me, but I'm learning now that the recognizing part will not always come before the following and for now that's OK. I wonder if those of us who grew up with the spirit in our homes, associating with people worthy of it, and just always having the gospel to direct us sometimes take that spirit for granted, or fail to recognize it simply because we are so used to it. When I think of it that way it doesn't stress me out so much that I'm not receiving or recognizing a constant stream of direction from the spirit. I'm just grateful that it has been a part of my life always and that my struggle is recognizing it, when it could be not even knowing about it, or heaven forbid not wanting it! Anyway, we also talked about how our willingness to continuously learn and live the doctrine of Christ will help us become more powerful teachers because we will KNOW that it works on a deeper level than we did before, and more fully appreciate the blessings that come from being truly converted.The last thing we discussed was how to be a low-maintenance and high yield missionary and ultimately member of the church. Someone that fits that description is basically someone that doesn't ask "what can the church do for me?" but, "what can I do for the church?" It's also someone that provides solutions rather than just problems, and the best part is that they are usually the happiest out of the bunch. In the end it was a really good conference and we left with a lot to think about and do differently. Otherwise we had a great week in our area. There must be something in the water because twice this week people stopped US and asked US to pray with them. The first man actually knelt down on the side of one of the busiest streets in our area(Sunset Blvd.) and offered a prayer. The second one was a woman and she held our hands and prayed and then asked me to. Both prayers were... extremely unique and neither resulted in return appointments, but I am glad that we were recognized as servants of the Lord. We saw Richie again of course and he is progressing, but feeling a little overwhelmed. Rob and Cade are still out of town, and we see Zach every now and again at the Visitors' Center. We have a new investigator named Elaine who we haven't actually taught yet, but we invited her to church and she came! She was only able to stay the first hour, but she seemed to enjoy it and ended up staying for a while talking to people. She mentioned that there were a lot of similarities with Catholic Mass which made her feel comfortable, and she really liked the differences as well. She specifically mentioned that she loved that it was so family oriented, that kids are kind of allowed to be kids and it really impressed her that the speakers were out of the congregation, especially because the talks were great this week. Wow. As I was sitting with her in sacrament meeting and kind of explaining things I came to a realization that I sure hope I can remember because it was a pretty big one for me. It is easy to let doubt creep in and think that if I wasn't here someone else would be. Sometimes I just feel like (and I know this is terrible) I'm just doing a lot of things, and I'm so tired, and maybe not much is happening or the great things that are happening still would be if I wasn't here etc. BUT as I was talking with Elaine I realized (and I know this sounds obvious) but if I wasn't here, then I wouldn't be here! I have been given this time to be a part of the miracles that are happening. What an opportunity and wonderful gift! I know that hearts are being prepared to receive the gospel and I am so grateful that I had the desire to find out what a mission would be like because now I get to be a small part of this marvelous work. Sister Davis

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