Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Stake Conference, Road Closures, and More June 15, 2015

This week was pretty good. and also pretty normal.

We had two lessons this week though that I would consider to be breakthrough lessons. The first was with our investigator named C. C is from an area that is pretty far away and has been taught by the missionaries for about a year. He feels like getting baptized is the right choice for him, but he doesn't feel ready and has a sister who is pretty opposed to him getting baptized... He is really good friends with a member though, which is really great because he is able to ride to church with them. We had an awesome lesson where we found out that he hasn't really been reading his scriptures lately. We read Alma 32 about the how exercising our faith is like planting a seed. We talked about all of the things that he needs to do to prepare for his baptism like praying, reading, going to church, and following the other commandments. He wasn't able to make it to church this week because of the road closure though...

They closed the main highway here in pili for a triathlon this sunday... really bad timing... It was also the day of our stake conference... I guess the stake president didn't know about it or something... The 10 or so members of our ward who actually went to the conference ended up having to get up between 4 and 5 am to make it to the church on time. (We just spent the night at the zone leaders' house on saturday.) They did end up getting a shout out from the stake president though because they cleaned up the church before everyone got there. Pretty sweet. The stake conference was pretty good though. It was actually a broadcast. We didn't get to hear the first half because we gave up our seats to members, but they finally got a tv hooked up for us in one of the back rooms towards the end of the conference and we got to hear Elder Andersen speak. It was really good. The things he suggested could definitely help the church here, but I just don't know how much the people here understood... They try really hard to understand the english.

Our other breakthrough lesson happened this Friday. We have been teaching R for a little while now. They just moved into our area from the sisters area about a month ago. He has tried a lot of different churches, but is most recently coming from the Iglesia ni Cristo. He has a lot of concerns and questions about our doctrine and really wants to know every little detail. He also hasn't ever read his assignments while we weren't there... What made our lesson so great this week was that we brought a member with us. Moises, our philosopher friend came with us and talked a lot about his conversion story. Moises was an atheist for a really long time before he joined the church. He talked about the power of the Book of Mormon and the importance of the Spirit in his conversion which was key for R to understand. He was kind of looking for evidence from the bible for every doctrine that we teach and not really paying much attention to what we said about the Spirit. It was really great and before we left, he told us that he was really going to read his assignment. YES! We were so happy to hear about that. There is just such a huge difference from looking at the gospel from an intellectual perspective to looking at it from a spiritual perspective. We just won't gain the strong testimony that we need if we only think about the gospel, we need to receive that witness from the Spirit and do the things that will help us to have the Spirit with us always.

Other than that, things seem like they are going pretty slow here... It always seems like we have so many people to visit, but never enough time to do it... and I know we need to be finding others too. It is kind of stressful, but very rewarding as well.

The greenie is doing pretty well. He Is way better off than I was during my training because he already knows the language. He is already great at teaching and fearless in finding. He just has a hard time being bold sometimes maybe because of his culture. I know he just doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. It is a wonderful thing to be considerate of others, but you sometimes have to ask the hard questions as a missionary. It is definitely part of our calling to call others to repentance.

Everything is going pretty ok here. I guess our area is just kinda big. That might be just about the only problem here. It is hard to get to everyone and to keep finding. We'll take care of it though :) I really like dad's advice. Love is what missionary work is all about. I know that if we really love the Savior, we will go and do everything he asks of us and will be able to work miracles.

Love you tons!
Have a great week!

Elder Merrill

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