Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 18 Letter

Woo-hoo!! Stephen set a baptismal date!! Mark your calendars! Haha

He is the funniest guy to teach. We were planning on teaching about obedience to commandments, with a brief introduction to tithing, word of wisdom, Sabbath day observance, and so on. We figured we would start by talking about the blessings of obedience and the purpose of commandments by reading Mosiah 2:41 ("consider on the blessed and happy state of those who keep the commandments") and Alma 41:3 ("wickedness never was happiness"). Well, we went in and started with normal casual small talk, and asked him how his day at school was. He started talking about a debate he had in his philosophy class about whether it was possible to be moral and happy at the same time, and how flustered he was that people didn't seem to understand that morality was the only way to lasting happiness. Hahaha it blew our minds.

Anyways, after our lesson, we talked about how covenants a) are very important commandments and b) open up the opportunity for even more growth, both of which he knew. So, we invited him to choose a date to be working towards, and we set it for December 8th

Our only concern is that his wife has never been too involved. So far she hasn't put up any real resistance... but it's tough to say how long that will last. She works nights, so most of the time that we are there, she's just sound asleep. When she is awake, she just keeps to herself and doesn't say anything. Ideally she will get involved, but at the very least we hope she will be okay with him moving forward. The kids love church... she just won't come. I don't know. Pray for that family!

We also had a great day with the Asians. Literally, a day. Haha they'd asked us to come over earlier this time, we assumed so they could have their evening to themselves. So, instead of 6 or 7 like usual, we went over at 4. Logically, that would mean we'd be leaving at 6 or 7 instead of 8 or 9, right? Nope. Instead, it just meant two extra hours with Asians! We went over, talked, had a lesson, and were about to go when Andrea acted really upset that we weren't staying for dinner. So we sat there while she cooked dinner, actually left with Guo Jian to teach a lesson, and came back for dinner until it was time to go home. They're some of my favorite people ever!

Over there, we taught them the plan of salvation. It was pretty hard because it feels like we were just throwing new term after new term at them. Premortal life, the Fall of Adam, Agency, Spirit Prison and Paradise, Judgement, Resurrection, Celestial, Terrestrial, Telestial, and on and on and on... It was rough. But it ended up all right, mostly because we then really focused on what our obligation was on this Earth. We talked about the Doctrine of Christ, which was easy enough because they'd both read 2 Nephi 31 that week. We asked them if they felt their faith had increased over the past couple of months since we'd been meeting with them, and they both said yes! Jerry jumped right on it and explained how much and why, where Andrea was a little more hesitant. After a little talking, though, she admitted that he faith was being strengthened. She had told us a while back that she's always believed there was some higher power, and she still maintains that she doesn't know quite who or what it is, but did admit she felt closer to "it" lately, especially as she prays. Sounds about right! They both then agreed that they would get baptized when they were ready, which sounds pretty obvious, but when we floated around the idea of December or January, they both thought that sounded reasonable. Hopefully we'll set a more firm date with them this time around :)

Other than that... we really don't have much to report. Ha, we've been dropped a lot lately. It's like we have Stephen and the Asians... and everyone else investigates and progresses for somewhere between two days and two weeks, then disappears. It's frustrating. Buuut at least we have Stephen and the Asians. They're a lot of fun!

I feel like I should have more to say... but I'm really drawing a blank. We had stake conference this weekend, which was great. Our stake president is the most missionary-focused man I have ever met, and pretty much the whole conference emphasized missionary work. So hopefully that works out well! He's been having us go around to all the members' homes, reading this section from Elder Ballard's talk:

"Brothers and sisters, fear will be replaced with faith and confidence when members and the full-time missionaries kneel in prayer and ask the Lord to bless them with missionary opportunities. Then, we must demonstrate our faith and watch for opportunities to introduce the gospel of Jesus Christ to our Heavenly Father’s children, and surely those opportunities will come. These opportunities will never require a forced or a contrived response. They will flow as a natural result of our love for our brothers and sisters. Just be positive, and those whom you speak with will feel your love. They will never forget that feeling, though the timing may not be right for them to embrace the gospel. That too may change in the future when their circumstances change.
"It is impossible for us to fail when we do our best when we are on the Lord’s errand. While the outcome is a result of the exercise of one’s agency, sharing the gospel is our responsibility.
"Trust the Lord. He is the Good Shepherd. He knows His sheep, and His sheep know His voice; and today the voice of the Good Shepherd is your voice and my voice."

and then acting on it! So, we've been going around praying with members all over. It's slow work, obviously, because it's not like tracting where you can get three new investigators an hour. But, hopefully it opens things up to get really solid investigators more. Should be great, especially with this last stake conference.

Haha the stake primary president also spoke in conference. She has been working in primary for some 20 years or something by now, and is now moving to Ohio. At the end of her talk, she had all of the kids who had ever had anything to do with primary while she'd been there (so all of the current primary kids in the stake, any of them who graduated within the past four years or so, all of them in her home ward who are now 15-20 or so, and a few other random groups) stand up and sing "If the Savior Stood Beside Me." Good grief, tear jerker. I'm not much of a crier, but I wimped out there. 

Well, like I said... I don't have much else to report. So, have a great week! I love you all!

But, of course I don't miss you ;) haha 
Elder Allen

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