This Gospel is made up of basic truths. We’ve been told countless times to, “Anchor our faith in the plain and simple truths of the Gospel,” and, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ is beautifully simple and simply beautiful.”
Growing up in the church, I had the privilege of learning these simple truths through one of my favorite ways, children’s songs. Yesterday at Sacrament meeting was our Primary Program. I got to hear small children bear powerful witness of these simple truths:
–We are children of a loving Heavenly Father.
–He has a plan for us.
–Heavenly Father hears our prayers.
–We are all trying our best to become more like Jesus Christ and love others.
–Our faith starts small but can be strengthened through obedience.
–We can have an eternal family through the ordinances of the temple.
And so many more…
I get to teach these simple truths every day, and as I watch people come to hear, understand, and believe for themselves, the experiences are incredible!
1. Heavenly Father hears our prayers
A week ago we had a friend randomly show up at church that was a former investigator. One of our members had continued to fellowship her even though she wasn’t currently meeting with missionaries. Well, when the trials of life came, she reached out to this member, and she decided it was time to give the Gospel a chance. So after randomly coming to church, she set up a time to meet. That time rolled around this week, and we had the opportunity to teach her and her daughter about Jesus Christ and the Restoration. Feeling the Spirit stronger than I’d ever had before in a 1st lesson, we asked this friend to try and describe what she was feeling in that moment. She said she couldn’t fully understand the warmth or the calm, but it was exactly the peace that she felt when she looked into her newborn child’s face for the first time. Watching her describe it, we knew it was the Spirit, so we invited her to say a prayer to know if our message was true. Now, if I haven’t told you before, I’ll tell you now, but hearing someone pray for the first time in their life to a God they hope is there, is powerful and probably one of my favorite parts of missionary work. Listening to that earnest desire as she told Heavenly Father she wanted it to be true was enough to bring me and my companion to tears. It was beautiful, and I know that Heavenly Father heard that prayer of His pleading child.
2. We can have an eternal family
Dolly is the child of a less active member in our ward. This member has one daughter who’s less active and another who isn’t baptized. The one who hasn’t been baptized yet is Dolly. We’ve spent a while trying to become this family’s friend and gain their trust. Lots of cards delivered and texts full of love and listening. Lots and lots of listening. As we help them rekindle the good feelings they have about the Gospel, it’s been amazing to watch them progress. One day we decided to invite Dolly out to play basketball with us during exercise because she loves basketball. Through lots of laughter and smiles the conversation naturally took itself towards the stresses of life and her desires to actually learn more about Jesus Christ. Now, she had met on and off with the missionaries in the past, but never really understood why she would want to be baptized if she was going to make mistakes after. She felt like she wasn’t going to be able to make it to the end. Our lesson with her talked about faith, repentance, baptism as our first covenant with God, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the amazing blessings of enduring to the end including eternal families. The eternal families had her hooked, and now she’s on board of helping bring her mom and sister back to church. At the end of our lesson, the Spirit was strong, and even though we weren’t originally planning on it, we all knew she needed to be invited to be baptized. She was so happy to accept the invitation and now has a baptismal goal of a date she hopes to work towards and prepare herself for baptism.
3. Our faith starts small but can be strengthened
Barbie is someone we are teaching who is a friend of someone who was baptized this year. This recent convert’s testimony and change has had a large effect on her friend. However, recently she told us she felt like she didn’t have any faith in what we are sharing with her. We challenged her to go back to the basics, to actually pray and actually read her scriptures. She had some cool experiences with receiving help and answers to prayers that has ignited that little bit of hope she had that it was true. Then when we met with her this week, she candidly asked us when she was going to be baptized. It caught us very off guard because we had decided she wasn’t ready for baptism yet. But we all felt the Spirit, knew we were wrong, and that God had His own time table. Her faith had increased so much in such a short period of time, and she also set a baptismal goal.
4. He has a plan for us
Lin JM is incredible! One of the first lessons we shared was the Plan of Salvation. Some things had happened in her life and she needed to be reminded of God’s love and His plan. We had also given her a Book of Mormon and invited her to start reading. Well she did, and she also started doing some research. Now usually, that’s scary. BUT…she sent us the video about Joseph Smith’s First Vision and said, this boy is exactly like me. We are both searching for the truth. Well the next day we were scheduled to share the story of the Restoration and she was all in. She knew that God’s plan for her now meant she had to act on the truth. Due to her previous Christian background, she spent a lot of time asking questions about Priesthood authority. You could see her soaking it all up, and when my companion invited her to be baptized, her response was, What day? I’ll make sure I ask for work off” Haha we’ve got some work to do to make sure she actually has a testimony, but she is also working towards a baptismal goal.
Let’s just say, this week had a lot of miracles shine through! It’s the simple Gospel truths that keep us going through the challenges. Don’t complicate those. The are simple, they are unchanging, because Heavenly Father loves us!
Funny things that happened this week:
1. There’s a new app on missionary phones called “Calm”, and it basically teaches different relaxation methods. Well in District Council everyone seemed way stressed, so our district leader made us all do a laying down breathing exercise haha. This soothing male voice walks you through steps of relaxation and then slowly brings you back to reality. However, when it brought you back to reality, only Elder Bown (District Leader) and I sat up Haha the other three were passed out dead asleep on the floor hahaha. We took some funny pictures and had good laugh about it!
2. A few weeks ago we had dinner [at the home of a person] who I swear is a hoarder. The house was filthy and some of the food less than sanitary. None of us felt good after leaving the house. Well, she signed up to feed the missionaries again and we were nervous. We tried to get out of it because we had a lesson we needed to be at the chapel for. She insisted that she pick up some food and bring it to the chapel. Well it was from a restaurant, so we thought we’d be safe. Wrong. It was some nasty congealed soup. Let’s just say when she took a trip to the restroom we took a sprint to the men’s restroom and flushed it all down the toilet Haha we felt so sick the rest of the day. Funny story looking back now though!
3. One member gave us pumpkin pie for dessert from Costco. Not sure if he had ever cut a pie in his life because the pieces were far from equal-sized, but my quarter of the pie was way good!! Hahaha
4. I’ve learned that what I’ve come to accept in this country as normal is still way weird to new missionaries. For example, this week there was a group of Doterra moms doing a presentation at a Seven and massaging oils into each other. Haha we also saw someone get a facial in a Starbucks. Haha strange…
Anyways, kinda long, but I hope you have an amazing week!
I love you all so so so much!!!