I can certainly echo Elder Perry from this last conference when he thanks his family for making his life "so rich". Casan, your testimony is inspiring and has helped my testimony this week. Kynsie, I'm so proud of your response with standing up for your choices! Dad, I have been reading the paper you wrote on the Book of Mormon and I love love love it! Thank you!Ty and Landon, you 2 are both absotively posolutely fantabularistic and magnarvelous. I wish the missionaries here knew you like I know you so they would know how blessed I am to be your sister. Aubrey, I love that you are most always the first to write in these letters, and the things you send make me smile. Mom, I am so excited for all these things you get to do with everyone.
Yes I love you. All of you.
The week was good. I am well.
My companion is fun.
No luck with the work, but better: blessings. Lots of them.
The hottest day I've had so far here is 115.
Japanese food was really good, a dish called curry rice.
My Sunday was incredible, I wrote about it later in this email.
Update on the work:
Wednesday Hermana Duncan and I were going to visit a potential investigator we tracted into the week before and a boy was walking down the side walk. We contacted him and asked him if he was interested in our message and he said sure so we talked to him and gave him a B of M and asked if he was interested in learning more sometime. He said yeah, we asked when would be good and he said, "well, does now work?" so we taught him the Restoration then and there. We were supposed to meet him yesterday again but it didn't work out, he's 17 (name is Sean) and one of his close friends is a brilliant young woman that we're closed to named Devoree. She's helping us get another chance to teach him. That night we taught the young women the Preach My Gospel class on the restoration. They were all very engaged in the discussion and we talked about how these principles were specifically foundational to our conversion and spiritual growth. Charlotte was there, she loved it and got the first lesson (finally!).
Thursday I was asked to play a musical number in church this coming sunday for 2 missionaries coming home on the same day (they're twins). That will be so cool, especially since I've been thinking a lot about Landon and Ty as I've been practicing this piece.
Friday we had lunch with 3 less-active members. It was really good food but I couldn't understand a word since my companion talked to and taught them the whole time in Spanish. It was great.
Saturday Leslie (woman with cancer and 7 kids) and her husband Doug came to the adult session of Stake Conference and loved it! One of our less-active members surprised us by showing up after weeks of not answering the door. Bishop had a warm visit with her after.
Sunday Charlotte and Matthew (Leslie's 13-year-old son and oldest child) attended the youth session of Stake Conference at 8am with Elder Christofferson there. Later at the general session, Charlotte, Mike Hinkle (non-member, his daughter is a member attending BYU and his wife is more interested but out of town. He's not interested but he still came on his own!), Sister Reeves (less-active), Lori Hume (our investigator that dropped us, we set another time to start teaching her again this week), Dennis Litton (Lori's brother, convert of 2 years but has been less active due to word of wisdom problems. He's coming back though and helping to fellowship Lori and be a missionary to her!) were all there.
Through tracting and contacting we have 7 potential investigators that we are planning on returning to see and teach. One is the minister of another Christian faith who has met with LDS missionaries before (about a year ago), we have an appt. with him next Monday.
BEST update so far (besides attending the temple). I copied and pasted it from what I typed up yesterday so some things may be repeated that I already said in my email above.
These are my notes that I recorded:
· I am so grateful for you.
· Honoring the Sabbath Day and keeping it Holy will help you believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Christ's Atonement faster and better than anything else.
· Love and serve in light and truth.
· What the Atonement fixes stays fixed.
· Leviticus 26:12
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
· Councils facilitate revelation. Most revelation comes as an answer to a question, and if you get the question right, you're more likely to get the answer.
· In sharing we come to understand. We don't want to go forward until we know The Lord's will. If we're all in tune with The Lord's will He won't hide it, we will get it; sometimes He makes us work for it, but it comes.
· The attack on The Prophet Joseph Smith is increasing. It suggests to me that something specifically good and very important is about to come.
· Joseph Smith not only came to know of Jesus Christ but He came to know Him, He became His friend.
· There is no reasonable explanation of the coming of The Book of Mormon than what Joseph Smith said, that it was by the power of God. There is where my conversion originated and continues to grow and deepen.
· Joseph Smith fulfilled his mission, he fulfilled his commission, and he stands with Jesus Christ having given a good report of what he has done with what has been put into his hands.
· There is no one here that is incapable of becoming a holy man or woman to return to the presence of God. This path in this life doesn't end until eternal life. Stay on the path, will ya?
· We do need His grace. If you stay with Christ, you will overcome. Otherwise, you will be overcome. Bind yourself to jesus Christ, don't let anything come between you and Him.
· If you have faith, you have everything. All things will be added unto you if it's a strong faith.
· You are not a stranger to the person you're praying to, your Heavenly Father.
· Assigning missionaries to their mission is a testimony to me of Heavenly Father's love and knowledge of each of His children, it is so certain to me.
· I hop you pray for each other.
· The Holy Ghost communicates so that you know by feeling. It becomes familiar.
· Words you can misunderstand, but the Spirit you cannot misunderstand. I would hate to do what I am called to do without The Spirit because I know I would fail.
· You stay strong and stay faithful no matter what.
· We grow to love what we serve and who we serve.
· It's possible to have complete forgiveness.
· Christ's resurrection makes all the difference. You are His. He will guide you, you will come to know Him. Not only know of Him, but to know Him.
· Faith comes by hearing the word of God from one having authority from God and being moved by The Spirit. Anyone saying anything other than the word of God claiming it by authority from God is taking His name in vain.
· Faith is a gift of the Spirit.
· There is a cycle of faith and knowledge until there is a fulness. Faith is the reward of obedience. Greater obedience makes greater faith, and perfect obedience makes lasting faith.
· The sequence of faith and repentance is true, as well as the sequence of repentance and faith, both are true.
· Sacrifice influences our endowment of faith.
· The essence of Christ's sacrifice was that His will was swallowed up in the will of The Father. A sacrifice on our part in similitude of His is for us to, over the course of time, have our will consistent with His.
· Your faith will be such that you can endure whatever you must, and do it well. Whatever your circumstances, your faith will see you through and many others. You will fulfill your mission and have joy in all of it.
· After I was first sustained as one of the 12, I was uncomfortable at first because I felt I didn't belong. We were in the temple and I remember seeing President Packer staring at me. I told him he looked surprised to see me, and he replied, “This is not a look of surprise but a look of pleasure, I'm pleased to see you here.” This will be what Jesus Christ says to you as He looks at you when you see Him.
Some funny things they said:
· As Elder Bragg began to speak he said, “Usually I'm the one standing between you and food. But tonight it's worse because I'm the one standing between you an apostle. I'll try to be brief.” Then as Elder Christofferson began to speak he said, “Now I'm the one standing between you and your food . . . and my food.”
· In reading from the handbook when speaking a little about councils, Elder Christofferson read, “'Men often think differently than women.' (pause) . . . who wrote that? Duh! We need that in the handbook? That's so obvious. I don't understand.”
· Elder Bragg bore testimony that we were about to hear from a living apostle, so did President Brennan. Elder Christofferson began that talk, “Elder Bragg and the Stake President have referred to me as a Living Apostle. That is good to hear. Sometimes I wonder and have to double check, so thanks for letting me know.”
· Elder Christofferson showed us his traveling scriptures which have not study helps or maps or topical guide/bible dictionary, etc., just the text and it makes the book look so much smaller and lighter (for the purpose of traveling). He told us it was Elder Holland's idea so all of the 12 have their “Holland edition” of scripture.
· In the youth session Elder Christofferson left some time for quesitons. There were a lot of great questions that reflected the youth's preparation, I was impressed. But one of the questions was asking him what his favorite scripture was. He said he didn't have one, he couldn't choose. But if he had to choose one then it would be John 8:29. As he was turning to it and searching for it though he said, “probably now I'd choose this one in John . . . give me a second to find it, I think it's in chapter 8 if it hasn't moved it's place, scriptures tend to move around sometimes. Especially when they know you're looking for them.”
These notes aren't quite word-for word, but I was careful to not lose the meaning and truth behind what he said. He also expounded on some things more that I couldn't quite write down, like what he said about the increasing attack on Joseph Smith indicating to him of something important and very good about to happen. He talked about the tendency Satan has to maximize his attacks on those things just before remarkable and essential things are about to be brought to pass. He also continued to speak on the foundational truth of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God.
Two things that really impressed me were that after the general session, Elder Christofferson asked that the children be brought so he could shake their hands, because he wouldn't have time for everyone but at least for the children to be brought up and he could greet each of them. Another was that during the youth question/answer time, he would always clarify their question as he perceived what they were really asking and answer them, like when the youth asked for his favorite scripture and he clarified he didn't have one, but for the sake of that youth's purpose in asking he found one anyway. He answered each question this way, especially the ones more doctrinally based.
President Brennan spoke tenderly of repentance, it was inspiring. He also spoke of missionary work as a way (not the only of course though) to make restitution for our sins.
President Orgill spoke on the need to drink deeply and often from the Book of Mormon, as Elder Henry B. Eyring has said, and that we cannot survive without doing so.
One more thing from this conference I'll add: Sister Orgill (mission president's wife) said this: “If you rescue someone's lost one, you have the right to petition heaven for yours.”
Leslie Collins and her husband, Doug, attended the adult session Saturday night. She has cancer and they have 7 kids. We are teaching their family together Monday night with Holly Mauss, who is working on her missionary papers and babysits for the Collins regularly. Their son Matthew, age 13, attended the youth session Sunday morning and sat in the very front row.
Charlotte, age 16, attended the youth and general sessions on Sunday. She wants to be baptized and take the lessons but her parents won't allow her to. She comes to church every week and activities for the Young Women.
Dennis Litton is a returning less-active member and a convert of about 2 years. He is working on overcoming some issues with braking the word of wisdom.
Dennis' sister, Lori Hume, attended the general session of stake conference. She's not a member, has had missionaries over but dropped them because she would get anxious when lessons were focused on her, but Dennis is actively setting up opportunities for her to be taught in a member's home with him and the missionaries have picked her up again as an investigator due to his missionary efforts.
Mike Hinkle's teenage daughter is a member of the church, but he and his wife are not. He's not very interested but came to the general session, and his wife is interested but was out of town this weekend.
Elder Medina and Elder Forthman brought an investigator of theirs to the general session who, after it ended, leaned over to them and asked how to become a member.
Have an amazing week!
- Sister Shumway