March 28, 2011
“And I also will be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the Promised Land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.”
1 Nephi 17:13
This scripture is the theme of my life lately. The last sentence is the best part and the whole point of the wilderness in the first place.
Things I loved this week:
Glow has been hit with so much opposition since she got baptized and she is handling it so well. I am so impressed with her. She had a bad experience with a member who really embarrassed her and was totally discouraged and hurt and just… everything. But she was great. She asked for a blessing and an extra missionary lesson and showed up the next week at church anyway. This is huge because Glow really struggles with trusting people and feeling confident. She is very gentle and quick to doubt herself or turn away. I know it took a lot of courage and prayer for her to handle it the way she did. Also, her work is suddenly giving her a lot of trouble about having Sundays off. She straight up called the union! “I won’t do it! I have to keep my covenant!” she says. GO GLOW GO! I have never seen her be so assertive! She’s on fire!
We had a throw down lesson with the father of one of our families this week. That means the spirit spoke through us boldly, directly… but more than that… how do I explain? There is a verse in Thessalonians that talks about how Paul loved the people but also charged them. When I looked up the word charge, one of the definitions was “to fill to capacity.” A throwdown lesson is when you charge someone to fill their capacity. I LOVE THOSE. It’s when the gospel gets in your face and you must act. Act or be acted upon! If you want an answer you must do something. DO SOMETHING. I love when we get to just tell people like it is.
Sometimes you’re with people like Glow and they need to feel the spirit gently, sometimes people need it another way. God always lets us know. There was some throwdown with Ralph too, the one from Nicaragua that found us in the grocery store.
“Ojos verdes!” he said.
“Sister Brown’s eyes are getting mad! This always happens when I am lazy! Ojos verdes! The wrath of Sister Brown!”
He called me out on it.
At the beginning of the year President Martin had us all counsel with our ward councils and come up with a ward mission plan so we could reach our baptism goals this year. I love ours! And President does too! We’ve worked so hard on it. Our ward shares a general excitement for missionary work and we’re trying to turn their enthusiasm into action. We started the year with a 40 day fast where the members fast that if God will send them a prompting about who to share the gospel with, they will follow through. And He will! This is not one of those requests that ends with “thy will be done in thy timing.” It’s his will that we share the gospel, so he will definitely not withhold opportunities from us.
We started the fast with a sacrament meeting where all the recent converts shared their testimonies. These people are the reason why our ward is excited about missionary work in the first place. That and the fact that most of our ward members are converts. The entire bishopric are converts along with the Relief Society president and at least 50% of the congregation. They’ve seen the missionaries work in their lives but weren’t always in on the importance of members. We’re trying to help them see that the power is in them to help these things come about. This is not only something they get to watch, but participate in, contribute to. We need them! After everyone spoke we explained the importance of faith and what they can do to help. The fast started that night and went through mid-February. Each family signed up for one of the nights.
Since then we’ve been holding a member missionary work Sunday school class. It’s 4 weeks long and the Bishop calls a group of people to attend each 4 week session based on who signed up for the fast. This is called follow-up people. You showed your faith, let’s see some works! We talk about the difference between spiritual and social conversion. We do the spiritual part, the scary part. We invite them to pray about the Book of Mormon and live the commandments, all the stuff you’re scared of. Because we are trained and the whole world is praying for us and if people think we’re weird it’s okay! Because we’re not from here and we’ll never see them again and we’re so pumped we just really don’t mind. They do the social part– make invitations to activities. Sit with them at church. Share the gospel in the context of who you are! No preachiness required! People are prepared for you, often times these are people that will not listen to us without your help. You bring them to dinner, to the fireside we’re putting on next month, to another activity– and we’ll ask them if they want to know more! We’ll do the scary part and you can just be their friend. The class is really fun and people are really getting into it. I am too! Hopefully we’ll see some results over the next few months.