Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Joshua's email - 11/27

This week has been great!  I've definitely seen a lot of miracles from the Lord, and I know that those, along with trials, have helped me grow and learn how to be a better missionary, and how to be more Christlike.  Last week was kind of tough.  Elder G and I have been working really hard and getting along great.  We had Thanksgiving at a member's house with their family.  Some of their family isn't LDS, so Elder G. and I talked to them pretty much all of dinner, and answered lots of questions that they had.  The dinner was great, and we both felt great afterwards, thinking over how much we were able to share with the non-members.  We have a motto, "If you're not hurting, keep eating," and that motto has definitely given us some ups and downs, especially over Thanksgiving.  Haha. I hope everyone else had a great Thanksgiving as well.

We worked really hard over the weekend, and we definitely had some trials to overcome, but we definitely saw the blessings that came from those trials as well.  Friday, we had very little success with finding people to teach, and we were both kind of discouraged.  We decided to go tract an apartment building before dinner.  All of the people rejected us.  We had time for one more door before dinner, so I knocked that last one.  A HUGE kid in his younger 20's came out.  He had an enormous dip in his mouth and piercings in his ears, so right off the bat, I had a feeling that said "He's not going to listen."  I shared a little bit of our message with him, and his response took us off-guard.  He told us to come in, and, surprised, we had to tell him we only had a couple minutes before we had to leave.  We gave him a Book of Mormon and set up an appointment for the next morning, and left. The next day, we went back to his apartment.  He wasn't there, but his roommate was.  He told us to call M and come back later.  Later in the day, M called us back and asked us to come over.  We went over at 4pm and taught M and B the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They told us that this is something that they have been talking about and thinking about for a long time.  M told us that when we came to the door, it was literally an answer to his prayers.  He's had a lot of hard things happen in his life, and he's completely ready to change and come closer to God.  After 30 minutes of knowing the two, we invited them to read the Book of Mormon, come to church the next day, and I got the opportunity to invite them both to be baptized.  They both accepted.  They have a baptismal date set for December 15.  We now have 3 baptismal dates set, and about 7 others that we are working really closely with.

Anyway, the next day at church, we were pretty excited.  We were supposed to have B, S, T and her kids, and M and B all at church.  Br was supposed to come with [a less active member], but for whatever reason, they didn't show up.  B is still serious about learning more about the church though, so we'll keep working with her.  T's family wasn't able to make it, but they're still trying.  Sarah made it, and she already has fellowshippers at church, which is good.  B and M came with one of the most solid guys in our Elders quorum.  His name's Brother A.  He's ridiculously nice, and he's knows everything there is to know about the gospel.  So they came with him, and then they sat by us in our church meetings.  M could NOT stay awake.  We wondered why he couldn't even stay awake when he sounded so sincere about everything we had talked to him about.  He literally couldn't even stay awake for 2 minutes.  He even snored through a lot of Elders quorum.  We found out that he hadn't even gone to bed the night before.  From the time that we left, until just before church, he had read over 200 pages of the Book of Mormon.  He understands what they were talking about, and he was able to tell us things about the Book of Mormon that even we didn't know.  We haven't taught him the Restoration of the gospel yet, so I don't think he understands completely why the Book of Mormon is so important, but he obviously has a great desire to learn more.  We're definitely going to be working hard with M and B.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a really short message on gratitude.  In Alma 26, it talks about how Ammon and his brothers are just finishing their journeys from their 14-year mission.  They had been rejected by many, and even persecuted and tortured, but they continued to work diligently to push the Lord's work forward.  Because of their diligence, they were able to convert thousands of the Lamanites.  And throughout all of these times, good or bad, they always remembered how God had helped them.  They knew that without God, those things wouldn't have been possible.  I can't remember which verses exactly, but I believe in verse 8, Ammon praises Heavenly Father as he recognizes the blessings that He had poured over them.  His brothers initially believe him to be boasting of his own efforts, but he continues on and says that he knows that God made all those things possible.  He talks about how he will praise God forever.  That really hit me hard, especially with it being Thanksgiving last week, and Christmas coming up.  Remember who gives you blessings, and strive to see those blessings in your lives.  I want to invite whoever is reading this to dedicate at least one prayer each day to only thanking God for the things that you've been blessed with in your life.  As you do that, you'll feel a greater love for the Savior and Heavenly Father, the same love They have for you.  Heavenly Father truly does bless us, especially as we keep His commandments, and sometimes it's only a matter of recognizing those things.  He blesses us, so don't forget to thank Him.

Elder Whicker

PS - Thank you KS for giving me the awesome Thanksgiving package!  It seriously made my day!  The cupcakes were seriously DELICIOUS!!!!! And the blueberry hand sanitizer is RIDICULOUS!  THANKS!

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