Well my P-day is going well. Usually email is the first thing I do out the door. So usually always starts pretty well.
That's way cool about sacrament meeting. It's really cool and amazing stories like that of conversion that build faith and testimony in others. Ultimately the conversion though comes down to every single person's own actions and drive to become (like Brother Christiansen). A talk actually I have been reviewing and studying over this past week was by Elder Oaks from 2000 about the "Challenge to Become". It's super good! Shares so much more about the difference between testimony and conversion. Instead of just knowing and saying, it's doing and becoming. One of the greatest examples it shares about is from the life of Peter. When Jesus asks "whom do ye say that I am", Peter immediately replies "thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God". Peter had an immense and strong testimony. But later in the life of the Savior we come to understand that Peter was not converted. At the last supper, Christ tells Peter "I have prayed for thee...and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren". This is a man who had spent 3 years with the Lord, had walked on water, witnessed countless miracles, performed miracles himself, and was taught by the master himself, many times on a personal basis. But he was not yet converted. For me sometimes I come to see and find that conversion is a very big process. It almost intertwines and weaves with becoming perfect. It is not something that fully will be obtained in this life. But each day is a process that we build upon block by block so that it becomes stronger and make progress along the path moving forward. What I feel personally is that the point and time where Peter denied Christ 3 times, as sad and maybe also grieving for Peter it was, I think it was also very much necessary for his conversion. Elder Oaks shares about how that the greatest growth and development of conversion happen in what we often refer to as the "furnace of affliction". When we are being refined and sanctified, we become more and more like the person Heavenly Father sees us as. This is something I can attest to with all my heart. I will not lie, the mission has had some of the most difficult challenges, trials, temptations, and such that have felt like some of the most grief, pain, or suffering ever. But....I would not trade it away for anything. It has transformed me so much already, and there is so much it continues to teach me and show unto me. It's like you have been saying as of late in letters, life is hard work but the peace and joy are incomparable. I remember Elder Holland in a talk at some time sharing about how life is hard and it's not fair. And then he emphatically shares well that is because eternal life is not easy to obtain. How true it is.
This whole conversion doesn't just mean saying I know, it means becoming. It means transforming. It means changing. It reminds me of Brother Brad Wilcox's talk about the grace of Jesus Christ. If we are not converted, if we don't become, are not willing to change, don't accept and receive Christ and the gospel, then it won't be at the judgement people acting nervous with Christ holding clipboard and saying "oh darn, you only missed it by 2 points" and people begging to check it again. Rather it will be Christ pleading for people to use His Atonement, to change, transform, to come unto Him. Heaven is not heaven if we are not heavenly.
Sounds like you had a whole lot of fun at girls camp. Remember always that feeling you had on Monday morning and then how you felt at the end of the camp. You want to know what the key difference and secret was? Service. As Elder Perkins in his talk "the Great and Wonderful Love" he shared 5 points to help with overcoming and combating the latter-day snares. The last point was to find joy in each day. He shared about how that the greatest way to find joy is in serving. For when you are serving and helping others, you are more concerned and focused about them, and spend less time worrying and agonizing over yourself. So you said you were not feeling mentally good on Monday morning. But you have now seen the fruits of serving and forgetting about yourself. It's such a beautiful thing.
Leave it to you to make a little remark like that about Gordon. (this is me rolling my eyes). But way to have fun with the other guys and make effective use of your priesthood. Definitely Nate was doing the right thing. I have only known him a little bit, but I know his younger brother (Dylan's friend, and we graduated together) and just based from his younger brother (Zach) I know that Nate is already a way strong and faithful guy. Definitely he was following the prompting of the Spirit and we shouldn't be ashamed or afraid to enact our priesthood power that has been given to us. That is why Heavenly Father has given it to us. To bless and edify His children upon the earth. I always carry my oil around with me. I actually have a carabiner that I keep the most important things on. I have the keys for the apartment as well as the church. Then I have my bike key as well as the Lego C-3PO key chain. Then I have the Victorinox pocket knife and my oil vial. I have the bigger jar in my back pack. But I keep this carabiner on my belt loop. So everything is really quick and fast access.
That is really interesting that Jehovah's Witnesses showed up in our neighborhood. My whole time living there I never saw or talked with any. When I was in Gaoxiong though the day Elder Dailey went home and Elder Vandiford moved, Elder Turner and I were companions for a little while and while we were doing some language study, we got contacted by a Jehovah's witness. But I told him up front that we wouldn't be interested. But I was sad afterwards that I didn't try sharing the Restoration with him. So yes I am proud of you for being really kind and nice to them. That is exactly how you should treat everyone. Every single person is a child of God and either people don't know that or those who do seem so easily to forget it. I remember from the Liahona a talk somewhere that had a line I really liked. It went something like this that "Everything would be ok and good if we simply remembered everything we knew". I actually had a similar experience just on Saturday. Elder Oldham and I from planning the night before picked out an area to go tract. We tracted this area for about 2 hours (I think we knocked on probably close to a 100 doors) and up to this whole point only two people exchanged numbers with us but didn't set up or willing to let us sit down at that time. Elder Oldham said alright I am ready to change over to something else. We were going back down the hill and I said alright lets tract this alley that we passed earlier (we passed because some older couple/slash family were just standing at the entrance and could tell they were not willing to talk and were just watching us the whole time. You get a little self-conscious and weird when people watch you contact or tract). But so we came back to tract that alley (and that family yeah immediately just gave us the buyong hand and saying no. Buyong literally means don't use but pretty much means no. To also give you a feel for how much the people of Taiwan work as well that old aMa (a lady about age 50 to 70) was still working at her little station with some metal piece things and punching stuff on them at 8:00 when we knocked on their door). So we went down this alley tracting and the last door we knocked on a man in his late 50's came to the door and very enthusiastically started talking with us. He invited us in after talking a little bit and gave us chocolate milk from Costco (super good by the way). Found out that he has 1 or 2 sons who live in America, in Texas, and on seeing us we reminded him of his son and it just really cheered him up and made him happy. We shared a few introductory things about the Restoration, but he wasn't super interested. We did get to pray together with him though, and gave him some tracts for the church as well as other information like English Class. It wasn't a new investigator, or a baptismal goal, or anything super special. But it still made me know and feel that really that is what it is to represent Christ. To bring joy and peace to others, to invite to come unto Christ, to offer the chance and share about the Restoration.
From studying Preach My Gospel this morning I was in the Finding chapter and about the part "Talk with Everyone". It lists several bullet points of ideas to think of to better help in talking with everyone. One point talks about invite everyone to learn about the Restoration. So this is where you can improve. You did very good to be kind and friendly towards those around you. But we have the mandate and call to warn our neighbors and literally invite everyone to learn about the Restoration and God's true and only church. Sometimes circumstances and situations are not good or convenient to go for bigger invites, but that is why we need and have the Spirit in our life. He will guide and direct us so that we may know when and how to act. And we invite the Spirit more into our life by doing the very things that build foundation and conversion. That is studying scriptures (as well as words of modern-day prophets), praying daily (both personally, with your companion (aka Mom), and as a family (aka Mom plus puppies)), and attending church and the temple. Take so much advantage of having the temple. So far now over the last year (not counting any MTC time) I have been to the temple twice, but I feel I will move before the next temple trip happens in August, so I probably won't get a chance again for awhile to go to the temple.
So yeah I got 2 letters from you this past week in 2 days. It was way exciting and good to see mail in the mailbox. So back to the May 17 letter. I really appreciate what you shared about being patient with myself as I discover more and more. As well as the part about wanting me really to remember and understand and know about doing my best and driving myself. This is part where I know half of this move call has been a lot of hard times and struggling on my own behalf and not probably working as effectively as I could. Elder Oldham and I went into this move call with a desire to get a baptism. I let that desire and fire dwindle down. But yesterday night I just felt the choice and action in myself that I am going to go out and do my best. I am not going to sit anymore drooping in doubts, fears, and lies. Most likely baptism is out scope for this move call because of requirements that need to happen for an investigator to qualify for baptism, but I have the drive and fire in me that Elder Oldham and I will find some solid progressing investigators with dates set for July to set up for whoever will be here the next move call.
Now that is just nuts about Dubai with all their super expensive police cars. The Bughatti Veyron is $1,000,000 and the Aston Martin One77 is $1,000,000. Then the Lamborghini Egoista looks like a starship! It's crazy. I just realized the other day I have a bit of a Top Gear hangover. It's been over a year since I have watched it :( Too long. Oh well, the hump is over and sooner than later I will be watching it again.
Definitely this past week I have felt and learned so much coming down to not just choices, but acting on the choices. I can wish and pray and desire to be this kind of person or have this kind of mind or get this kind of result, but if I never consciously make the decision in my mind that I am going to work my butt off and do all my effort to behave, act, or do that, then I won't get it. I can pray and hope and desire that I do it or live, but until I really make the decision and act out with all my effort, I won't have it. But the greatest part is when I put all my effort in that is when the grace or enabling power of the Atonement comes in.
In all actuality a large part of my hard times and everything come from doubts and worries that I listen to and believe. So we talked about Galations 4 at the end about the fruit of the Spirit. I have the scripture memorized and recite it to myself many times. But we talked about getting out of the doubts and worries and into the fruit of the Spirit. Seeing the things that are good. Seeing it with both eyes and heart. Having an attitude of gratitude. Go back and read President Monson's talk from 2010 about gratitude. It is super good. Especially Mom go back and read. In parts my whole part of being more negative and listening to doubts and worries is genetic (yeah from Mom) but it is also habitual. It's the part now of getting out of the habit. So Mom that is what you should do too! Get out of the doubts and worries and into the fruit of the Spirit! When you live and breathe an attitude of gratitude you touch heaven.
Definitely a long letter. Let's make it longer! Yay! :D Here is what I shared with President.
This week has felt for me a big building block added into my life and becoming more like the person Heavenly Father sees me as. I had a really great talk with Elder Watkins. I learned a good lesson from Elder Shelton and Elder Fronk at English proselyting about not just making the choice in ourselves, but actually acting and putting forth all effort. I am coming to better understand about doubts and worries, to get out of them and into the fruit of the Spirit. I have actually memorized that scripture in Galations about the fruit of the Spirit and tell it to myself many, many times, but also making the choice in myself and believing I can be in the fruit of the Spirit and then acting my best effort to be there.
This past week I felt as a miracle to happen for me was the sudden change and transformation that kicked in last night. Elder Oldham and I came into this move call with the desire to get a baptism. I feel the sorrow and grief that because of my own struggles and weaknesses they hindered me and I didn't put forth my best effort. But from the last week culminating into last night (maybe the cherry on top being a Brother Tang who just came home Saturday from his mission in Virginia and getting to know him and talking with him) that I am going to consciously put my whole and full effort into this now. In all probability the chance for me to baptize this move call is slim, but I am going to work my best with Elder Oldham to find solid progressing investigators with baptismal dates in July to set up for whoever is serving here in Zhanghua next move call, whether it be me or someone else.
This past week in studies I have carried on in studying the Book of Mormon. I love it so much! I have just read through 2 Nephi 31 this morning, and that chapter is such a power house. It is filling with so much doctrine and so much goodness, it definitely requires many, many, many times of studying. The part I liked was about the gate. I remember and know that the gate is repentance and baptism. But gate has a cross-reference to 2 Nephi 9:41 which shares about how the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, is the gate keeper and is not assigned to any one else. This gate then can't be circumvented or walked around or tricked because the Lord himself is the keeper and will know if you have truly repented and been baptized in his name by the proper authority.
Thanks so much, Love ya, will pray and fast for you!
So yeah I am working and trying harder and really looking to put all my effort in. Definitely I appreciate what you shared about the girls thing. I really have been trying to implement it all of seeing as Allisa and not worrying about. Not going to marry any. So just going out and having fun. Trying to wake up each day to go out and do my best to help make someones day better.
Also I do need some new Abreva cold sore ointment sent because the one I have expired in May. Also Dad do you mind sending me a business card of yours. I would like to have one on me so I can share it with people about what you do.
Love you so, so, so, so much!
p.s. Happy Father's Day by the way, thought I forgot didn't you ;)