Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sydney Week 12

Hello Family!!!:)

Wow, thank you so much for the love and letters that you always send me! It's so amazing to hear of your wonderful life experiences, the progression you are making and so forth. I also want to thank you all as well as my many friends and non-immediate family who support me while out here. This is the greatest experience I've had of my life and it is in large measure due to your examples and support that I am out here and able to serve. I truly have seen how much the Lord can mold and improve us throughout our lives, and that with His loving care and our humility, He can make great things out of us. 

During a lesson this last week I had the experience to be with someone named Damien. He is from Croatia, and has said in his life pretty much everything always goes wrong. He said "if there are 5 doors of different difficulties, I always seem to have to walk through the toughest one to get to where I need to go." During this lesson, we talked about the purpose of this life, and how we grow throughout our trials. One thing we talked about is how diamonds are created. Diamonds are created from coal, as it has been put under intense heat and pressure for a long duration of time. It takes time, heat, and pressure to turn each of ourselves into the Lord's diamonds. One of the things I have learned without a doubt thus far on my mission is that God is our loving Heavenly Father. It amazes me to think that the Creator of Heaven, Earth, and skies loves me. He listens to my prayers. He rejoices when I am happy and He is saddened when I am also sad. He knows what is best for me and is wanting to help me to accomplish it each step of the way. Then why don't I listen? Why am I so stubborn, and rebellious? 

Here, I have had the opportunity to talk to many people who do not believe in God. Each and every time I do, I am able to learn and realize more and more about the reality and presence of my Father in Heaven. More than this though, is the personal relationship I have developed with Him because of my experiences with Him. I am convinced that people in our lives have a purpose as to why they are there. I don't know everything and I am no specialist on the things of God, however, in every situation where someone asks me a question above my understanding, I cannot answer right then, or makes me curious as well, I always learn and come back to the fact that, similar to Nephi states (sorry I don't have my scriptures right on hand) That I do not know all things, but I do know that God loveth His children. I have experience His love and feel it daily in my life as I look for it. No matter the cunning questions people have asked to try to shake my faith, I always can refer back to 2 things. I know that God is my loving Heavenly Father and listens to and answers my prayers. I also know without a doubt that the Atonement is real because I have felt the feeling of divine forgiveness. These two things have led me to believe in, experiment upon, and then also come to know many other truths. That truly is the only question. Truth is unchanging and unalterable. There is only 1 true and definite answer, however many ways people try to thwart it and change it. 2+2 will always equal 4 even if the entire world decides they would prefer it equal 5. It's only up to us whether or not we will believe in the truth and come to know it for the truth that it is. I'm sorry that my letter this week is a lot shorter. I spent a while typing to my Mission President and then the letter got deleted and I had to restart :( but here is what I sent him:

My core experience this week was how much I felt the spirit and Learned at the Zone conference last Wednesday. However, since I will be writing about this more in response to the second question, I will share another experience that I was able to have last Wednesday Evening. We met with Sharon, a student from Taiwan who is interested in Eternal Families and has questions about God. This was our second meeting, and she also wanted to bring a friend. We decided we should give her friend, Iris, a quick tour of the church and get to know her a little bit, and while trying to do so, she seemed pretty skeptical and cold to meeting with us. However, after an opening song, a prayer, and some short, but sincere testimonies, she warmed up a little bit. As the discussion progressed, she actually seemed even more interested in learning than our original investigator. Our fellowship for that lesson also really helped them both with great analogies and personal testimony of His own. It's amazing to me to see the power that fellowshippers bring into the lesson. Someone wearing a t-shirt and jeans, bearing their own testimony of why they live the gospel even while going through their own life struggles has many times brought the spirit into our investigators hearts, and has benefited them greatly. The Lord's way works! 
Since Elder Hamula's training, My vision has been a lot more clear of how I can truly best accomplish my purpose. Focus on REAL GROWTH, both in the individual and in the ward and mission as a whole was brought more into my understanding. It coincided so well with our lesson in priesthood yesterday and has given me a greater purpose as to why I need to focus on members, less actives, and investigators all together. I can't focus on just one and lose sight of the other and still consider myself the Lord's missionary. I am here to build the kingdom and help establish real growth. I do that by assisting ALL people to repent, make, and keep covenants. His training helped me to see how essential baptism is to repentance, but that I need to also help my investigators understand it is just a step. They need to keep repenting and turning themselves around toward Christ. I also have incorporated more hope in my finding in realizing that although many people will reject my invitations, I can still feel that I have done my part in inviting them when I ask to meet with them, show them the church, attend activities, and so forth. For quite some time I have felt insecure when asking myself "did I do my part to allow this person the ability to really make an informed decision?" It has been hard for me to feel that I have represented the church adequately when all I have is often a very few seconds to inform and invite, however, as Elder Hamula stated "even an invitation to meet with them or asking to have their phone number, is an invitation to repent." This has helped me to feel more confident that I am doing my best to do my part in helping them receive the restored gospel. I have realized more recently, that those the Lord has prepared right now, will be willing to accept that invitation, though it may be short, and those who are not ready yet, may remember that invitation in the future, and will one day turn themselves around.

I love you all so much!! Oh yeah, and sorry for the typo. I meant to say last week that we have 2 "pretty keen" investigators with baptismal dates. Thanks for the heads up Dad, I'll make sure I look more carefully at the message im portraying before I send it lol! accidents happen and that's why we can repent :)

Elder Shafer

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