Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sydney Week 18

There's just too much to write about and too little time :( I will start, as is normal by copying my email to President Howes:

My core experience with God this week was unequivocally General Conference. There was a great abundance of the Spirit felt and many things learned that I can improve and will improve in my missionary work and efforts here. Being able to feel enriched by the Spirit for the entire weekend increased my understanding of my obligations here and how I can better fulfill them. 
From Elder Holland's talk that we viewed during zone conference, I have learned that I need to be better at planning and preparing. I have learned that the Lord has great expectations for me and my work, and I can only accomplish those to His standard as I plan and prepare in advance. Elder Holland also reminded us how great of an influence a mission has on our entire lives. I learned from him that we must be spiritually immovable and that we must never forsake our Savior as we serve Him as missionaries or members of His church after our full time mission. I need to always keep the mentality that I am preparing to be a missionary for life rather than just striving to be the best missionary here and then slacking off after my mission. I believe if all that I learn in these two years are only to be used in these two years for missionary work I have wasted one of the largest gifts available to me. I think of my mission almost as a boot camp in some respects. There is only so much we can learn in 2 years, but in these two years we can gain immense wisdom and experience as to how we can be better disciples of Christ for the rest of our lives. Of course we will work to accomplish all that we can here, but Elder Holland explains that a mission changes every significant decision in our lives, and I want it to have that effect on my life. I often get caught up in the "here and now" and need to look to the future to realize the true value of things. I know I will be more effective and powerful in 6 months than I am now, and that should only keep increasing with time. As we continue to build upon our past experiences, we will become more and more of our true potential. 

This week was so great! We had zone conference on Friday- where I had to speak about how much my mission was worth to me. It was pretty much just testimony and stories for 5 minutes but people said they learned something from it so I guess I accomplished my purpose. For it, we watched Elder Holland's address to the missionaries in the MTC entitled "Drop Your Nets." It was so smash!! (aussie lingo :b) Honestly, just sooooo powerful and good! we then had wonderful trainings on how to overcome the natural man by Sister Howes and a training of the references that Christ gives all over in the scriptures of "I will be with you." We are not alone in this work one bit. I have a testimony of that for sure. The Lord is leading and guiding this work and allows me the ability to see that truth all the time. Let me just share one simple miracle that represents quite a few similar ones. Last night, Elder Dade and I met with Andy. He's a former investigator and the lesson went pretty well. We went upstairs to see if we needed to lock up since it was evening time and most missionaries are doing weekly planning back at the flat on Sunday evenings. When upstairs a Japanese man named Tsubasa came up and talked to us. He had come with his friend Paula who was having a lesson, and he wanted one as well! I was surprised and asked how he knew about missionaries and so forth and he has been to English class a time or two in the past and wanted to learn about Christ. So, we met with him for a while and helped him to understand who Christ is, about His church and the need for baptism. We committed Him to be baptized the 25'th of May! :) That makes 4 people with a baptismal date for our area. We have been committed by our mission president to invite people to be baptized starting at the very first lesson, and although very few understand what baptism is, why it's important, have testimonies and so forth..... it really is the best way to help people understand our purpose in helping people come unto Christ, understand their concerns that they may have, and sets a great tone for our meetings in the future. Wonderful miracles that happen all the time! We will be meeting with him again tomorrow! :) Also, we had 6 investigators that came to General Conference sessions this weekend. Although I don't think any of them understood more than 50% of what was said, it shows their desire to learn and I believe they could feel the spirit that was present there at those meetings. I'm so glad that it isn't my job to convert people! That is the job of the Holy Ghost. My purpose is to invite and testify regarding of Christ so that people can have the opportunity to feel the spirit. He does the conversion, not us. 

Some things learned from conference: here's a challenge to see who has said these quotes or ideas :)

"faith is REAL power." - that is absolute truth. I can't explain all of how it works, but having faith truly is a power that can be witnessed.

"Prayer and scripture study should be as common as daily eating and drinking" - It is only as we take care of ourselves spiritually daily that we are able to remain strong. I have seen in the past that when I neglect to study daily and pray daily, I falter. CPR of our testimonies is to attend Church, Pray, and Read. Doing these will sustain our spiritual health.

"What'er thou art, act well thy part." - Each of us has a specific role we are to play in this world. Each of us is divine and uniquely crafted. Your part that you play is essential because it is a role ONLY you can accomplish the way that the Lord wants it to be accomplished. Of course He has back up plans, but I believe He has the plan that He wants us to accomplish, according to our agency and free choice.

This one is paraphrased- "of all miracles, the greatest of all if forgiveness." - Truly, without the atonement of Christ, all other miracles would be useless and good for nothing. Only because of His sacrifice are we able to return to live with our families and Eternal Father forever. Only through Him can we obtain forgiveness from sin and be worthy to dwell in the Kingdom.

"it is most often when we are steadily keeping the commandments, that the Lord shares with us His love." - I have seen this time and time again in life. As I do those things which Please the Lord, He shares with me more His love. He loves me the same regardless, but when I keep His commandments, I am worthy and able to feel it more often than when I disobey, come back in sorrowed repentance and feel of His love then. 

There are so many more good quotes I would love to share and insights learned from conference this past weekend, but my time is soon up :( I would like everyone to know who reads this email that God is our Loving Father in Heaven. No matter our trials, He loves us and will support us when we choose righteously. Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Through Him is the only way to have lasting joy. We can feel of their love through the Holy Ghost, which is a gift available to all the Children of God. If you pray and ask the Father in faith, He will answer you through His messenger, the Holy Ghost. I know that this Church is Christ's restored church on the earth and teaches the true doctrines regarding salvation and happiness in this life and in the life to come. We have a current, living prophet who guides this church, the same as has been at all times that Christ's church is on the earth. We also have 12 apostles who are special witnesses of Christ and administer the same as the Apostles of the new testament. I have gained this testimony through sincere prayer and answers from the Holy Spirit, and all who follow this same pattern can know for themselves as well. 

I love you all,

Elder Shafer

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