Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Monday, December 2, 2013

Canberra Zone Week 13

Dear Everyone,
Transfers just happened yesterday and we have THE BEST zone ever! Elder White and I are still here and the new missionaries we have in the zone are just awesome. 8/12 of them have been out less than 6 months and so there is some extreme fire and faith in the zone which gets me really stoked. The Spirit can teach us how to be great missionaries, but we must put forth the desire. I believe we will see great sucess because I can see that every single one of these missionaries that we have has great desire to share the Gospel. I wish time was longer today, we are meeting with Noni in 15 minutes and need to go, but here is my letter to President Lew.

This week was quite an interesting week down here. It was still really good but we have had HEAPS of service hours which I would have preferred to be spent in teaching, however I know that serving the ward is extremely important. I am not sure exactly why, but we have 4 families that are all deciding to move within 2 weeks of each other, and so last week and this week as well we have been asked to help them move. Last Saturday was particularly rough. A family was moving into our ward, and we had heard the ward they were leaving would help them move out of the house, and our ward would help move in. We coordinated with the missionaries from the area they were leaving and they mentioned they could probably use some help, so we decided to go and help them as well. as it turns out, only one member from their ward showed up, so we helped them unload everything that we could get into the truck, then drove up to their new house and helped them unload and repeated the process until is was finished. Long story short, communication wasn't the best in announcing the move and so the job fell upon just us 4 missionaries to complete. I have never been so exhausted from moving in my life- from 9 am until 4:30 pm we helped this family move from one house into the other in the sun. All of us got a bit burnt, but we definitely slept amazingly well that night since all of us were really tired from the move. This and other moves that were similar have made me really appreciate the opportunity to serve. When it comes right down to it, we are here to serve. I am obviously more excited about serving through helping people spiritually come closer to Christ, but also the opportunity to just dig in and work hard in helping with temporal affairs is satisfying as well. After this week I know the importance as well of setting up good plans and spreading the word so to speak :) We have two more families that are moving this week as well, so here is to hoping these ones go better than the previous ones!
On a happier note, Noni is getting baptized this weekend!!!! :) She has been an ongoing miracle since day 1. We met her just 6 weeks ago. She has attended all 3 hours of church ever since and has been studying, praying, and diving into the gospel ever since. She is so well prepared. She just texted us last night expressing how excited she was and that she feels "God is in my heart." I have been able to see first hand how the Spirit has affected her. Without any promptings or teaching by us, her lifestyle began to change. For example, before we had taught her the Word of Wisdom, she committed herself to not drink anymore. She also started dressing more modestly and using more refined language. The best part is that she truly searched these things out for herself. We had planned a lesson to teach her the 10 Commandments one day and she pulled out her notebook wherein she had already written them all down and her "modern day interpretation" of what they meant. She nailed them all right on the head, but still was humble enough to ask us more questions and asked us to still go over them and teach her more about them. She truly has been such a miracle to witness how much this gospel blesses lives. Her children love coming to church and have even used their sharing time in school to talk about Jesus. Something that is quite remarkable since religion isn't a very popular thing here in Australia. The Spirit has been working through her and she honestly has been growing in her conversion, and now, 6 weeks later she will make her first covenant with Heavenly Father through baptism. It is so exciting!! :)

From studying page 6 and 7 of Preach My Gospel this week, I have come to understand better that I need to always testify of the Restoration. Everything that we teach ties back to it, because the truth of everything that we teach relies upon it. If the restoration had not happened, everything that we teach would be of little to no benefit. But because it did happen, our life here has true purpose and our future has hope. There was a great lesson that I learned from pondering an investigators question this week. He has a hard time believing that God is real and that there is life after this. He mentioned that in his mind, this being the only life we have makes it all the more valuable. Since this is all that we have, he feels it is rare and precious and not a single moment should be wasted in false hopes or beliefs that are not true. I will admit his opinion suprised me- that the notion of life after this had a certain appeal to him. The next day I sat there pondering his question and realized that our life is an investment. Such as the parable of the talents, all of us have been given a certain amount of time here on this earth. Some will live long lives, others short, but it isn't the amount that matters, it is how we use them. The servant who made 10 talents out of 5 received great blessings, but so did the one who made 4 out of 2. They both were promised they would receive much much more than they had been given. However the one who saved his talent lost that which he had been given. Such is our lives. When we invest our life unto Christ, we are promised things beyond what we can comprehend at this time, but if we invest our lives into our own selves and satisfying our own desires, we lose those things which we could have received. Understanding this helps me to realize that having a life after this makes this life extremely valuable and of great importance. Back to my investment analogy- if we invest our money into a company that has extreme sucess, we receive great reward, but if we invest in a company which tanks and returns nothing back, we have lost all that we have. Therefore, after pondering this, I really want to meet with him again and help him understand the same concept so that he will realize how important this life is. How rare and valuable it is because our future and potential happiness depend upon how we invest our time and talents in this life. I am so grateful for the good questions and sitatuations that investigators ask.
I have gained a true testimony that although I do not have anywhere near all the answers, the Lord does. And when I am humble and seek revelation, He is willing to give me the answers that I need to receive. I have had many situations on my mission in which I respond "I do not know" but always, I back that up with bearing testimony of what I do know. I know that Jesus Christ lives and Atoned for me. I know that this is His church on the earth, not just another good church that makes us better people, but this is THE church that He watches over and guides through modern day prophets. My testimony of this burns within me and grows each time I testify of its truth. I am so grateful for this blessing that this knowledge brings into my life. I do not fear for the future because I will always have hope through Christ. I had the opportunity to testify that truth to another investigator who had difficulty believing what we were trying to teach and testify of. I said "the message that we share is hope." Without Jesus Christ, all is hopeless and useless. If not for Him, all would be of no signifigance in the eternal scheme. We would live, die and that would be the end. No happiness or joy. But because of Him, we have hope. Hope that one day we can live with Him and our families again forever. To enjoy the happiness that is found in unity and love. Of all things that can be hoped for, is there better? I believe there is not. There is no better solution or idea than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because it is perfect. We are not perfect, but He and His plan is. I am grateful for my testimony of this and am grateful that during this Christmas season, I will continue to have the opportunity to declare to the world that Jesus was born, crucified, and lives again. I believe this with all my heart.
Till next week,
Elder Shafer

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