Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Canberra Zone Week 15

Dear Everyone!
Because of our mission-wide Christmas conference next Monday, I am not sure if I will get to email or not before Christmas day, so I figured I would use the time now and say MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! :) This past week was another glorious week here in the Canberra zone. Stacey Smiler was baptized. Her husband plays for the Canberra Brumbies (professional Rugby Union team) and is an RM. Things went a bit south for him for a while, but thankfully he got things figured out since the missionaries started meeting with him and he was able to baptize his wife just 2 days ago! The sisters have been teaching her steadily, but Elder White and I had the privelige to go over to their home a couple times for dinner and a lesson and have gotten quite close with them. Even last minute he texted us saying the white pants he thought would fit actually don't and asked to wear mine. Although they were a bit short since he is 6'4" the waist was adjustable just to the right size for him. It was really weird to see him all dressed up nice like that because normally when we see him he is still in his workout gear and is just RIPPED haha. Seriously, everytime he opens the door to us, I just get a tiny bit scared but luckily he is so nice and doesn't squeeze us too hard when he gives us "bro hugs." One of the greatest things that just made the weekend for Elder White and I was when Stacey shared the experience that made her choose to be baptized. She had been thinking and praying for a long time about if she should actually get baptized. She had been taught all the necessary lessons, but just felt that she wasn't ready yet. She then said over the pulpit the following: "I haven't told anyone this yet, but I feel I should share it now. Just the other week I was at home doing chores and cleaning up a bit and was thinking about my baptism. I decided to kneel down and pray to ask Heavenly Father if I should be baptized, and that if He wanted me to be baptized, to please show me. I finished my prayer and kept doing my chores when about 10 minutes later Elder White and Elder Shafer knocked on my door. It surprised me because we didn't have a set appointment and Jordan wasn't home so they couldn't come in. They said they were really excited for me to get baptized and just wanted to drop by and say hello. After they left I remembered the prayer I had just said and realized that Heavenly Father had sent me them as a message that I should be baptized." This was very surprising for Elder White and I to hear because normally people's prayers are not answered in such a way, however we were both so grateful we had acted on the prompting to go. After she told that story I remembered how Elder White and I were driving to another appointment near her home and felt that we should drop by. I remember talking about it because we knew Jordan wouldn't be home and so we couldn't go in, but still decided to go and just say hello to her and say we were excited for her to be baptized because the sisters had told us she wanted to be baptized, but didn't feel comfortable yet. We figured just a friendly drop by couldn't hurt, but thankfully, Heavenly Father had it planned out to be an answer to Stacey's prayer.

They are the COOLEST little family ever. She will be giving birth within a week or so from now and so it was just in time for her baptism haha. We were afraid she may have a water birth when she entered the faunt, but luckily... all went well :)
I am so excited for Christmas!! :) I am grateful for Jesus Christ, because "He is the reason for the season." The more I am out on the mission the more I realize the world does not revolve around me, but it does revolve around Him. Without Him, we would have no hope or light but only be left with a dark world. Just as we walk down the streets and see the Christmas lights lit up and beautiful, if you shut them off, the world automatically becomes dark again. He is the Light, the Life and the Way. I encourage everyone to go and share this light with those around them. Even a small glimmer of light can be seen from far away when all around us is dark. No matter how small you may feel your light is, Let it shine forth for others to see. There is a wonderful mormon message in which we learn of the Light of Christ. I invite all to watch and enjoy it :
I do believe He lives and I am grateful He does. I wish everyone a merry merry Christmas with their family and friends for "christmas time is family time, and family time is sacred time!" :)
Love you!
Elder Shafer
p.s. I almost forgot My letter to president ;b sorry!
Merry Christmas!! :) The time is fast approaching in which Christmas day will be here. We had a great ward activity down here in which two of our recent converts joined with us last Friday night. It was spectacularly done and they really enjoyed it. It also really helped me to welcome in the Christmas Spirit as the days are fast approaching. Yesterday the talks were all focused on the Spirit of Christ and how He needs to be the focus of Christmas, not all the other fluff that we give Christmas. I am so grateful to serve as a missionary at this wonderful time of the year! People are happier and enjoying themselves more as they continue to look forward to Christmas coming. Just last night we shared a message with a less active family about the true meaning of Christmas, and immediately afterward, the 3 yr old son went and grabbed some candies off of the Christmas tree and gave them to Elder White and I. It was a touching moment as he was willing to give because this particular child in times past has NEVER given things away. He is usually a very rowdy and energetic kid, who doesn't like to share, but for some reason, even he was touched by the message of Christmas and freely gave us of his candy. I love this festive season where we can focus on giving to others, and it seems that people are more willing to give than at other times of the year. It is true that the Spirit of Christmas is contagious. 
This week, from studying the Book of Mormon, I have continued to learn how often Christ speaks to and leads His people. Many of the references in the first couple chapters of the Book of Mormon to the Savior are when He has commanded them to do something. This is a thought that has impressed on my mind more deeply this past week. He speaks often and commands often. Lehi and his family were commanded to leave. Then when 3 days away from Jerusalem, His sons were commanded to go back, then when they had returned to their parents in the wilderness, they had to go back AGAIN in order to get Ishmael's family to go with them. The question came to my mind: Why did the Lord command them to do it that way? Couldn't they have just packed up with Ishmael's family in the beginning and then all left together with the Plates? Surely the Lord could have made that possible, but He didn't. He wanted to try their faith and help them to develop trust in His commandments. There were many more trials that awaited the family, and I feel that He had to start small and try to help them develop faith and Trust in Him before their 8 year journey into the wilderness, then building a boat, followed by crossing an entire ocean to try and settle a new land. I am not sure that these are all of the reasons why it happened that way, but as for my personal opinion I give it that often we need to be tested in small things before we have any hope to deal with the large problems in life. I learned from them that I need to follow His commandments even when it doesn't quite make sense, or even when they seem repetitive, because He, unlike myself, can see the end from the beginning.
As I studied more from Preach My Gospel chapter 9 this past week, I came to realize I do not pray enough for people to find. I often pray for those I am already teaching and the ward members, but my prayers directly to find new people to teach are lacking. This is something I would like to change. I want to specifically pray for more people to find and share my testimony with every day. Doing this, and then going forth and opening my mouth with the thought "perhaps this is the person I prayed for today" will really help me to have faith to find. We had a great experience the other day with doing this. Elder White and I were walking to our apt and on the way saw a teenage young man with his bmx bike just standing by himself near the walk way. Though we were most likely going to be a minute late to our apt with our investigator, I figured I had better take this opportunity and just pray things worked out for the best. They did! We were able to talk to him, and 2 of his friends that came up shortly after we met him. We had a quick but good discussion with them and exchanged contact details to meet again at another time. Feeling excited, we hurried off to our apartment to find out that he was actually running late as well and were able to talk to several more people while waiting for him to come. I am so grateful I decided to "step off the path" so to speak and talk to him instead of justifying myself by saying I don't want to be late to an appointment. I really hate being late to things and so it is easy for me to get into a "tunnel vision" mode when on my way to appointments and things, but thankfully, that day and from now on, I want to get out of my tunnel vision, and look around for the opportunities the Lord has given me. I know that there are many people out there waiting to hear our message. They are looking for the truth. We need to make sure we are also looking for them.

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