Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Canberra Zone Week 22

Hello everyone! I hope this week finds you happy and well :) I had an AWESOME week. Went on several trade offs with other missionaries, which always bring miracles and had some great experiences with them. One of the greatest was when we were able to teach a less active member on trade offs. This man was a returned missionary of about 3 years. Shortly after arriving home, he was diagnosed with Depression, and quickly fell away from the church. As we were visiting with him, and munching on some light food he provided (everyone in that ward gives you food...... I was so stuffed from every visit! ) I had the mormon message "my new life" pop into my head as a great video to watch.

If you want to see it, copy and paste: 

After watching this, we had some great discussion which, in the middle of, another video popped into my head to watch as well. Though I thought it at first a little unusual since the first video mentions dealing with trials, and the next one was about forgiveness, I have long since learned to follow the promptings and ideas that I get while teaching, as I honestly believe they are given by the Holy Ghost to help the people we teach.

I am so glad that I did!

After the second video, he opened up much more and said "you know, it's very interesting that you decided to share these two videos, because both of them talk about great loss in someone's life.... that is something I struggle with a lot." Through some more discussion we shared we found out how much he missed being involved in Church, and more especially how much he missed having a strong relationship with his Heavenly Father. I truly felt so much love for him and was very excited for the future as he expressed his desire for this new year to be one of great change for him. Helping people change and be happier is the greatest thing we can do! I just love it :) Too many people try to make themselves happier by putting other people down, they feel that they must be above others in order to be happy, but that is so false, true happiness comes from lifting others and helping them be happy.

Have to jump off for now,

Have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Shafer

Here is my letter to President:

Another awesome week in Canberra. The longer I stay here, the more my love for these people grow. Yesterday we had one of the highest attendance at sacrament meeting that the ward has seen in a long time. There was a baby blessing for a member who had recently come back to church, and his wife was recently baptized. Shortly after the blessing of the baby, you could see the happiness on the father's face as he knew he was worthy and able to perform that blessing. While we were working with him and his wife before her baptism, he mentioned that even more than baptizing his wife, he desperately wanted to bless his little baby boy, and thanks to the mercy and Atonement of the Savior, he was able to do both. I love that family! As people kept coming to church I was reminded once again of why it is so important for each of us to attend the Lord's church on a regular basis. He has allowed us the opportunity to renew our covenants with Him on a weekly basis- what a gift. I don't believe there is a week that will go by in my life that I will live perfectly, however, on a weekly basis I am able to re-evaluate my efforts and set new goals in order to become more like the Savior and live the promises I have made. I often call Sundays my "pay-day" as a missionary. We go about our week continuing to find and teach people who are prepared to progress towards Christ, and I really feel my efforts have paid off as I see more and more people coming to learn about and worship our Heavenly Father in His church every Sunday. Seeing people seated as families or groups of friends in singing and praying and learning about the Savior is such an enjoyable experience for me. Many times I just want to give people a giant hug as they walk through the door, and just say welcome! However, I have to try and display the same feelings through a courteous handshake :)

I am glad I was able to study more about how we can help others to receive revelation through church attendance. This week, I learned something new. Many times people feel that God is not answering their prayers. In pondering this, I have learned that very often, we must be in the right place and doing the right thing to receive that answer. By regularly reading our scriptures, praying, and attending church, we show our Heavenly Father we are open to His answers. That is one thing I feel is lacking for many of the people we work with- they may not have the ability or faith to find their answer without attending church regularly. For example, how can we expect to know that the church is true, without attending its meetings regularly and evaluating for ourselves the truth of what is taught and practiced there? We must have faith in order to receive the answer, and often those answers are found by seeing how the restored church of Jesus Christ operates today. 

I had the opportunity this week to meet a man named Ben on trade-offs. This particular investigator based a lot of what he believed today on what was found in the past. His beliefs in the Old Testament stories were founded upon the supposed findings of Chariot wheels in the red sea which were left by the Egyptians being killed there, and many other artifacts or items discovered that coincide with the stories we read in the Bible. While these findings are great and valuable, in my opinion, they do not develop faith. Scientific findings and theories will come and go- the sun revolving the earth, the earth being flat, and tobacco being healthy for the body, to name just a few; but faith which has been developed by personal experiences with the feelings of the Holy Ghost can last forever. For me, I am so very grateful that we have modern day revelation and the divine guidance of Prophets and Apostles today. I will be the first to admit, my knowledge of what happened thousands of years ago is very lacking, but my knowledge of what is happening today is much stronger. My opinions are the same regarding the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. Rather than digging through the past and having debates over events which have happened many years ago and the truth of which may have been long been lost, why don't we evaluate the vast amount of resources we have been given today and use that to judge whether or not the Church truly is restored. Reading the Book of Mormon, and attending the church services will resolve almost every question or concern people may have about the History of the Church, and some story they have heard or read here or there. The truth is right in front of us for evaluation, use it. We are told that "by your fruits ye shall know them." I greatly enjoy inviting people to come and taste of the fruits the gospel brings into their lives by attending and worshiping with us on Sundays. 

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