Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Canberra Zone Week 28

Hallelujah!  That is one of my favorite words! It is just a joyous one :) This weekend has been an amazing weekend! The zone is just on FIRE!! We had a baptism last weekend, 2 this weekend, and have 2 more in 2 weeks to come. We have a total of 10 people who should be baptized either this month or next which for me is just pure excitement! :) These elders and sisters have worked very hard, and many of these people have been long in coming. I loved the words of Elder Urbina as he shared a talk about the gift of the Holy Ghost this last Saturday at the baptismal service of one of his investigators. He stood up and started talking about the Restoration and the story of the prophet Joseph Smith. At first I was like...."weren't you supposed to talk about the gift of the Holy Ghost??" But the Spirit was so strong in the words that he spoke, that it totally made sense when he said "what you are feeling right now is the Holy Ghost." He went on to explain how the Holy Ghost teaches us of the truth and testifies to our hearts and minds the things of God. He then explained simply how the companionship of the Holy Ghost is the greatest gift God can give us here on earth. It truly is! When a person feels the love of God witnessed through the Holy Ghost, it is pure and complete joy. I have come to see in my life that nothing can compare with those precious moments I have had in which I felt Him and know that I cannot deny it. I have not seen angels, I have not heard the voice of God, but everything that I teach and proclaim here I know to be true because of the witness the Holy Ghost has given me in my heart and in my mind. I have had too many "coincidences" to believe it is just coincidence that I feel that peace and warmth each time I sincerely pray, read the scriptures, seek forgiveness, attend church, listen to the Prophet's voice, and the list can go on and on. When the truth about God is spoken, read, or heard, the Holy Ghost will let us FEEL the truthfulness of it if we are sincere, have intent to know the truth, and the faith to receive an answer. That is a promise I will give to anyone. If you want to find truth in life, follow the words of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you." That is the pattern to receiving answers from the Heavens. Seek the truth through reading, attending church, pondering upon what you see everyday, then ask God with faith, and the door will be opened unto you. That is when it gets tricky..... you then have to be willing to step into that door and follow the answer you have been given.
This week, I have gained a greater testimony that God hears and answers my prayers. Although He has an enormous amount of things to do I am sure in ruling and governing the Cosmos, yet I know that He hears and answers the prayers of His children. I have seen it time and time again and although I will admit I do not know how it is honestly possible that He can do it, I know He does. Every sincere prayer we offer to Him will be heard, and it will be answered within His own timing. It will not always be the answer that we want, but it will be the answer that is right for us, because God is always right :)
I love being here, and serving my Savior. I know that this work is extremely unique when compared to the world's view- what 19 year old kid would want to leave his family, friends, educational pursuits, sports, television, etc... and dress up in professional attire everyday for 720 days talking to people he has never met and most likely never will see again, inviting them to change their lives and having the audacity to promise them it will bring them happiness?? Mind you, he will be rejected, denied, ridiculed, mocked, called a deceiver, liar and every other complimentary term that men like to give :) He will spend every day exhausted both physically, emotionally, and spiritually, even after taking a needed nap on p-day. He will have far more doors shut upon him than opened welcomely, he will face far more rejection than acceptance, more hate than love, more questions asked than answered. What kid would sign up for that?? Most people would claim he is insane! In my time as a missionary thus far (and I am glad that I still have much more time left) I have come to find that missionary work isn't always sunshine and rainbows. Like described, there will be more people who say NO than there will be who say YES or even Maybe. So why are there 85,000 of us that are wanting to be out here? Why do we care so much? What is it that makes us tick? I cannot speak for everyone, but for myself, it is because I believe that Jesus Christ died and lives again for me. Without Him, I would have no future. All that is good in this life is because of HIS goodness and mercy. Without Him, we would all live a very short life here and POOF.... nothing else. I owe Him everything, and although I all too often mess up and live below what I know to be true, I cannot deny my faith in Him. So why not just enjoy this knowledge at home in comfort? Well it's because we all are brothers and sisters! A life centered upon Jesus Christ is a life of happiness, I have seen that time and time again and as such, I want to do all that I can to bring this happiness to my brothers and sisters. I wish that I could keep going on this schpeel (hopefully someone is at least still reading it since it is SUPER long :) ) but I must go. I guess i get a little carried away sometimes when I talk about why I am a missionary and actually have some time to sit down and put my thoughts into words. This work brings happiness, both to those who are engaged in it, and who are benefited by it. I invite all to come a step closer to Christ this week. What you will need to do is your own choice. Some of us need to pray more often. Others need to serve, others still need to attend church regularly, and if you are anything like me, I need to improve in all 3 of these areas and more. But that is why I am grateful we can always repent :) Repentance is good, so enjoy it!
Love you all!
Elder shafer
p.s. Here is my letter to President Lew:

This week was a bit slow numerically but ended with some amazing miracles!! These past two weeks our area has taken a dive for people to teach. Many people we were meeting with regularly have become "too busy" to hear more about the gospel and as thus, have asked us to put lessons on a hold for a bit. This was quite saddening to my companion and I but as we kept faithful and kept praying, we saw our prayers answered this weekend. Elder White and I have been talking about how we really want investigators who really desire to meet with us and are excited to meet with us instead of people who we now feel like have some desire, but it definitely isn't their top priority to improve their relationship with the Savior. Friday morning right after our District Training Meeting, we had an awesome miracle. We had just finished and I was walking down the hall when I spotted someone I didn't recognize turn the corner at the end of the hallway, asking if she needed some help, I soon came to find she was looking for the family history center, and had stopped by several times over the past few weeks, but each time it had been closed. Elder White and I showed her around the Family History Center, and then offered to show her around the chapel as well. She was VERY interested in family history because she believes she could be related to Lucy Mack Smith, and figured the church could help her finish off her geneology, in responding to her question "what are the differences between your church and my church-the anglican church." After sharing with her a little bit about our beliefs and answering her questions, she mentioned that she believes in God the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost the same as we do and was surprised to find that we do not believe in the commonly accepted theology of the Trinity. With each answered question she became more and more curious and accepted our invitation to meet again, and to come to the baptism the following day. Example #1 of someone who genuinely has a desire :)
#2- A few weeks back we had a great finding opportunity when a member set up a booth at a local university campus for their orientation week. There were several religious booths there handing out information and inviting people to learn more about their beliefs. It was there that we met a young girl named Yang Baai. She accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and a few pamphlets and wrote down her information requesting that we meet with her again. The only problem was that when we called her phone number, it wasn't correct, but thankfully, the address she wrote down was correct, and we were able to find her flatmate who gave us the right number. We called her, invited her to the baptism, and although she wasn't able to attend, she really wanted to come to church the next day. She came and stayed for all 3 hours and LOVED it! As we met with her briefly afterwards, we asked her if she believed in God. She said "before this morning, no, but hearing so many people talk about Him and feeling the peace and warmth I do here, I think I believe in a God." She was so anxious to meet with us she offered to send us her university schedule so we could schedule in meetings when she didn't have classes, and committed to pray daily before we even had finished explaining prayer and invited her. It was another great testimony builder to me that people ARE ready and willing to meet with us, it just takes some faith, prayer and diligence to find them.
Example #3- Very similar situation to Yang Baai. Elder White met Simon at the University orientation week and he had not picked up or responded to a phone call of ours. We decided to try the address he wrote down and he was surprised to see us, but welcomed us in. Right from the get go, he mentioned how little time he had because of studies, but we asked if he was still interested to learn more about Jesus Christ. He said that he was, but didn't know when he could find time. Thankfully, my companion asked, "Simon, we can take the next 10 minutes and at least teach you how to pray, would you allow us to do that?" He agreed, and it completely changed from that point. In his first prayer ever, he mentioned how grateful he was that we taught him how to communicate with God, and that he would pray every day. He was very glad that we came by, and although he is busy, was happy to meet us again next week for another short, and powerful lesson.
So this week, I have learned that when times get tough, keep pressing on and keep praying. Don't give up, there are people out there who really do have interest to learn, and as we seek for them, we will find them.

From my studies this week of the Doctrine of Christ, I came across one of my new favorite verses found in Doctrine and Covenants, 12:8: "And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care." I need to make sure that I qualify for each of those attributes. I think that the word "assist" is really key. We can be here doing the work on our own, but that wont be of any assistance whatsoever.... it is only when we do it with humility, faith, and so on, the Lord's way so to speak, that we will be of any assistance. If we do not do it His way, we are just wasting time and not being one bit of help.

I continue to love the Book of Mormon more and more as I read in it. As I studied Alma's advice to his sons in Alma 36 and 37, I saw several times the promise that "as ye shall keep the commandments of God, ye shall prosper in the Land." Obedience will always bring us blessings. I am grateful that I have gained a testimony of that in my life, no matter what God commands, I want to always have the desire to follow and keep His commandments, because I know that it leads to safety and peace.

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