So last Wednesday Elder Ringwood from the Seventy came to visit the mission and we got to hear him speak and ask him questions. I played the piano for the meeting which was actually pretty cool. I am the only missionary in the southern part of the mission who plays the piano. Awkward.
Anyways, the topic for the meeting was how to become an "Epistle of the Lord" and really have the gospel change us and, well, be written in our hearts.
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
They talked about how a silver refiner person will sit right next to the silver as it is purified in extreme temperatures. The refiner knows that it is pure when the silver reflects his face. And so with us, we have to pass through refining trials in order to be prepared for the work the Lord has for us to do. And when we are done we reflect the Savior to the world. The scripture I've been thinking a lot about lately is from President Monson's talk this October about being a light to the world. And it's not us radiating our own light at all, it is us being purified by the Savior enough so that we can reflect His light to the world.
It's been one of those refining weeks for us here in Mount Lewis Alpha.
We've been presented with some difficult things this week and the Savior has stood by us the entire time. Sister Anderson played tennis at home and one night she told me this wonderful little analogy. That Christ is like our perfect doubles partner. He plays the game right next to us, and lets us play even though He is completely capable of playing and winning by Himself. But as we make covenants with Him, He becomes our partner He lets us experience the game – the thrills and excitement of doing well, and also the pain and sadness of falling or messing up. But because He is so good at the game we will always always win. We play and because of His Perfection we can experience the joy at the end and be changed by the opportunity to play. I know that I'm not a perfect missionary, but I know that as we do what we can do (ie obedience) the Savior can make up the difference.
I can testify that broken hearts are a real thing, and my goodness do they hurt. Cesar and Bricia have had their faith trialed a LOT this week. Really really hard things. And they have decided not to continue learning about the church. They said that they love us, they know we are good people and servants of the Lord, but they can't accept the church or take the step of baptism. Obviously, if you read my past email, this was a huge surprise and shock to us. Still is. But we know that they are in the Lord's hands and we feel at peace with how things are. We still have a lot of hope for them, but for right now we aren't teaching them.
Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Over life's tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treach'rous shoal.
Chart and compass came from thee;
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
I read the account of Shadrach Meshach and Abed-nego this week, and I've really been thinking and pondering about their story. The King told them that they had to worship an idol and they said no, so the king told them to worship the idol or he would throw them in the furnace. The three of them said that they KNEW that God would save them from the furnace and protect them.
But if not: they would continue to believe in God, they would still refuse to worship the idol. That is what faith is. Knowing and having perfect trust in God and in His power, and if He chooses to not act in the way we expect or would like, that does not change the fact that He is God and that He lives and loves us, and that His ways are perfect (especially when we don't understand them). So I guess this is where my testimony comes in. I knew that Cesar and Bricia could have been baptized this week, but even though they were not, I know that God loves them, that He is involved in their lives and in mine. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and is an evidence of God's love, of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the calling of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. I love that book with my whole heart.
We were blessed with an amazing investigator this week! Luis . He has come to church twice and has started reading the Book of Mormon...and we just met him this week. We taught a beautiful spirit led lesson on the Restoration and he just soaked it all up. We explained to him that we want him to act with faith on the answers he receives and also in order to find an answer from God that this is His church. At the end of the (first!) lesson he says that he has received his answer and he KNOWS that this is true and where God wants him to be. We are praying about a baptismal date for him, but it will likely be at the end of this month. :D
Our other investigators continue to learn and progress :) Missionary work is amazing. It definitely is not the work of the missionaries, but of God.
Please pray for Erika, Paola, Rubie, Agustin, and Josie. They are at an important time!
I had a wonderful experience taking the sacrament this sunday. I love my covenants so much. I renewed my commitment to stand by the Savior and follow Him. I know this church is true and whatever the prophet says is from God. I want to have the kind of faith like the Pioneers who were asked to do really hard things that separated them from the lives they were comfortable with and in many cases everything that they knew. I want to have the faith like they had to press on in trusting the Lord no matter the circumstance.
12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storms shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
The winds are picking up. We HAVE to hold on to our love for the Savior with everything we have. We MUST make and keep covenants, and love and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because He is mighty to save.
I love you all!