Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wow, I feel like the investigator at this point...

So hello everyone!
No visa news yet, but it's not my time, it's God's ;)
So I would like to tell about my week before I get to the glorious conference!
De hecho (editor: "in fact"), nothing really super happened, but we did make great strides with Gabriel and some new investigators.  Essentially, Gabriel was already prepared for us prior to us contacting him. He is essentially doing everything on his own, he is building his own faith, he doesn't need us as a guide. He is nearly done with the Book of Mormon, he told me that he constantly prays for understanding and a testimony over it. It's incredible to see a man have faith, and show it. I prepared a really scripture heavy lesson on the Plan of Salvation (it went great!) and he already understood most of it with but a few questions. I really learned from this lesson the importance of using scriptures, because if you can backup the doctrines that you teach with the scriptures, people are more likely to believe it :) Without the scriptures, we're just a bunch of teenagers sharing our opinions. When we share scriptures with the Spirit, it reinforces the doctrines.

As in weeks past, Elder Jensen was in the other room teaching Pedro so me and Gabriel had some time to chat. It was really spiritual. This man was so prepared for the gospel. He was asking me about the temple, and why only members are allowed in. I explained to him how it's a sacred place of the Lord, His literal house. He completely understood the difference between secrecy and sacredness. This lead us into a conversation about worthiness, and he shared with me how he used to be an alcoholic, and his battle to overcome it. It was really touching to see a man just express his heart to me ...I'm just a kid. He told me that when he drank, he would feel depressed, unworthy, guilty; but when he would read the Bible, he would be filled with power, enough power to overcome his addiction. He then explained that when he reads the BoM, he is filled with even more power and desire. He told me that prayer and reading are God's way of protecting us. :) Amen brother! Wow, I feel like the investigator at this point. He then started asking questions about Joseph Smith, his story. He was shocked to hear that such a great man, and prophet of God, was martyred for his testimony. I then took this opportunity to bear my testimony about Joseph Smith, and how I KNOW that he was a true prophet, and that he brought forth the BoM, another Testament of Jesus Christ. And that Joseph Smith would not likely die for a false book, but that it was true, and that he with his last words died praising God. This really touched Gabriel; he agreed that no man would die for such a book unless it was true. I then invited him to come and view the living prophet. I encouraged him to write down some of the questions of his soul, pray about them, and the prophets and apostles would answer them. And guess what, Gabriel came and said his questions were answered. :) These prophets are of God, and speak nothing but His words for our benefit and guidance.
So as I said in my last email we have been praying and hoping for some new people to teach ...we'll we found 6 :) And this coming week we should be expecting about 8 more. :) It really is touching to see how the Lord blesses you when you simply ask, and act. I have been pondering the idea that "God isn't going to answer your prayers unless you show Him that you want them answered." So we prayed to find some new people, and we went searching, and look how the Lord blessed us. :)
It is so much more fun and enlightening when you are a missionary. One, because all the missionaries get into it and are gasping and oohing and taking notes like crazy. Two, because not only do you go into conference with questions of your own, but you are listening to every bit of helpful information you can use to help your investigators. The spiritual power of conference really increases when you go in thinking about others.
So of course I loved all the speakers. I also noticed some themes: missionary work, family and marriage values, enduring hardships, standing up for standards, "God's law is higher than Man's." I will just share a few that I really loved and can remember (I left my notes at home :p).  Editors note: Holy cats ...what would this email have been like if he had remembered to bring his notes!! :)
I loved Uchtdorf's Saturday morning talk, it's perfect for one of our new investigators. About how many things are church does, and why we as members participate so much. I loved how he testified that the authority of God is found in the church.  This talk is perfect for investigators, because Uchtdorf was explaining it from the eyes from someone looking from the outside in.
Elder Bednar! I love how articulate and intellectual he speaks. Siempre he disfrutado sus palabras (editor's note: "I always love his words"). He was an answer to my "unwritten question" although it wasn't a question that I felt I needed answering; but of course, God knows me better than I know myself. I have really been worrying about teaching the law of tithing to investigators, and this talk really calmed me down and made me confident of the privilege it is to pay tithing and the many resulting blessings. God is so mercifully that He answered a question I didn't even know to ask. 
Elder Dube's got an awesome accent, and gave an even awesomer talk! I loved how the theme was to be grateful for what you have accomplished in life, but to focus on what life you have left. I loved the quote he used (from Elder Holland) "The past is to be learned from, not lived in." Powerful statement huh? So true though. If we are constantly reminiscing of our past, we won't have all of our power to make a better future. There will always be work for us to do in the Kingdom of God, and when one finds himself in the work of the Lord, it doesn't feel like work, but a joyous privilege.
Elder Richard G Scott's talk was uplifting and powerful. We can draw personal power from the atonement. And from that sacrifice, Christ knows PERFECTLY how to comfort us. And knows PERFECTLY where to fortify us.
I loved President Monson's talk on Sunday morning. So touching. His feelings about his wife were so pure. I kinda' got teary eyed. He was expressing true pain to us, but followed up with a powerful testimony of the enduring power we are capable of if we focus on Christ. This man, this prophet, was expressing one of the most painful spiritual experiences I'm sure he has ever had to endure, and he turned his pain into a beautiful and touching testimony of the mercy and power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We can endure any hardship, if we endure it through Christ.
I am fortified each and every day out here in the mission. And witnessing these words of real modern-day prophets just again testified to me of the validity of the Lord's true gospel and the authority that this church posses. I know that these prophets are just men, but God has chose them to be His powerful servants and our leaders at this time. These men hold all the keys and authority of His church. I am proud to have sustained such noble men of God. I know they are true prophets of the Lord. I cannot deny the witness I received during Conference. My faith will never falter.
I love it out here, and love you all! :D
-Elder Clemons