Friday, April 29, 2016

March 14, 2016

Week 4: Jacob 6:5

I can't believe it's almost been a MONTH since I entered the field!!! I say it every week, but time is literally flying by. My teacher in the MTC phrased it best: a day feels like a week, and a week feels like a day when you're doin the Lord's work.

Which isn't really a good thing when you try to write your weekly email...I'm sitting here like, " did i even do this week? xD" It all kinda blurs together sometimes to be honest, but a few crazy things have stood out. I'm experiencing so much. Every day brings new challenges and vice versa new blessings.

This past week we visited a less active member, and lemme tell ya, Satan was there. That might sound dramatic, but I could not feel the Spirit AT ALL, and it wasn't because of me. Believe me, I was for real doing some intense praying (in my heart, not out loud, that would have been kinda awkward in the middle of a lesson am I right), but this guy just was not feelin it at all. He has ZERO desire to read his scriptures, pray, go to church, etc. His heart is COMPLETELY closed. He hates the concept of faith, not just in our Church but in religion in general. His parents are very active from what I understand, and we are not the first missionaries he's met with. He knows all about Alma 32 and planting the seed and "crying unto the Lord with all your soul" and yadi yada yada. He served a mission for about 6 months, and throughout that entire time he told us he tried to plant the seed and let it grow and gain a testimony and all the good stuff. But when he failed to receive any kind of answer, he gave up. He came home. He stopped trying.

So, I ask you, how do you help someone who's prayed, who's read his scriptures, but never received any answers? He said he never wants to "go back there" because it only depressed him and put him in a dark place, so that's why he's cut God completely out of his life (which is no bueno--seriously. Not a good idea).

So anyway there I am, sitting across from this guy, and I just feel terrible. I could barely speak. He said he doesn't want to go off faith, he wants physical proof that God is real. Ironically, even if our Father in Heaven just went around showing himself to anyone who asked, why would he show himself to someone who doubts his very existence? Like, hello? Of course he wouldn't! We NEED faith. This is what he doesn't understand. And then he starts talking hullabaloo about how we don't really have agency because God knows what we're going to do, and if he DOESN'T know what we're going to do, then he isn't really all knowing and powerful and thus isn't God. Um....????????!?!?!??!

Suffice it to say, I felt very awkward, and since it was this greenie's first experience with someone like him, I honestly had no idea what to say. Every scripture that came to mind was thrown back into my face before I could even say it.

I don't know what he's been through. I don't know to what extent he's really prayed, if he had that sincere heart and real intent or not. I don't know if he has issues or habits or addictions that have gone unrepented of and unresolved. But I know that his heart is hard, his mind is closed, and that Satan has real power over the hearts and minds of the children of men...but only if we let him. Only if we turn away from God and let our doubts overcome our faith and we give up, we quit trying.

So how do you help someone who despises faith have faith in Jesus Christ????

(Is any of this even making sense? I feel like I'm rambling and all over the place. Only having an hour and a half to write an email is really stressful)

Anyway, so that was intense, and hopefulyl the next time I have an encounter like that, I won't sit there like a brainless potato.

This past weekend I went on exchanges with one of our STLs (sister training leaders), Hermana Lopez, which was super fun, even though naturally 90% of the day we were meeting with hispanics and they were speaking Spanish. Those two years of high school spanish did nothing for me, to say the least, but it was still fun. One lady came out of her house and was like "We're Christian! We're not Mormon! Go away!"

We did not make an appointment with her, unfortunately, but maybe one day she'll figure out the members of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints are in fact Christian.

Oh! Yesterday two of our wards had ward conference. Guess who taught the Sunday School lesson? That's right. The Holy Ghost. Naturally. I was there too, but it was all Him. I just said things. He did the rest. It was pretty fun. We did an object lesson all about missionary work and how we are all "tools in the hands of the Lord". We had a bucket with a bunch of construction tools in it and so we went over each tool and what it did and I asked the class which tool they thought was the most important when it comes to building a house.

Long story short the whole point in the lesson was that each tool is different, but each tool is important, just like all of us. We are all different, we all have different strengths and talents, but we're all important, and we're all NEEDED, in order to build the Kingdom of God, by reaching out to those around us and testifying of Christ. It was pretty awesome. I kinda went off script and tied in how the foundation of this house we're building (OUR LIVES) need to be built on Christ and our faith in him.

We can build a beautiful house, but if our foundation isn't strong, that house is gonna collapse. Just like our lives will when we're faced with trials and have a weak foundation. If we have faith in Christ, if our lives are BUILT on Christ, then we can endure any pain, any challenge, any grief.

"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 storm 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."

We CANNOT FALL if our faith and our foundation are built on Jesus Christ!

That's my sermon for the week!

Sadly, we still have no one on date for baptism. Out of all the people we're teaching, only one of them is a non member, and I've extended a baptism commitment twice now, but he still isn't sure. He's said several times that once he KNOWS, he won't hesitate to get baptized. He's even said he'd go to his Pastor and all his friends and family and give them a Book of Mormon and tell them to read it. If you ask me, he already knows. He's already converted. He knows that the Book of Mormon is helping him come closer to Jesus Christ, he's just hesitating to ACT, and still isn't totally sure about the Restoration.

So that's what our lesson with him last night turned out to be. We asked him how he felt when he read the BoM and he said it felt good. We asked him if he was reading every single day and praying about it every single day...he said he wasn't, but he always felt like he should. I told him that was the Holy Ghost's way of trying to get him to read more of the BoM. So we challenged him to act on his desire to know, to know for himself, to really study and ponder and find out for himself whether or not the Book of Mormon is the word of God and Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

We'll see how it goes next Sunday! With any luck, HG's gonna do his thing and we'll have a baptism soon!!!

Overall, what I learned the most this week is the huge difference faith makes in a person's life. When we have faith, when we have that desire to KNOW, the possibilities for us are endless and eternal. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

Stay true to the faith,
Sister Wainwright

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