Another awesome week and a half. Especially with Conference! Boy did I need that uplifting change in pace. That was so very nice! I wish I could write all my thoughts on Conference, but my condensed notes alone spanned about 20 pages in my study journal, so I won't put too much in here :)
Update on the work: Everyone was out of town! So we only got to teach one lesson since last Thursday, and that was on splits, so it was just me and our Ward Mission Leader. His name is Jason, and he's a hard-core gamer, so I've been the only missionary that's actually been able to progress with him. So it's been super cool to work with him! One night I really wanted him to say the closing prayer, but he was too embarrassed to pray in public (Because he went less active shortly after converting at 18) so we rolled dice for it like it was a DnD game. I had faith the lord would help on a silly matter like Dice, and he did! Jason said the prayer.
Another cool experience: (There were quite a few this week) We met a man working on his car, who was 23 and had gone from living in a small South American country with a dirt poor family to being quite successful here in the States. We talked about his religious background, and he used to be Jehovah's Witness and had read the bible many times... But didn't have any faith. We asked him if he believed in God, and he replied "I work in law enforcement. In San Bernadino County alone, 7 people are killed every day... Where is your God in that?" His question was not one of anger, or malice but of legitimate heartache and abandonment. I have rarely felt the spirit so strong as that moment when I had the opportunity to testify to him that there was indeed a Loving Heavenly Father. I asked him if it had been hard to turn his life around and leave his home to live here. He said Absolutely, and I then asked if he would trade those difficulties for anything. He stopped, and said with tears in his eyes that he wouldn't. I told him that this life is like a "refiner's fire" and that we go through, just like metal, excruciating heat and brutal pounding and shaping in the hands of the Maker that we may become the beautiful creation he wants us to be. It was so cool to see his countenance change, and even though nothing else has come of it, my testimony was strengthened that there is indeed a God who loves us all.
Another cool experience: We had just visited our Ward Mission Leader and had planned to be across town, but Elder Acox suggested we should visit a less active in the complex just over from us. So we did, and on our way we saw a different less active, who had stopped coming to church when he moved into our ward. We'd dropped by a few times but he was 'too busy' and didn't want to talk.Today though, he opened up to us completely. He was a returned missionary and has been swept away by Anti-Mormon material. He was truly hurt by things that the Church said, and there was no explanation to his concerns that we could say that calmed him. But the key was that he had stopped reading the scriptures about the time he came across these doubts. We talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon, things he already knew and had just forgotten, and the contention left immediately, and as the subject had changed, so did the mood. The spirit was strong as we testified of our knowledge of the truthfulness of that book, and he accepted the challenge to read it again cover to cover. As he was leaving, he said "You know, today for some reason... I just felt like fasting. I guess you guys were the answer!"
This church is so true. I have more experiences, but I don't have time to write them all. I just hope you don't take for granted the power of the scriptures. Seriously. That's the key. People can create arguments all they want, and they can disprove, deny and down-play the Book of Mormon, but none of that matters. What greater witness can you receive then from God?
I know the Book of Mormon is true, and I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God called to restore the one true gospel of Christ. And what an amazing gift we have that comes with that! The opportunity to be like God and live with our families forever!
I apologize if I seemed a little bummed out the past few weeks, because I really do love this work that I'm doing.