**(Don't have time? skip to the story after the BOLD... LEGIT)
New companion, new area. Both of which are AMAZING. It's funny how Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us, and it always works out--despite what we might think to begin with.
This week was INSANE. Before the transfer President Curtis mentioned that he had "an assignment" for me and my new companion... Turns out he was taking us with his wife and his Assistants to a youth conference for the Declo Stake! So at 7am Friday morning we were headed out to the conference. Oh heavens. I served in the Declo stake almost a year ago exactly--so many youth recognized me and there were about 200 people in the small cabin. They had questions for us and wanted us to share experiences. I just about died. No way did I feel like i was one of those "experienced missionaries" as they kept calling us. it was insane! At the end the youth sang the medley of As sisters in Zion and the Army of Helaman--cried like a child. SOOO good.
We had spent HOURS the day before during weekly planning organizing the area book and cleaning it out.... We set some good goals, planned for the current investigators and just got to work. We were able to see the blessings of diligence and planning because we had come home from district meeting when someone from the library in Kimberly calls telling us that she's got a spanish friend for us to meet. BOOM. Booked it to the library, found one new investigator. Oh good ol' Maggie from Puerto Rico. OH the blessings. Seriously. A willing heart and a little dedication goes a long way.
We had a Branch activity Friday night--the branch people are LEGIT. met the Venezuelan ladies that Hna Rex had talked so much about.. oh man, I felt like I was home. These people are SOO good, so dedicated. Turns out it was a "water activity" so they had a kiddie pool and water balloons... yeah, turns out "I"m a missionary" isn't enough of an excuse for these people cause they attacked us with water balloons.. oh man.
Saturday we had a stake breakfast, and a pioneer day activity that we helped serve at... BUSY BUSY.
But the word "busy" doesn't even begin to cover our Sundays here. We had a stake meeting at 7:30 am, followed by church at 9 and a meeting at 12, then another meeting with the branch WML at 1:30 and church from 2:30-5:50, dinner, time for one appointment and home... I AM DRAINED.
**So highlight of the week: SUNDAY NIGHT DINNER.
this Hna from the branch is from Chile, had a rough life. married at 19, two kids, and divorced...alll by the time she's 34. but that's another story because she is so full of faith and dedication for the gospel--it's ridiculous. Anywho, Her brother is in town from Chile for the month to visit... He's a RM--served in Ecuador, came home AAANDDD.... turned Muslim... WHAAAAATTTTT?!?!?!?! We had dinner at their house so naturally we had to find out how that all worked out. Turns out he was on his mission with what he explained to be "a weak testimony". He never felt strongly about certain things in the gospel and he let his doubts become stronger than his faith. He saw an article in the Liahona about the middle east and what they believed and all that sort of good stuff--he remembered that his ancestors were from the Holy Land and got really interested in it, so when he came home from his mission he decided that LDS wasn't really for him, he took another route. As we sat during the dinner and for like an hour he told us about AAAAALLLL the things that they believe and how similar it is to what he believes in his new religion--similar, but with one GIANT difference: Jesus Christ was a prophet and an important person in history... but NOT THE SAVIOR OF MANKIND..... can you imagine?!?! So here we were wondering what in the world drives him to even keep going. He has a new religion but he made mention that he's not "a radical", he's not in it 100% because there's some things that he doesn't agree with either. He kept saying the word "practico" or practical when it came to his religion. that everything was set in stone. the law was written directly from revelation and that they even knew the proper way to wash their hands...-->CONVENIENT. I thought about that talk in conference that talked about Comfortable Gods. Of course his new religion is practical, it requires no faith. It requires no sacrifice, it requires no need to do hard things... you just do more good than bad and hope that they outweigh each other in the end and you are saved by your good deeds... WHAAAAATTTT?!?!?!?!
As I studied this morning (because obviously it was driving me NUTS) my testimony was strengthened... like X a BILLION. I read in Alma 37--all about scriptures. and I came to realize that the scriptures are here to testify of Jesus Christ. They are here to show us what it is that we need to do to strengthen the faith we have. It's easy to give up, it's easy to say "my faith isn't strong enough" or "I don't belive" so I'm going to choose something else. Alma 37:16 teaches us that we are to be obedient, but obedient through prayer... when we pray about what we are asked to do/live/say/whatever, we can know if it comes from God or from some other source... We can truly know the truthfulness of all things through prayer. When we receive an answer that it's from HF we will know that it's worth it. We will keep striving to be obedient, even if we do not understand WHY.
Now, don't get me wrong. This guy is one of the best men I have ever met. I have never seen a bigger respect for Heavenly Father and a bigger desire to do what's right. I'm not judging him on his decision, I'm thanking him for helping me realize that I NEED A SAVIOR, because I can't do it on my own. I know without a doubt that this is the true church. I know without a doubt that if we obey we will receive the blessings that have been promised to us. I know without a doubt that the gospel is not always easy to live, but it's always worth it. I'm thankful for this brother and the testimony that we were able to share because I KNOW he felt the spirit. It was amazing how after an hour and some of him telling us about all the good and bad of religion (and he was SUPER kind about it, he knows TONS about religion), all it took was one short scripture and two testimonies to bring in the spirit into the room. Not once did I feel something while he was talking, but when we both testified of the love Heavenly Father has for ALL OF US, the spirit came in stronger than anything I have ever felt before. What a blessing.
I hope that you can look for ways to strengthen your faith. If you don't believe or have doubts about a certain area of the gospel, I hope you don't look for the easy way out. I hope you pray, study and ponder. Heavenly Father did not put us on this earth to do it alone, He sent His son.
I'm so excited for these next few months. my testimony grows in leaps and bounds every day. I'm excited to work hard and to continue to bring this gospel to those who have never had it, or to those who have forgotten along the way.
Have a wonderful week!