Monday, November 18, 2013
First Area Week 10- Serve Where You are Called (10-7-2013)
Serve where you are called, not where you have been or where you might be. Serve where you are called.’” —President Thomas S. Monson
I know that this isn't the typical hymn that I send as the title of my emails, but it is something that I feel people need to understand. In my preparations for General Conference last week I had the opportunity to read an article about this conference being President Monson's 50th. In an interview after President Hinckley passed away and right before he was called as the next prophet and president of the Church, President Monson stated the quote above. While he meant it in regards to callings within the Church, I also read it to mean waiting for a visa. There are many that I have come across that have a very different idea of what waiting for a visa means. Some people say that your mission doesn't start until you get to your assigned mission, others have said that visa waiters don't care because it is not "their" mission. I know that what President Monson said is true. As missionaries, members of the Church, or as believers in Jesus Christ, we should serve where we are and not think of where we have been or where we could be!
I love being here in Ohio and I love the ward. It is a struggling ward that has had a lot of struggles and hardships in their past and it saddens my heart to hear some of the stories that I have. Sister Roberts and Sister Valikoula and I have been working really hard and we have been putting a really concentrated effort into less active work. So far we have yet to make contact with any new less actives, but I know that as we go forth with faith and continue to work hard, Heavenly Father will provide a way. We also have been really focusing on Brother Vanstone, who is really blossoming in his testimony of the Church.
I think my favorite thing about the mission is seeing all the miracles that Heavenly Father puts into our lives and the lives of the people that we work with. Two district meetings ago we role played a situation where a person comes up to us in the store and knows us but we don't know them. Well, that was divine inspiration because exactly that happened last Monday when we went grocery shopping. A young man approached Sister Valikoula and started talking to her about the Church. Soon Sister Roberts and I joined the conversation. Come to find out, Troy, is a member of the Church who recently moved back into the area after 4 years of military service. He has a job that keeps him from coming, but he was pretty receptive to us and coming over when he is off work.
Another miracle is related to dropping investigators with faith. Ohio is a slow moving area for missionary work and we had very few people investigating the Church anyways. All but one of the people we were working with were not truly interested in the message of the Restoration and after prayer and fasting we decided to drop them even though we had no idea what we were going to do with the time that we had. Last Sunday our ward had a fast to help the missionaries find people to teach. Yesterday, one of the members of the Bishopric, Brother Fink, came up to us and said he had 2 new people for us to teach! He made friends a young man and his fiance that are looking for more in life. He pretty much said, "Ask the missionaries, they can help you!" and invited them to dinner with us on Thursday at their house.
I think my favorite was last night though. Yesterday morning I began reading the Book of Mormon like I always do for personal study. I got the distinct impression that I needed to read the introduction, the testimonies of the 3 and 8 witnesses, Joseph Smith's testimony, and the brief explanation of the Book of Mormon. So I did as the Spirit directed and read all of that stuff at the front of the Book of Mormon. Yesterday, we watched the afternoon session with our investigator, Brother Vanstone and his family. Afterwards, they fed us dinner. As we were wrapping up dinner, Brother Vanstone started asking us all kinds of questions. One of them he asked about what the difference was between the small plates of Nephi and the large plates. I knew the difference, but because I followed the Spirit that morning during studies, I could show Brother Vanstone where he could go to read about all of the plates mentioned in the Book of Mormon. It was so cool!
General Conference was absolutely amazing! I loved every minute of it and was so glad for the members of the ward opening their homes so the missionaries could watch it. I really like Elder Dube's talk on Saturday morning and Russell M. Nelson from the Sunday afternoon. I can't wait to have a hard copy of all the talks and reread them! I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and I am so grateful for technology that allows all people everywhere to hear his words no matter how far away they are!
Remember The Lord Loves You and the Church is True!