Monday, September 8, 2014

Just be happy.

September 8, 2014

Mom,

I actually got a new comp this week. His name is Elder Mamea. He is a professional rugby playing Samoan who grew up in Hawaii. It was a surprise we got him, he has already served in the ward for six months, and now he's moved one area over to be in a trio with Elder Poulson and me. It was unexpected, but God does whatever he sees is best for his children. He's a super funny guy, loves all the members and investigators sincerely and just wants to help people. I'm learning there is more than one way to do missionary work. Elder Mamea, Elder Poulson, and I are definitely different people, but together we can still do great work.

I have learned that all it really takes is willingness; God really has all eternity to work on us, if we let him, there's no rush. That's where patience comes in. We often see how far we have to go and never even take the first step. I'm learning how much a difference having the Spirit means. It is more than just being worthy and obedient. It is having faith and hope. When we believe that God will do all things for our good, that there will be a solution, in time there always is. Elder Mamea often says: "If you're not having fun, the Spirit won't be there. If you're sad the Spirit won't be there." Sacrificing our happiness, even for our responsibilities, is the wrong way to do it. The companionship of the Spirit is way too valuable to let stress, anxiety, or depression get it the way, no matter how justified our sadness may seem to be. Just be happy. 

We saw a big miracle this week. We saw T. and J. again, they've been coming to church regularly, they know the members, they enjoy our visits, but say they want to be 100% sure about everything before they get baptized. We promised them that sureness would be there if they read the Book of Mormon and pray to know it is true. Last week J. joined the very short list of people I've taught on my mission that really and sincerely tried that promise. Last Sunday he read, without a prayer, without really trying and nothing happened. That night, he had a dream that he was a member of the church. The next day, he tried again with real effort: he said his mind opened up, he felt refreshed, that the words stuck in his head and he could really understand them, he said a happiness was in him that wasn't there before that stayed. We testified to him that the Holy Ghost had testified to him, and that as he continued to do the things God asks him to do, he'd feel the same way again and again. This was the same J. who, after we shared the Joseph Smith story and asked him how he felt said, "frankly I feel nothing, I just feel the same." In that moment he wasn't ready, we hadn't done what he needed for him to feel it. The Spirit won't be forced. It only comes through obedience to and faith in our Father. And when it comes, things happen.

Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke of the power of the Spirit: “True conversion comes through the power of the Spirit. When the Spirit touches the heart, hearts are changed."

Now they can either embrace the Spirit like Nephi or reject it like Laman and Lemuel. But what hope it gives me, knowing the power the Spirit has to change thoughts, beliefs, desires and actions. What hope it gives me to know that my investigators and I will change just by experiencing the Spirit. From 1 Corinthians 2:

"It is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."

The Spirit is a good teacher, the best in fact. It shows and doesn't just tell. When the Spirit testifies of something true, it shows us exactly what we will feel as we live what we are being told. 


love
Elder Decker

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