This has been a busy, exciting week full of miracles and Conference was phenomenal!!
Fun things first:
We played a glow-in-the-dark game of ultimate frisbee. Best thing of my life. Cool night air, a legit light-up disc, teams with different colored glow bracelets and the field outlined with glowsticks...hard to beat. It was also cool because most people got passed to--it's hard to judge who is who if you can't seen anything but a glowing bracelet.
Also, I am the foosball champion. I have played all the missionaries, and many ward members on the foosball table in the institute building in the past few weeks when we have a spare minute. I don't know how I got so good because all I remember about foosball is Caleb beating everyone, me especially. But somehow I have beaten everyone I've played more than they've beaten me. I owe Caleb a match when I get back :P
This week we had MLC (mission leadership council) and I learned a lot. Good leaders start with the end in mind--so as I'm teaching and talking to people, to remember where I'm headed in the lesson, and in helping an individual progress towards baptism and to come closer to Christ. Vision is so important in being able to lift others higher and to move forward yourself. Understanding is so important. I can't count how many times I've said "If they only understood what we had to offer." If people really understood our message and the significance of it, is there any doubt in our minds what they would do? Understanding is one of my favorite subjects, so I enjoyed studying that more and teaching about it in zone meeting a few days later.
If you want a list of scriptures about the importance of understanding, here it is: (what: Prov 4:7, Prov, Eph , Eph . why: Alma , D&C 20:68, Matt . how: Psalms 119:129-130, Nehemiah 8:8, Mosiah 2:9, , 2 Nephi 31:3, D&C , 3 Nephi 26:1) I don't expect y'all to read all of those, but they're really insightful if you want to learn more about understanding.
This week we also had the opportunity to teach Institute. Both the teachers were out of town for a conference, so we were asked to substitute. The topic was Matthew 26-28 which includes such things as The Sacrament, Garden of Gethsemane, Cross, and Resurrection... talk about a hefty topic. But it went really well! I learned so much from the student manual and it was a joy to take the time to study more about the Atonement of our Savior.
One of my favorite parts of the lesson was studying the symbolism of the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane, a garden of olive trees, means "oil press'. Olives are pressed to produce oil, and when Christ was there he was pressed with the weight of our sins, and produced blood from every pore. It is intriguing to look at the symbolism between olive oil and Christ's blood (The Atonement). What is olive oil used for? Things like food, anointing, fuel/light, lubricant (make it easier to move), ointment for healing.... the list could go on. What can we use Christ's blood, The Atonement for in our lives? Think about it.
This week we've also taught a lot of really solid new investigators, I'm excited to see what happens, and I have been inspired to be more lovingly bold as I teach them as a result of conference. We have Truth. Absolute Truth and you can know for yourself. That is one of the most profound messages ever. The implications if our message is True is astonishing. Wouldn't you want to find out? We have a lot of people we're teaching who are in that process of finding out. We have a lot of people who are finding answers but experiencing a lot of family opposition. I hope we can give them strength and conviction to press forward.
Something that we've really been pushing in the mission is the importance of family history work. We've been teaching that sooner in the lessons and it's had an amazing effect. Brooke, one of our investigators who is getting baptized on Saturday is incredible. She has gotten into that and is already finding names to take to the temple the week after she is baptized. We've taught several of our other investigators and the thing about family history is that it expands our vision. The cause is greater than just one individual. As our investigators come to understand that it's really powerful. As they come to understand that our ancestors are not far away and that they are working in our behalf, it is strengthening. I have such a testimony of the importance of temple and family work and the role it has hand-in-hand with missionary work.
Wow, I've written an essay and not even talked about Conference yet. I receive many answers and a lot of direction, both for myself and on behalf of my investigators. It was incredible to realize how specifically a lot of their concerns were answered if they were sincerely listening. One of them definitely was. Taylor, who we've taught a few times, came to the Saturday Afternoon session with questions in her heart, looking for God to lead her. We met with her afterwards and she bore powerful testimony to us of the peace, purpose, and direction she had found since meeting with us and especially in the past session of conference. She told us that she had felt led to this and that it was a clear answer to her prayers. She's already been sharing about the Book of Mormon with her somewhat skeptical family, and is moving forward. We set a baptismal date with her yesterday and I am just overwhelmed with gratitude to be here as a missionary. Sometimes it's hard to fathom the trust the Lord has in me and the many blessings I have been given. I feel privileged just to be able to associate with such incredible people. I'd love to hear more about what you learned from General Conference!
Email me, write me (401 Anderson St. #1F. College Station, TX 77840) I know that we heard the words of prophets this weekend and as we take the time to really apply what we learned we will feel of Heaven's help and become better, happier people.
Love you all!