Hey everybody, this past week has been a bit of a roller-coaster. We had some good stuff happen such as having 18 in church which wasn't as many as last week, but it is our second best. We also had a large multi-zone conference which was pretty cool. One of the things that President Weidmann did was have us watch the Meet the Mormons movie. It was really good! It does a really good job of answering questions that investigators or potential investigators could have about us, and it does it in a very chill and natural way. Another thing that we discussed was chapter 11 in Preach My Gospel and helping people to make and keep commitments. In case you did not know this, that is a very difficult but essential part of missionary work. One thing that really stuck out to me in my pre-study of this chapter was that we can testify and promise blessings on seemingly everything! If something is good and brings someone closer to Christ we can testify about it and promise blessings for that action. It expanded my mind. I could really testify and promise blessings when asking someone to say a prayer in a lesson, to let you into their house, and the list goes on.
We had a bit of craziness in the district this week. I mentioned that an elder in the district was going through shock. His name is Elder Meyers. This has happened 3 times on his mission and they just sent him home this morning to go figure out what the problem is because they haven't been able to yet. In the meantime, Elder Wilcox (he is the district leader and a really good missionary who has been in the field about 8 months) has been with Arsen, one of the members from Shkoder. Arsen, now Elder Bisha, will be going to Tirana on a mini-mission though and we will be getting a new missionary, Elder Walley, up here. I am glad that I decided to not get sick on my mission so that none of this stuff will happen to me.
I had the opportunity to listen to a talk with Elder Szabo from a BYU Devotional by Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy. It was incredible. He went over 4 decisions in his life that had shaped him. One of the things that he discussed was his decision to receive as much education as he could. It made me think a whole lot actually. I have been blessed with opportunities out the wazoo to do some pretty cool things in my life. It seems as though either the Lord is saying that either this kid needs every chance possible to learn a thing or two, or He is preparing me to try and be ready to be an effective tool in whatever capacity He may need (probably a little of both). I have come to a rather stark realization that if I do not obtain as much education as possible, I am not making myself as effective of a tool in the Lord's hand and not achieving whatever potential He may have for me. If I do not do my part to find a good job to support my family and have a habit of saving along the way, I will not be able to help others around me. It truly made me understand even more fully what Paul said when he said "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" This moment and each moment is so important to prepare ourselves for the grand work which the Lord wills for us to accomplish. That whole thing didn't come out really as I wanted, but I think that you get the point.
Also, one thing that I have been thinking a lot about in the recent past is agency. I didn't used to think that I had very strong opinions about things in life. That has changed. Haha, it actually makes me smile when I think how much more firm I have become on some things in my life over the course of the last many months. Well, one of those things that I have come to find is my insistence that agency is a gift that God allowed us to maintain upon this earth and is not something that man can either give nor receive. I see missionaries and members so often be afraid to ask commitment...as if it were the least bit in their power to grant another the freedom of agency and they are afraid to bind it down. We must be bold in our message because no matter how much one asks, expects, or even "forces" another to do, agency is still present. That is something that can neither be given nor taken by another. It is innate and natural. When we show forth bold invitation, we do not bind someone's agency down, but rather require its being exercised. So, be bold.
Hey everybody, you guys are great. Today there is going to be something that is going to push you to make a change in your life in order to better your standing with the Lord. When you receive that little nudge I urge you to not overlook it, but to have the courage to follow it, even if it is a bit uncomfortable.
Love you so much,