The Lawrence adventure deepens as we nearly come to the close of my first transfer here. Next week I will bring news of the changes the transfer brings. It will be likely I will stay in Lawrence. Elder Daly's head is on the chopping block for the changes, but anything can happen!
We've been working hard finding a lot of new people. Serving with YSA, I've since learned one cannot attend the YSA if they have children. I joke that learning an investigator has children is a wonderful conversation starter. Previously: "Oh you have kids? That's wonderful! Our Heavenly Father sent us to this world in families so we can safely and peaceably teach our children about Christ and His Gospel." Now it's: "Oh, you have children? *sarcastically* Great, just great! Say no more, we're out of here!" Don't tell our investigators that! Some might try to convince us they have children.
Elder Daly and I are walking through a dark path through a wooded park at night. There are some people behind us, so my diabolical mind begins to think it would be such a creative ice breaker to give these this couple a nice scare. Elder Daly is very disapproving about my suggestion, but I hide behind a bush nonetheless. When they got close enough, I let out a small "BOO!" as I make movement towards them. Scared those two to death! They enjoyed the unexpected adrenaline and talked with us as we walked with them. Their names are Jake and Abby. Those two were the last of the nine investigators we have begun to teach. The Lord works in mysterious ways, therefore I can consider my actions to be justified as I too work in strange methods. I have no regrets!
I would like to congratulate my brother Alekken. He has only a few more doctor trips until he can turn in his mission papers! To any and all of you, please mention his name in your prayers. It's a difficult thing to leave all of your life behind, serve God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, leaving behind all other personal affairs. It wasn't easy for me, it wasn't easy for anyone I know, I dare say it wasn't easy for Alma the Younger who left his political success as chief judge to devote all his time and attention to serving the Lord. I venture also to say it wasn't easy for the apostles during and after Christ's ministry, nor easy for any one of our general authorities. To my dear friend Alekken and any future missionary, here's some things you ought to know:
Have faith - Trust that your Heavenly Father loves you, that He has given each of us His son. Faith is a principle of power. It leads to action and to repentance.
Be hopeful - Believe you will be blessed. Remember the Lord teaches "I the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say" (D&C 82:10). Have confidence, be optimistic. We are promised even if the gates of Hell gape open for our souls, it will be for our good.
Remember the two greatest commandments - Love the Lord, and love your neighbor. Remember without charity, we are nothing. Charity is a gift we must pray for as Moroni teaches us in the Book of Mormon.
Be worthy - A missionary must be clean and worthy to have the Spirit. You must always seek to have the Holy Ghost in your heart, and it will not be with you if you offend the Spirit. You must honor your priesthood because you will be given many, many opportunities to exercise it. In fact, going on a mission is a very important priesthood duty.
Value learning - It is important to learn on your mission. Learn more about the scriptures, learn how to teach, learn how to work with people. Be prepared to learn a lot! Remember the Spirit will come to your mind and your heart and will teach you often.
Be humble - Remain as teachable as you can. Know that the Lord is in control, and that is the only way to serve in the Lord's way. This offers protection, peace, and the dwelling of the Spirit in the heart of any missionary.
Have patience - Don't be frustrated with yourself or with anyone else. Everyone is doing the best they can. Trials will come, because a mission isn't easy. Life isn't easy either, so this is great practice! All you will encounter will be struggling to overcome something. Including you!
Work hard - Life is short! And a mission is even shorter! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Give it everything you have! You will enjoy your mission so much more if you are diligent.
Obedience - Obey the commandments! This is a surefire way to receive a ton of blessings. Including special covenants you have made all your life with the Lord. Remember we are promised if we remember Him, keep His commandments, and take upon ourselves the name of Christ, we will always have His Spirit to be with us.
Well I'm done preaching. I'll step off my soap box now. But one last thing...
I know this church is true, I know the Savior lives! I know Joseph Smith truly is a prophet, the first of the last dispensation, to restore the gospel to the Earth never to be taken again. What a wonderful time to be alive!
It's 5:59 PM and Lawrence needs some Jesus! Love you all! I'm going to get to work.