Saturday, July 23, 2011

Exchange with the AP

"Well the time flies by and I continue to be shocked that my mission will be over before you know it. When we think in terms of 6 week periods, I'm pretty much at my year mark, yeah, not really, but it'll be here far too soon... But, we'll try not to think about that, I think I'm just going to stop counting because it makes me too stressed when I think of how time is going by way too quickly!!

Well this week was pretty cool because one of the Assistants [to the mission president] came out with us on exchange for two and a half days! It was awesome to have the opportunity to learn from him and to get some of his advice on how to work with the ward, how to work with our investigators and how to find. We had a miracle day with him, just because he's super good I guess, and we had 5 new investigators in one day, it was honestly ridiculous! Most of them are pretty solid too, so we're really excited to be able to teach them.

He also helped us learn how to work with members a little more. It was great because we were able to go visit members, stay with them for just a half hour, leave them with a commitment to do some missionary work, bring the spirit, and then leave without using up a lot of time just chatting. It was much better, and helped me understand even more the value of member missionary work when we do it in a very focused way.

He also gave me some advice on what I can do better as a teacher, as a companion, and as a missionary. It was honestly an awesome exchange and it helped me gain some focus that I'd felt like I'd lost. Now the key is just continuing to apply what he taught us. While we probably won't have 5 new investigators every day, and we really don't want that many every day, we should be able to work in a similarly focused manner. It's going to be sweet! While we still had no one at church this week, since most of the people we found, we found on Saturday and they already had plans for Sunday, they all have a lot of potential and we've been able to work well with them since then.

We've also had the opportunity this week to do some service. We've felt like we've lost some of the trust of the ward since there have been no baptisms and almost no one at church for the last two months... So we've been serving them, and committing them to do missionary work, as well as having them come out more with us. We've only been doing it for a little while, but already I can feel a difference in our missionary work. Not to mention that it's awesome to see the members catch a little bit of the missionary fire! As they invite their friends to church and such they feel the joy of missionary work and they're even more excited to just keep going! It's been pretty awesome to see!

Our District meeting was also pretty cool! We learned more about the importance of the Book of Mormon, and as you can probably imagine with 5 missionaries in the same room talking about the Book of Mormon it was a pretty spiritual experience. I would invite you all to redo the promise in Moroni 10. You'll get an answer every time, and as you do you'll be more excited to share that testimonies with others! When we really take the time to think about the significance of the Book of Mormon it's incredible. When I think of how much it has influenced my life it's almost incomprehensible, and as we share that same thing, and those same feelings with other people they can't help but feel the spirit testify to them that our testimony is true. It's like it says somewhere about the prophet Nephi. He was preaching to the people and they could not deny his words because his testimony was so powerful. It's a truth that each of us can have. The Book of Mormon carries the spirit with it so powerfully that any sincere reader will be convinced of its truth by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Sometimes doubts will come into my mind about things in the church, little thoughts placed by Satan, but no matter how strong the doubt, or how persistent the thought, it always comes back to the Book of Mormon. My witness of the Book of Mormon has come to be unshakeable, something I wasn't sure would happen before the mission. I'd always believed and felt it to be true, but I don't ever think I really knew knew that I knew. Now I definitely do, and nothing will ever be able to shake me from my testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon. A lot of that is due to Mom and Dad making sure I read it when I was little, and I know all you guys have that same testimony, and it'll be sweet for you guys to reconfirm it. It's an awesome thing to do, and as Preach My Gospel says, we should do it frequently! Anyways that's about it for the week, it was pretty sweet! Hopefully this next week I'll be able to tell you about some baptismal dates and some investigators at church!"

"I'm most definitely enjoying my time serving here, while at times it's been frustrating, and disappointing, I will forever say that it is worth it! Just the [one] baptism would have been worth it! Oh, and [that family] will be baptized this Saturday!!! Unfortunately I won't be able to go to the baptism... It's been too long since I taught them, but I better see pictures! I remember teaching them, and just being able to see them all dressed in white together. It'll be kind of a bummer that I can't go, but the important thing is that they're going to be baptized! They're going to be so strong in the church!!
Derek with his District

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