Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference

Dear Family,
General Conference is like Christmas! This weekend was filled with the excitement of listening to the Prophet and apostles with our investigators and members. It's the most wonderful time of the year! How remarkable it is that our Heavenly Father loves us enough to bless us with a Prophet on the earth today. Of course this is the church of Jesus Christ! Not because it is better than any other church but because it is true. Christ has clearly established one path of truth and righteousness, and we are blessed with the means to understand and embark on that path. What a great weekend.
This week we had a terrific lesson with T______. We have taught her twice and she has felt the Spirit confirm to her that the Book of Mormon is true and that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. T_____ has committed to be baptized at the end of May! Her eleven year old son sat in on our last lesson and he accepted the invitation to learn more with his Mom. This week we followed up with that invitation (just as Elder Ballard directed in General Conference!) and had a lesson with both of them.

Sister Canova and I felt impressed to share the Restoration DVD with them. As we watched the DVD the Spirit seemed to thickly soak into our hearts and their hearts. It was as if the most delicious, thick syrup was being drizzled over a stack of pancakes until they were saturated! At the conclusion of the video we asked T_____ and J_____ what they were feeling. T______ immediately understood that she was feeling the Spirit testify of truth. J_____, however, was quiet. We waited, and eventually he looked up at us with the purest childlike look. With his hand over his chest he said, "I feel something good, something warm." As we explained that it was the Holy Ghost and taught him about the role of the Spirit, a light flickered in his eyes. With a smile on his face he said, "Jesus is talking to me through that feeling!" J______ recognized that he had received a witness from God that Joseph Smith was indeed called as a Prophet to restore the fullness of Christ's church. They will both be baptized in May!
This week our entire zone has been pushing to get three new investigators in each area. Yesterday was the final day! Sister Canova and I drove to the Sisters' areas in our zone to blitz and help them reach the goal. We pulled into the Sisters' driveway, leaped from the car and knocked on their door. As they let us in we found that one of the Sisters was very sick. They had only found one new investigator that week and we were not going to let them fall short! Sister Canova stayed in the apartment with the sick Sister, while her companion and I charged into the dark night to find God's children who need the gospel! We said a fervent prayer of faith and plead with Heavenly Father to lead us. In my mind I prayed that we could find a family. I plead with all the might and faith I could muster, praying that Heavenly Father would help my unbelief and lack of faith.

We knocked on two doors and neither were interested. We then felt impressed to walk to the end of the dark street. Upon arriving at the end of the street we felt impressed to turn left. So we did! We passed a few houses that were all very dark, but trusting in the Lord we continued up the road. It was 8:40 pm. I was beginning to feel anxious. But we reminded ourselves to keep the faith and sally forth! Suddenly we heard a playful shriek. We sped up and came upon a large house set back from the road a little ways. It had a very spacious yard with a towering, elegant tree in the front yard. There was a 12 year old girl playing with her 7 year old brother on the dark lawn, twirling him in circles and giggling. From the road we hollered to the playful children and they immediately froze, fixing their eyes on us and our black coats. We probably looked like creeps. The young boy ran up to us and shouted, "You can't be here! Our Mom and Dad aren't home!" He was well trained! But the girl wanted to know who we were. We explained that we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She exclaimed, "I love talking about Jesus!" Their Dad pulled into the driveway as we were talking with the kids and he was very kind about our creeper approach! The girl, K_______, ran to the house and eagerly brought back four lawn chairs for us to sit in. We taught her and her Dad about the Book of Mormon, our purpose as missionaries, and the central focus of Jesus Christ in all that we teach. K_____ was SO excited to have her own copy of the Book of Mormon! She asked for an additional copy to give to her friend across the street. Kiersten goes to Bible study three times a week, reads the scriptures every day and she loves church! Her faith in Jesus Christ is unshaken even though her parents do not go to church with her. She is incredible! Kiersten and her Dad both wanted to learn more. We arranged a time to return the following day and left them with a prayer. We were home by 9:05.
Miracles are granted to anyone who endures with a prayer of faith. The Lord has directed that unless we have the Holy Ghost, "ye shall not teach" (D&C 42:14). The word "shall" is commandment language. He literally commands us not to teach unless we have the Holy Ghost. I have come to understand that the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of truth "which giveth utterance" (D&C 14:8). This implies that we cannot teach without the Holy Ghost. Not only had He commanded us not teach unless we have the Holy Ghost, but it is impossible to teach the principles of the gospel unless we have the Holy Ghost with us. That is because this is His work. This is the work of Almighty God! It is our work! Therefore we are called to do it His way, by the Spirit, for that the only way it can be done.
I love the Spirit and I love my Savior and I love you!
~Sister Shumway

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