Monday, November 7, 2016

Season 11 Episode 5: Medicine Lake with Elder Newbold

Hello Family and Friends:

This week was a little sad. Our investigator who had a date for baptism dropped us because she doesn't believe in tithing. Also, our other date set Johnny is away in North Dakota for a month. So this week was a little frustrating, But things are still good.

This past Tuesday we had MLC. It was good, Elder Newbold did a musical number singing "Oh my Father". He has the voice of an angel haha. It was super sick though someone was playing the piano and another playing the guitar and it was great:)

We helped Todd our returning Less active member clean up his yard. On Thursday we went on exchanges with the Weaver Lake Elders. That was really good! I went with Elder Miller in our area. We had a good day, we found 2 new investigators and taught the restoration to them. That went well! We were able to see one of those investigators last night (Sunday Night). Bro Willis our joint teacher was awesome for Steven. He really wants to know the truth and it was just so cool to be able to teach him. I am loving every bit of the mission and really becoming more converted. As a zone we are doing a 40 day fast. Where we are all giving up things and making sacrifices that will help us become more consecrated and help us have the Holy Ghost as our companion. I will send the little story that goes a long with it.

Here is the story:

The verge of success
I was excited to have so many people to teach. Finally I was going to be successful. Then the phone rang. The mission president was transferring me. It seemed inconceivable that at this moment I would be transferred. On the other hand, I was being transferred to the most fruitful area in the mission. It was not until later that I would understand that going to the new area would be a critical variable in my spiritual development.

I went to the new area and continued to work. In terms of spiritual things, I was starting to understand more deeply. Yet there was still something missing. I began to read the Scriptures more thoughtfully. More accurately begin to search the Scriptures. As I did I became aware that there was still something missing.

One day a member informed us that he had an investigator that was ready to be taught and he volunteered to attend the first discussion. The discussion went along as usual. At the conclusion my companion and I bore witness of Joseph Smith and then turned to our friend. He paused for a moment, looked at the young lady and said "I know that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God." The room filled with an extraterrestrial fourth. The investigator started to cry.

As we walked home, I was baffled. That man said the exact same words that we had said, but the result was dramatically different. When he spoke he had an influence that we did not have. There was no question, that was the influence of the Holy Ghost, but this man seemed to have it in a different way. There was still something to be learned. I had to find out what the secret was so I returned to the Scriptures. It seemed like we were so close to being effective yet we just could not make it happen.

A challenge to purify

After several weeks of searching and praying, we attended a meeting and heard a well-known church leader. He spoke about the scriptures as a source of strength and about the process of spiritual influence. His words caused a burning in my soul. When he finished his address, I intentionally lingered behind. When I was finally alone with this man I asked him for a few moments of his time. I explained my desire to be effective. I told him about the lessons I have learned. I told him that something was still missing. Finally I asked him if you could tell me what it was.

He looked into my eyes and said nothing. Nearly a minute went by and I began to feel very uncomfortable. Finally he spoke. He said, "Elder when these pretty young ladies pass you on the street, what do you think about?"

Before I could answer, He asked, "Do you ever speak sarcastically to your junior companion?"

"Do you get up at 6:00 AM every morning?"

"Do you keep every mission rule?"

His list of questions grew longer. Finally he said, "These are things that keep the Holy Ghost from being your companion. If you want the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, then you must purify yourself. I will tell you how to do it. Go home and fast for a day. In the attitude of fasting and prayer, make a list of every behavior in that pokes at your spirit. Once you have made your list, then go to the Lord. Promise the Lord and that you will fast from the things on that list for 40 days. In other words, for 40 days you will do nothing that appears on that list."

"You cannot just stop the old behaviors and start new ones. You need the help of the Lord. So each morning go to the Lord and specifically promise him that you will avoid or start each item on the list. Ask for his help so you can have extra strength and then at night to go over your list with the Lord. If you have failed on some items, figure out why. Tell the Lord. Ask for more strength the next day."

"Go through the process for 40 days. If you do, you will find that your most basic desires will change. Your spiritual Flourish and the Holy Ghost will become your constant companion. You will become an effective instrument in the hands of the Lord."

The process of purification

We went home and determined to make the concept of work. We began to fast and we began to make a list. It grew much harder than we assumed it would be. I would pray and then I would feel impressed to write down some item. Then, arguing that there was nothing wrong with the particular item, I would fight the impression. For example, I felt impressed to put golf on the list. My response was "There is nothing wrong with golf. We only play on preparation day." I ignored the fact that on the other six days my mind was continually dwelling on how to play better. I wrestled with the spirit and then finally wrote "golf" on the list. It is interesting that from that moment I wrote it on that list, I experienced the most intense desire to play golf. Everywhere I turned there was some reminder, some temptation to break the commitment. So it was with each item on the list. Each day I had to fight all my natural inclinations and turn to the Lord for the help necessary to overcome myself. Sometime between the 30th and 40th day I suddenly realize that my desire for the things on my list had disappeared. It was as if a great anchor had been cut from me.

The process of surrender

The morning of the 40th day my companion and I knelt in prayer and then started out the door. I was impressed to go back and pray again. With unusual confidence I addressed the Lord. "Father these are thy children. We are now doing everything within our power to live the gospel. We turn the burden over to thee. Please carry us the rest o the way."

The gifts of the Spirit

We went to our first appointment. Halfway through the discussion, our investigator began to make an excuse that he would not be baptized because he did not believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I interrupted them. "That is untrue. You do know that Joseph Smith is a prophet. Your real fear is that your mother will disapprove if you join the church. In the name of Jesus Christ, I promise you that your entire family will embrace the gospel because of your courageous example. The Lord wants you to be baptized now and it is necessary that you comply."

I have never before done anything like that. In fact, I knew nothing about his mother. He had hardly mentioned her. While I can hardly believe what I had said, a familiar spirit filled the room. This brother began to weep. He committed to be baptized the following Sunday.

The experience repeated itself. At our very next meeting with each investigator, there was a celestial manifestation and every one of them committed to be baptized. In an eight week period, 16 people were baptized. It was an unusual number for the mission. While the number of baptisms was a large, the truly impressive thing was the change in my companion and myself. We were different people. Our most basic desires and motives had been altered. Credit and recognition were no longer of any consequence. For the first time in our lives, the things of God were more important than the "things of this world and the honors of men."

Our sensitivity deepened and we noticed how often we would cry. Several times a day we would be brought to tears by a prayer, a talk, a discussion, a scripture, or almost anything that would deeply touch us. Our concern was continually focused upon others. For the first time we understand Nephi's claim. "For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night because of them." We could understand that sentiment because for the first time we could understand Nephi's motives.

The Holy Ghost became our constant companion. Because our motives had changed, because we have an eye single to the glory of God, the Lord could trust us and we experience the power of the priesthood and became effective tools in his hand.

I really love this story! We felt that as a zone if we do this then we can become more powerful and more successful missionaries. I love this work! Jesus Christ is he head of this church. I love him and am grateful for this chance to serve. I love you all! Have a great week! 

1. Eating at Zupas with the Weaver Lake District. We got a free meal from the owner, because he is a Mormon :)
2. Sister Jones. One of the most powerful member missionaries ever!
3. A picture right before church a couple months ago.
4. Minnesota State Fair with my favorite missionaries
5.Aubrey Jones is a priest in the Ward and we took him out with us for a full day.

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