Monday, October 25, 2010

#60 - Members help out

Dear Family and Friends,                                                                  October 25th, 2010

I'm not sure how to START this letter, but I know the gist of where it goes. Maybe in explaining it, a natural starting place will emerge.

     I've been saying for a little while that the past few weeks we have been trudging - much more centered on enduring than pressing forward. And that's when I realized, that kind of defeats the purpose. Opposition is there as something to push off of. Somewhere around Thursday night, that just kind of clicked. We were trudging around again after some appointments failed and I just kind of had had it, and started knocking every door I could see. We were led to many many of the most wonderful people I have ever met.
     The APs came on their first real 24 hour split with us. It was pretty okay. Most of the day was spent tracking down those people whom we had seen the day before.
      We had two lessons that really stick out in my mind. Abraham was one of those we contacted and he was easily the most skeptical. This manifested itself by subtly, calmly attempting to bash scriptures with us. To our credit, we did a pretty good job avoiding it. He asked, "What really is the summation of the message of this 'Latter-Day Saint' ministry?"... Elder Da. and I thought a minute. "The message is this. Christ came into the world to atone for our sins, giving us an opportunity to receive eternal life. We can only qualify for this through His Gospel: faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by proper authority, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Because of wickedness, the authority needed for this process was lost. Though, God in His mercy has again restored it to the earth through the prophet, Joseph Smith, and this priesthood authority can be found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And everyone is invited to receive these blessings, especially you." He paused for a minute... and then proceeded to try and talk about priesthood and Melchizedek from Hebrews 7. We chased him down that lane for about two minutes, when the Spirit very clearly said to me "No! Don't fall for this. Go back to two seconds ago, where I was talking to him!" I just stopped and said "Brother Abraham, you've felt that what we are telling you is true, and I promise if you will go and pray about it tonight, you'll have those same feelings, just stronger." I'm hopeful for our next lesson, tomorrow night.
     The other really cool lesson we had was with Victoria S.. She is the wife of a recent convert, and she has just started investigating the Church herself. She doesn't speak English though, so we have to have members go with us. Our ward used to be notorious for a lack of member support, but in the past two weeks, 2 families and a bishopric member have come with us. It's amazing to see the sense of community that is building as we have aimed to involve members in our work. Victoria, I know, can feel the love as more and more friends appear daily. Members are coming out of the woodwork! And you should have listened to Brother Wood talk as we walked away from that lesson. "Wow! That was great! I'm going to call all of your investigators. That's how this should be!" Yes, Brother Wood. You get it!
     I have been praying for strength to be more diligent. Suddenly, our area book is spotless, our whiteboard up to date, and our apartment immaculate. But the real thing I've learned from all this is how I've been wasting the Lord's time doing anything less than this for the past few weeks. That's been the cause of a lot of personal sorrow, but I know as I repent, and redouble my commitment to do my best, I can be forgiven of it. THAT'S what the Atonement is all about. Never are we past the reach of His hand, and we can always take that hand and pull ourselves back up.
     Mail pick-ups and send-offs will be sparse for a little while, but the most it can take is a month. I am so grateful for all those who have taken a few moments to write me a letter. I have not lost a single letter my whole mission.
     We will watch conference not next week, but the following. OH! Also, President has revoked the rule that an investigator must come to church 4 times before they can be baptized. Now, it is 3. This has been the source of much excitement for the whole mission.
     Love ya!
Elder W. Farnbach

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