Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012

Well, another week has passed and I realized that this week that I hit my 17 months on a mission mark. I realized it a few days after it happened. We had a combined zone conference and a lot of people asked how long I had been on my mission. As I calculated to tell them that's when I realized that I had hit my 17th month mark. Hooray!

Yesterday I did give a talk. On Tuesday our relief society president met with the branch president so Sister Hawkins and I went to translate. I helped her to ask all of her questions. After our meeting I asked the branch president who all would be speaking so I could gauge how long I should talk. He informed us that we would be the only speakers but we could sing a hymn in between our talks. Our topic was "Preach My Gospel", the missionary manual that missionaries use. I'll admit that I was wracking my brains try to come up with a talk that would not be scatter-brained. I prayed a lot in order to know what direction I should talk. I got my answer on Saturday when we got the new Liahona for September. I thought a lot about the phrase "Preach my Gospel" and what is the gospel. I talked about the missionary purpose, "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receiving the Restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." I focused my talk on the gospel and then talked about events I experienced with the gospel that lead me to want to serve a mission. Honestly, at this point I don't remember all that I said but I ended up talking a lot longer than I planned and everyone told me that I did a good job. 

Angela is doing well! We had a good lesson on the Restoration. She is reading the Book of Mormon and understanding quite a lot. And she is continuing to come to church. We tried talking to her about a baptismal date but she says she has a few concerns so we are working to resolve those issues. But she is doing great and we are all very happy.

Our mission has a goal to have 85 baptisms by the end of the year. We are doing pretty well as a mission and that is a focus of our mission. We are trying to find more people to teach. We are calling all of our people and going through old contact sheets. We are doing a lot more contacting and trying to follow up on our contacts. On Wednesday we went Book of Mormon contacting, trying to find people through the Book of Mormon. Despite how many people I talked to I did not manage to pass out a book but somehow I managed to get two numbers. Our mission is seeing a lot of miracles and I am positive that we will start seeing some more here in Ryazan. The biggest lesson I am learning is the importance of patience. I have noticed a difference within myself. We had a day where we called everyone that we knew and no one answered. Despite our hopes for lessons they all fell through. That left us with street contacting. A lot of people did not want to talk to us or they would take the brochure but did not want to give us their number. It was a day that would typically frustrate me but instead I kept a smile and tried to keep an open mind. I am trying to do my part, pray a little more, contact a little more, but I know that it is all in the hands of the Lord and there will be miracles so long as we do our part.

In terms of the branch things are slowing getting better. We are keeping contact with a lot more less active members and a few are coming to the church more often. We also recently found a photo album and an old ward list and found some members that used to be on the ward list but are now missing. We quickly divided the list. Although our first priority is finding new people to teach but now we are organized and we know who we should call at night.

Pray for me to learn the language even more. In the next few weeks a few missionaries will be participating in a humanitarian project here in Ryazan. The humanitarian missionaries asked President Sorenson if we could participate and present wheel chair training. He agreed so our district leader and I will be giving wheel chair training. I definitely will be praying a lot more for the gift of tongues!

Spiritual thought for the day comes from the new Liahona. Elder Christofferson wrote a wonderful article about faith and how we can increase faith. "The word that we declare, the word that generates faith in Christ, is the gospel, or good news, of Jesus Christ. Simply put, the good news is that death is not the end of existence and our separation from God is temporary. We have a Savior, Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, who by His Atonement has overcome death and hell so that all will be resurrected and all who will repent and be baptized in His name may have place in the heavenly kingdom of God forever." I love these sentences because the gospel is the good news! That is exactly why I am on a mission. I know that death is not the end and that there is hope through Jesus Christ. Or course we have to remember that faith is hope for things which are not seen but are true. We need to have faith to ask God if these things are true and then be willing to listen to the Spirit which communicates to our heart and mind. I know that we can obtain this hope and experience the joy of the good news. I know because I have obtained it for myself. We can all obtain this hope if we are willing.

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