Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I never answered the phone

SAN DIEGO — Can you believe I am on my last transfer? I am so thankful Heavenly Father let me have 13 instead of 12. 

Transfers work like this: Tuesday morning, our zone leaders call and the zone leaders tell you if you are leaving and or if you are training. It’s really funny at the Battalion, because we are all at the laundromat Tuesday morning. So here I am folding my clothes, and all these sisters start getting calls. Everyone is freaking out because they get to stay together or whatnot. Well, Sister Jarrett and I start getting more and more nervous because almost all of the English-speaking sisters were called and only one was training...

We got our call and I am finishing training Sister Jarrett on her last 6 weeks and we are going to be in a trio training one of the new sisters! WHEW!

Heavenly Father knows is really pushing me to the finish line! Please pray for our area, we really need to find some more people! I don’t know who the new sister is, but one is from Africa and one from Samoa, so either way SO FUN!

Missionary work has been on my mind a lot lately. Specifically, member missionary work. President keeps reminding us that because of all the new missionaries. We have got to make sure the members help us, or there will not be enough work to do. Our bishop asked us to speak last Sunday on missionary work as well, so I feel like it is the lesson I have been learning this week that I want to share with you.

I remember when I was in Young Womens and there was a signup sheet to go out with the missionaries that was passed around if we could drive the sisters to their appointments. I had no problem with driving, in fact I really wanted to help, but I was so scared to be in a lesson — a real, live lesson with missionaries and non-members! I felt bad because the signup sheet went around, and no one signed it.

I kind of felt obligated to, so I did. The sister missionaries called me the next day, but I was too scared to answer the phone. For the next few weeks or so, they kept calling, and still, I was too scared. I’m sad to say I NEVER ANSWERED THE PHONE!

I didn’t understand my purpose as a member in God's kingdom. We are to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel. It doesn’t have to be that hard. We have to "stand as witnesses at all times and in all things and in all places."

I’m reminded of a story about Elder (Neal A.) Maxwell. He was assigned to visit a mission in Brazil. Prior to leaving, he found out he had leukemia. He begged the First Presidency to let him go before he started chemotherapy. He arrived in the mission, and the president and his wife kept him busy, speaking and visiting people there (They had no idea that Elder Maxwell was so sick). 

As the time came to a close, Elder Maxwell was told of a little boy, Jared Ammon, who was sick in a hospital with leukemia and desired a blessing. Elder Maxwell went to visit the boy and gave him the requested blessing. He asked the little boy, who was alone with only his sister, what else he could do for him. "Would you sing me, 'I am a child of God?'" Jared replied. Elder Maxwell cradled the little boy and sang him that beautiful song.

Elder Maxwell lived his life as a disciple of Christ. Sometimes we think we have to be an Apostle or a General Authority to be a witness of Christ. That is just not true. You may not know everything, but you know enough!

The Widow of Zarephath had little, but gave it all
Think of Elijah in the Old Testament: wandering through the city of Zarephath, he sees a woman, and asks her for some water. She kindly turns to go get him a drink.

And then Elijah asks, and could I have some bread too?

This time, the poor woman looks back in distress. 

"But sir, I only have a handful of meal and a cruse of oil, I was preparing the last meal for me and my son before we die."

Elijah replies to this woman of faith: "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. Bring what you have to the Lord and He will magnify it.” (1 Kings 17: 8-16)

That’s what I have been trying to do this week. I don't have a lot to give, but as I have given my all, Heavenly Father has magnified it.

Yesterday, I took a tour with a man and his daughter, Bryce (she was named after Bryce Canyon, fun fact). Anyway, they are non-members from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (also fun fact as I got to tell them my brother served a Mormon mission there). I was so exhausted, having taken a few tours before and not eaten dinner yet, but I knew this tour was important. They didn't even want to go on it, but I talked them into going on the first two rooms.  I did the best I could, and to my surprise in the outfitting room, they asked about the Restoration of the Gospel, which I was able to testify of.

The dad just kept saying, "that makes sense, because all the people came up with their own ideas, I see why we have so many churches!" Then, they kept asking and asking about the story, so I asked if they wanted to just finish the tour, which they did. In the courthouse, he asked about Joseph Smith, which I was able to tell him what Joseph Smith saw. 

There is a special spirit, and you can feel it when God's children come into the Battalion prepared. This family was one of them. And though I had little to give, I gave it, and Heavenly Father magnified it.

I love how Lehi describes the fruit of the tree in his vision: "I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted." 

THAT is what the Gospel sounds like to me! 

When I had my birthday earlier this year, one of our members in Black Mountain, Paul, brought in this golden box and set it on the table in front of me. I looked at it with curiosity and he said, go on open it. I did, and inside was the most beautiful cake I have ever seen in my whole life. (I think I sent a picture of it home). It was dark chocolate with curly cursive handwriting (Sister Kennington’s favorite) and golden sparkles! It had beautiful purple flowers on it too. Paul told me about how it was supposed to taste, and I just couldn’t wait to eat it and share it. I ran back to the kitchen right there and we shared it with him and the rest of the sisters at the Battalion.

THAT is what sharing the Gospel should be like. If Paul would have come in, opened of the box, grabbed a handful of cake and thrown it at my face, I would not have been happy to say the least. The cake would still have been beautiful, and still tasted good, but I would not have wanted it.

I know that sharing the gospel can be hard. (Remember, I really do know: I NEVER ANSWERED THE PHONE!) Elder Holland said, "Missionary work is not easy because salvation isn’t cheap." How true that is! There are so many things you can do. I'm already thinking of the kind of member I want to be when I go home.

When your friends, coworkers or neighbors ask you how your weekend went, do you respond with a "Oh, it was great, how about yours?" Or do you tell them about the ward activity you went to, or what you learned at church? If you are too scared you can't answer their questions, have you made a mormon.org profile and told your friends to check it out? Have you prayed as families of what less-active member you could invite just to have dinner? No strings attached, just dinner!

That is something I have learned from the members here in San Diego. No, they aren’t perfect, but they ask. They share. Their ward councils and Relief Society meetings, Young Mens and Young Womens are all focused about rescuing, retaining, and finding- MISSIONARY WORK! You cannot keep the cake for yourself!

In Preach My Gospel, there is a quote by George Albert Smith:

"That is your mission, my brethren and sisters of the church, that is your responsibility. Freely you have received and our Heavenly Father will expect you to freely share with His other sons and daughters these glorious truths. We will attain our exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom ONLY on the condition that we share with our Fathers other children the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and observe the commandments that will enrich our lives here and hereafter."

Intense, right? 

But really, you can do it! "Minastraba" in some language I totally forgot, but Elder Zwick told us once, means to "put it on your heart". Put your missionary purpose on your heart, and you will see miracles. Just like the man from Florida this week: I see miracles every second of every day and it never has to stop. Not for you and not for me.

Just remember, missionary work is not easy because salvation isn’t cheap!


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