Monday, August 11, 2014

Gathering Zion


Well all I can do is thank you.  Thank you so much for the support, and for what you have said in your emails.  I cannot even begin to give you the proper thanks for what you have done for me, and how much love you have shown me.  The quotes were perfect. I loved the one from President Hinckley.  It is so true, and we really do need to learn to give thanks for what we have.  Gratitude is the key in all and gratitude is a principle we can all live by.  Thank you mom.  You are the greatest mother any son could ask for and I hope you know I see no faults in you.  Not one.  I couldn't have asked for a better woman in my life than you, and I am so grateful to say you are my mother.  I hope I make you proud.  If you could see me now I just hope you would be proud to say "that's my son!"  Every day I strive to live up to that.  to make you proud.  I want to be able to have the same said about me from our Heavenly Father, that as he looks down and sees me he can proudly say "that's my son!"  I hope I can live up to that for my mother and father here, and my Father in Heaven.  I love you both!! 

Sounds like a really fun week!!  I'm glad the primary activity went well!!  and that the pictures were good:)  Woah, Veronica is married. I remember taking her to prom.  She should not be married. hahaha!!!  That literally just blew my mind.  I knew it was coming up, but wow. Things are a little different back home. haha:)  I forget its been over a year since high school ended and 2 years since senior year started.  I can't wait to hear more about Brittany's baby!! Keep me posted. 

Well this week was INCREDIBLE!!!! although it was a little bit of what President Hinckley described: 

“Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.

This week may have been a lot of delays, sidetracks, dust, cinders, and jolts.  There was a lot of rebuilding and a lot of good old-fashioned hard work that will eventually turn into a transfer full of beautiful vistas and bursts of speed and that is what makes this work so amazing.  Although these past two transfers were not at all what they should have been, and as we settled for mediocre.  All it takes is a little bit of hard work and focus to get back on the path and that's exactly what we did.  We started off the week with figuring out what we want to do with the work here and our vision of how we will bring it about and Elder McFarland has so many good ideas about how to work with members and be organized and so we are starting those up. We did absolutely 0 work with members the last two transfers, and honestly I was terrified of what the members thoughts were about me, but we have been going by their houses almost every day (at least 1 member every day) and building their confidence, and getting to know them, we have a giant list of possible member references that is getting bigger and bigger and they are starting to invite their friends to come listen to the message.  And the members (now that we are out there serving them and loving them) have confidence in us and the work is changing.  I have a strong testimony now that truly this work is impossible alone, and without the members.  It flourishes with members.  Apart from member work, we have done a lot of contacting and building up the reference pool.  We didn't really have much but we have a LOT of names to work with now and we are continuing to find in every moment. The Buenos are still doing good although she is still most likely going to America but they have been talking a lot about it and they don't think it will end if she goes.  They weren't able to go the temple together but she went and did a session alone and she had an INCREDIBLE experience!!  She said she just bawled the whole time and felt the Spirit stronger than she's ever felt it.  She's making changes, and things are still looking up.  Continue to pray for them but things are little by little getting better.  The thing with Danny and Alejandro is we have only been able to meet once a week but the lesson went great this week as we watched the Restoration video, and Merly, the mother  (who has never wanted to listen before) accepted a Book of Mormon and is going to read and pray!!!:)  So that was a miracle in and of itself.  They didn't come to church.  In fact, no investigators came. But that's okay because things are still going well:)  We found one guy whose name is Antonio.  We found him on Monday and we have had 2 lessons with him since.  He is a Spaniard, has a wife from South America and 2 kids.  He really likes the Book of Mormon, wants to read and pray and is working on inviting his wife to listen to the message as well. We talked about baptism in the way that Christ showed us and he said he wants to be baptized like that.  So we are super excited about him.  A lot of potential.  The new ward mission leader has been coming with us as much as he can to lessons that we have planned and is an absolute stud, he said we've got a lot of work to do and he is doing so well.  Just a humble guy who wants to just work hard.  Last night we found a guy in the street named Christian and we had a lesson with him.  We taught lesson one and he loved it.  At the end he said, of course, I'll read and pray, it makes sense there would be Prophets today and I'm really curious.  So hopefully we get started with him real soon.  Oh!!  We also were in a park the other day and saw some teenagers playing futbol and we were like let's go play.  Not so we can play but so we can get the reference after.  So we went and were like hey, lets play! We played for a little and then started talking about the church.  Turns out one was baptized when he was 9 by his Grandpa and they were all cousins and the others weren't members. They all took Book of Mormons.  They're super excited to read and were so excited for missionaries to come over to their house (they don't live in our area) and so that was super cool!!!!  The baptized one said, yeah I'll go home and read, I've never forgotten where I put that book and I know exactly where it's at.  Super cool, and hey, a little futbol for salvation? Sounds like a great idea to me!!! :)  This week was amazing, we have been striving to be perfectly obedient (except I forgot to shave one morning, woops) and honestly I have been so much happier than I have been this summer.  This work is amazing and honestly the secret is WORK.  I'm so grateful I've got a comp like Elder McFarland who just came here to work hard and that's exactly what we are doing:)  Amazing week:)

For the spiritual thought this week I came across a scripture I loved about our trials.  We need 4 things to make it through all trials.  The scripture is in Mosiah 24:8-22.  They were persecuted extremely for what they believed in, but what did they immediately do? (verse 10) They began to cry fervently (or mightily in English, I believe) unto the lord and then AFTER they did that things began to get worse (verse 11).  Even though we may cry unto the Lord things may still get worse.  But they did not back down and still continued to do what they knew was right (verse 12) and cried unto the Lord in whatever way they knew was possible, they did anything they could to choose the right, and poured their hearts out to him.  Then he heard their cries (verse 12) and promised them comfort (verses 13-14).  He reminded them he knows them and remembers their covenants with him and tells them to "lift up their heads and be of good comfort" and then (in verse 15) just as the Lord promised, he eased their burdens.  He didn't completely take them away but he strengthened them and got them through.  Our burdens and trials may not always disappear completely but through the strengthening power of the Atonement they can be eased and they cheerfully submitted to the will of the Lord and in verse 16 so great was their faith and patience that the Lord promised to free them in the morning.  He did and they gave Him thanks as they were freed (verse 22) and as they didn't forget the Lord once, He never forgot them. 

So through all of that we need 4 things in any trial:
3.The ability to never forget the Lord
4. Gratitude

1. Faith- faith and doubt cannot exist in the same person at the same time, so hold on, trust in the Lord and his promises and have faith that one day all will be well.

2. Patience- sometimes we won't get a "quick fix" and we will not see the immediate complete lifting of our burdens.  Sometimes they will be eased, or sometimes it may seem to get worse but if we can have the great patience then they will be eased, and eventually lifted.

3. The ability to never forget the Lord- they did anything they possibly could to include the Lord in all they did. Cried fervently to Him, cried in their hearts and always remembered Him (which, in fact, meant they were keeping their baptismal covenants).  So remember him always. (Moroni 4&5)

4.Gratitude- Immediately after everything they gave thanks and didn't forget the Lord afterwards.  We need to give thanks in all things. 

So keep the faith and never forget you Father in Heaven!!  I love you all!!!  Have an AMAZING week!!!:)  Love ya!!

Elder Anderson

¡El reino de dios o nada!