HEY there. We went to the Perkins for Thanksgiving and they had a few kids home. The wife said this: “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today.” WOW!!! That one makes you think! It has totally changed my prayers. I have always felt that I need to thank God better and be more sincere in my prayers, but its hard. For some reason, after that quote, I really got it. I feel so much gratitude now when I pray.
And you know what is cool? I have started going through a list of things that I couldn’t live without. It not the car, or my food, or football. It’s not even a good companion or good area. It is the Book of Mormon. I was so surprised when I found that it is probably the thing I am the most grateful for in my entire life. I wouldn’t be where I am without it, and I wouldn’t believe what I believe without it. I wouldn’t be headed where I am without it. It has been the most consistent thing in my prayers of gratitude. As a testament of Jesus Christ, it is my life. I am grateful for it. I read a few weeks ago about ingratitude in an Elder McConkie book. He said is the most wide spread sin and one of the most important things that we do wrong. The way that we counter ingratitude is by keeping the commandments. We need to do that!!
We had transfer meeting. President let everyone go! It was one of the most spiritual meetings of my life!! So sad to see my sisters go!! And Elder Johnson, whom I love so much!! Elder Burt died too. I will miss them. Every sister except one was an STL and they all were the best in the mission. Definitely one of the best groups to ever come out of the MTC. They had good things to say. We sang Amazing Grace. The entire mission was there, singing with all we had. They filmed it and I was in the front. At the end, I cried like a baby and couldn’t sing. It was so hard to see President Blatter just crying. I wish I could stand up there and see all these missionaries singing. Elder Johnson and Elder Burt crying too just got me going. They probably got it all on tape!! It was an amazing feeling, but that is why we are here. To carry that feeling to everyone.
(Bryson is at 00:11 on the front row, far left. They are all singing their mission song.)
I really feel that I have grasped what it takes for a conversion. And my role as a missionary. I am here to help them feel the truth of our message through the Holy Ghost. We are vessels that carry that spirit and can help these people feel it, maybe for the first time in their lives. I regret all the times that I go into a home trying to share this message, worrying and catering to these peoples views. That doesn’t matter. Its about the spirit. Truth is truth, and they will know it if they can feel it. I need to always be worthy of carrying this spirit to them. I need to emanate it. I need to focus most on that, and everything else will follow. I hate that it took this long to figure it out, but I guess I don’t regret it because I wouldn’t have gotten here if I hadn’t of been there. I have really found that to be true. I hate the times that I have messed up, either being disobedient, not being a nice companion or not focused. I know there are blessings and experiences that I could have received, but I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it all. I always try to do better, but embrace the bad and the good times that have made me who I am.
We knocked into this guy, and I recalled the talk where the successful missionary said the key was to imagine everyone in white. I have remembered that but it is often hard to wrap your mind around it and act as if they are already on the road to getting there as they are slamming the door. It came to my mind on this doorstep, as it often does, and for some reason it worked. I saw this guy in white and with a glowing countenance like he had been converted. I got really really sad as he started to turn us away. But my companion saw that he was an artist, and asked if he could do a sketch of me. Haha I love my companion! D****looked at me and said in a thick Russian accent, “Yes, he has very interesting face”. I’m not sure know how to take that. So we go inside this studio apartment that is pretty much only for art. He tells me to sit still for 20 min, adjusts the light, and starts his 20 minute charcoal sketch. It was kind of hard because there were naked women paintings everywhere. He was really good, but it was distracting. 😉 He finished, and it made me look like this intense person, but it was great. He had to go, and we arranged to come back so he could do Elder Rich. We went back and he wasn’t there, but I know he will be one of these days!
There is a place downtown for homeless and people in bad circumstances to go and get good meals and enjoy some fun activities! We are thinking about going down and helping out and then I will perform at the open mic and sing a bunch of church songs. CAPTIVE AUDIENCE! I don’t know if they will reject my voice or the message more!
We have a very solid investigator!! C**** is a 60ish year old man, who is separated from his wife. She ended up a member in Tenn. He also has a daughter in law who is a member. But he has never been to a church in his whole life, or believed in God. One day he fell over, and hit his dresser, and laid there unconscious for 24 hrs. When he fell, he hurt his arm very bad. Tearing all the tendons from the neck down, and got a huge gash. He was in the hospital for awhile. When he was released, nobody could pick him up, so he took the bus to the ferry.
A man started talking to him, and mentioned he was a Mormon. They talked about it and Claire was really struck by it. The man told him he really felt like he was supposed to talk to him. He said he would send missionaries to him and gave him his number. C***** got home, and couldn’t think of anything else. He has a horrible memory, but kept remembering that. The next morning, he sat watching the clock to see if it was early enough to call him. They called him, talked about the church, and then he somehow got in touch with Elder Rich and his previous companion!!
They met him, taught him a bit. Then he went to church and loved it. I got there, and we went to teach him the Gospel. But ended up mostly talking about baptism. He was so excited when we told him that he could feel the spirit all the time. He kept saying how he loved the way he feels when we come over and when he is at church and wished we could come over all the time. He was happy to know that he can feel it 24/7!! We put him on date for baptism as soon as his arm heals!! At the latest we have it planned for the 27th, but hopefully we will move it up.
We went back with our ward mission leader, who is brand new to the calling. We met for the first time that morning. He is a real good guy, and is very proactive. He is just going crazy with all the things we can do. That energy was the same in Ward Council, then all 3 hours of church were about missionary work. They seem pretty excited to have two experienced missionaries here. President said that he felt very prompted to send me here. We went over to C****’s and had a really good lesson with our WML there. We got to teach a golden investigator, and he caught the vision. He was so pumped after that!! The Spirit touched him.
OK!! THE COOLEST THING EVER! Our new goal as missionaries is now to get people to the temple. Not just to the font! It is crazy how much this changes everything. Baptism becomes the gate, but like it is in the scriptures. It isn’t the end of our work. It is just the beginning, and when we teach them and have the temple as the goal, then baptism become a necessary and natural step. It changes the way we teach dramatically, and it feels so right. Lessons go so much better. I have noticed a huge change in investigators as we start to go that direction.
A baptism on the 27th, and hopefully two in Kingston on the 13th! OH YEAH, DID I SAY THAT I PUT L**** ON DATE MY LAST NIGHT IN KINGSTON???????? She said she would like to be baptized with S****! I get to go back and baptize both of them!! I LOVE MY MISSION!!!