Monday, March 7, 2011
Your "favorite Elder" is doing just dandy! Weather is fine (I have a summer jacket on in -15C), skies are clear, and of course, the deer are loving our deer maze. In fact, so are we. More on that later.
I have pictures of the Osters so you can finally see them and put faces to these names.
Today was a great week to be a missionary in I-Falls...as a mission we are pushing for 30 proselyting hours each week, which really stretches us to make the most of all the time we have. It is especially hard for us because we have branch meetings to attend to and Institute, but we managed to achieve this goal this week. We taught 14 lessons and tracted for 16 hours, AND had a baptism! Hoorah! To help you see just how difficult it is to achieve 30 hours proselyted (lessons taught + hours finding), let me run you through my weekly schedule, because I don't think I have ever done that before. The life of a missionary in I-Falls:
Studies every morning at 8am-10am...
Monday--P-Day until 6pm, be in by 9pm, oftentimes in by 8:20 or so to make phone calls.
Tuesday--Full-day available. Out at 10am, in by 9pm.
Wednesday--District Meeting over the phone from 10:30-noon, Institute at 7pm
Friday--Weekly Planning from 10-2.
Sunday--Church in the Falls 9-noon, church in Fort Frances (yes, -es at and) 1:30-4.
All other possible working hours per week total something like 39 possible proselyting hours, travel times included. Thought you may like all this Dad....
Boden's baptism went very well, much of the branch came to support him. Oh, the baptism took place in I-Falls. Bro. Oster baptized Boden, which was a big deal! Elder Cutler confirmed Boden and gave him the Holy Ghost on Sunday. Bro. Oster shared a very tender testimony about the Priesthood just before he baptized Boden. Bro. Oster then described how he felt the power of the priesthood, and shared how important it was to do things by God's authority, not by man's. Oh the power of the priesthood! I can bear testimony of its power because I have used it many times now on my mission. But even before I used it, I had to build my faith in Christ and find out for myself that it was God's authority. Isn't it wonderful how our testimonies should rely on prayer--talking to God--not by things such as archeological evidences?! I think God very purposefully designed it that way--he wants us to communicate with Him and stop and listen for the answer. Prayer takes work! Sometimes people that I work with become frustrated because prayer does not always yield instant results like video games or TV. All this talk of prayer reminds me when I was searching for my testimony. I always heard people from the pulpit say "I know this Church is true..." Sure, I said "I know..." once or twice when I only believed, not having obtained a full knowledge. But I wanted to know for myself. It took a while! When I read Alma chapter 32 I see how I realized that I had a testimony. I knew the feelings I had were good, and I knew the "seed to be a good seed". It wasn't anything big like seeing an angel. Everything boils down to faith. That is why "without faith we are nothing". I had to be doing what God asked me to do, and following God's commandments to know they are His commandments. John 7:17--If any man shall do His will he shall know of the doctrine." If someone wants to know that a commandment is from God, they have to live it! You have to live the Law of Tithing to obtain its blessings, you must live the Word of Wisdom to know it is of God--and the first step to living a commandment is to have faith that it is a commandment. Isn't it great how everything ties together?
After rereading that last paragraph I kind of smiled and said, "yup, I am a missionary".
My scripture of the week is John 15:2, which is within a parable that Christ is giving, but basically says that Christ gives us challenges so that we bring forth more good fruit. I KNOW this scripture to be true because I have experienced it first-hand. My "down years" in mid-high school have helped propel me to become a better person, more confident in myself, more confident in my Savior, knowing who I am and where I came from. Truly we are shaped in the refiner's fire. Trials came to Job, and he emerged a stronger person.
Now on to lighter things...Mom, I held a snake this week! Creepy. It feels so weird, and it kept wanting to go up my sleeve...Oh, Elder Morris talked to an investigator 5 minutes prior to an appointment and they said they would be there. Nope, we got lunched. Such is missionary work, all I could do was laugh and truly how ridiculous that was. Ridiculous. Oh, thanks Mom and Dad for the mini Book of Mormon and the Mentos. Good stuff.
This week we should get transfer calls. I am pretty sure I will stay at least another 3 months, but I don't know about Elder Morris...he has been here for 6 months now. I don't want him to go! We are like peanut butter and jelly! If he lived in Redmond, it would be me, Nate, Brendin, Jolly, and Elder Morris, for sure.
To answer some of your questions, no the snow really isn't melting, but that is ok because we are sure enjoying it while we can. We sang "Home Can be a Heaven on Earth" for that wedding. No, I have not made an appointment for my back. It has been feeling a little better the past couple of weeks and I am trying some small things to improve it.
I love my family, they are the best. Truly I was so blessed to have a large ward family and great friends who supported me in my upbringing. Serving in a small branch really opens your eyes...and sorry Dad, that story with 4 people at church in France...4 is twice as many members as there were in the Fort yesterday. Love you!