The most important thing that happened this week was that Nakia received the gift of the Holy Ghost! The unspeakable gift, as we call it. It’s a wonderful, beautiful experience. I had been so stressed out all morning about many of the people we were teaching, getting to church on time, participating in our meetings, etc. But then the time came in sacrament meeting for Nakia to be called up. We walked her to the front of the chapel and shepherded her to the chair (she was nervous about walking up in front of everyone. Can’t blame her tbh) and then seated ourselves upon the front pew. Immediately I felt a complete peace and all the stress of the morning melted away. I just felt good as if I had received a priesthood blessing myself. She was blessed many times over with desire: desire to study the scriptures, desire to pray, desire to keep the commandments. It reminded me of the power that our desire has over our lives. After church we had a beautiful linger longer. We lingered longer. In addition to Nakia, another new convert was confirmed in sacrament meeting. I talked with him afterward. I noticed that he had been a lot more vocal than usual during our small Sunday school class so I asked him, “Do you feel any different?” he said, “Usually it takes me so long to get used to new people but today I was just talking!” It was kind of cool.
Sister Feinga also had a great experience this week because a sister she taught in her last area was baptized. Her companion from that area was also transferred nearby so they came to Winchester, we traded companions for the day, Sister Tillitson and I had a great time together for a few hours! In the morning Sister Feinga and I had kind of a cool experience: we were walking around because we were all out of miles when we passed by this person’s house. I was bemoaning how unproductive our lack of car for the day made us but of course the spirit proved us wrong. There were some kids sitting on the porch and we asked them if their parents were home. They were! We taught her mom about the restoration and she invited us back.
Sometimes little cute things happen. For example:
– we were walking around and found some very old people playing Pokemon Go because “they just like goin on a walk”
– we passed by a meadow full of queen anne’s lace and we just had to frolic. Pictures to follow.
– we visited a family who just had four TINY kittens get born to them and I put all of them in my lap during our lesson. They also had some older kittens. They gave all except 1 away and I put that one in my lap too and it was licking the other ones 🙂 then it became determined to sit on my shoulder and on my quad. Perfect kitten-present lesson.
We also had fun times with other missionaries this week. We had zone training and exchanges in Berryville. We also had a zone leadership council with our local zone leaders and district leaders. I said, “would it be helpful to you all if we counseled about appropriate ways for you elders to support your sister missionaries?” They all said, “YES WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE ARE DOING” which is correct. I said, “Go ahead and greet your sisters when you see them. That is all you have to do. It’s very simple. Just say hi and say their name.” One of them has a very quiet and aloof type of personality and he was worried that he would just be scarier if he said hi to everyone. I had to tell him, “Elder, you will be less intimidating if you talk to people.” Everyone snickered. I was just trying to say a true thing, not put anyone down or anything. Anyway it reminded me that sometimes discipleship is about doing things that are a little bit contrary to our nature. It’s a fun gospel paradox because as we become more like the Savior, we reach toward a more authentic version of who we are meant to be. This article kind of applies too: https://www.lds.org/new-era/2015/08/the-gospel-and-your-personality?lang=eng
As Mosiah 3 teaches us, we all have a “natural man” (our lower self, perhaps) but we also have the potential to “become a saint.” There is nothing wrong or inauthentic about growing and changing if we are becoming the person we were made to become: a saint. “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
This week we also saw this principle when we invited our investigator to pray. This fellow told us that he has “probably broken every commandment.” He has a past as a sniper in the military, then he was a skinhead for a while, then he got married, then divorced and for a while he was a Wiccan high priest now he’s living with his friend and our investigator. His tattoos tell the whole story. Anyway, we invited him to pray and he was so nervous but I just felt that we should be a tiny bit persistent. Finally he agreed to. He told us it was the first time he had ever prayed out loud. He offered such a sincere and humble prayer and the spirit flooded the room and I saw the great potential he had. A former addiction recovery missionary offered a really simple comment inSunday school when he said, “It’s never too late. There is always hope.” It’s true! There is always and only ever hope in Jesus Christ.
I love you and I hope to hear from you. 841 Thomas Ct #57, Winchester VA 22601. Blessings.