Sunday, May 25, 2014

[2/24/2014] Week 51: So much SNOW!


Snow pictures were taken this morning on the way to the library.
There is a ton of snow outside right now. It snowed all day yesterday (church was cancelled) and all last night. And it's still snowing now. Elder Jones and I walked a whole mile (or so) in that blizzard just to email you fine people.

Dad, we recently had a stake conference that was just like that up here in the Bellingham, WA stake, complete with President and Sister Bonham and even a bonus missionary choir composed of the Ferndale and Bellingham zones. Most of the members came away edified and excited to do missionary work. President and Sister Bonham did a role play at the pulpit so that everyone could see how to do missionary work at the grocery store (and how to role play). It was awesome.

The second picture is of an igloo someone built!

The highlight of this week was for sure a visit from the Missionary Department head of the Church, Brother Lee Donaldson. Brother Donaldson is also the mission president from the District 2. He was awesome! Everything he taught us was basically an upheaval of everything I've done (as far as teaching is concerned) my whole mission. But it was so great! Basically, lessons will no longer ever go over 25 minutes. Ever. Forever. This way, everything we do inside an investigator's living room is brief, focused, and powerful. We barely skim the surface of the doctrine. Rather, we help them feel and recognize the Holy Ghost. They realize they like that feeling, and they seek after it after we leave.
Elder Lovell and I with the Edwards
That's when they read the Restoration pamphlet all the way through and learn the doctrine for themselves. The first segment of lesson 1 from Preach My Gospel is focused solely on helping the investigator receive revelation through prayer.  You hardly even talk about the Book of Mormon until the second appointment! We've had the opportunity to use this new method several times already, and it's working out great! President Bonham went on splits with Elder Jones and I, so he helped me teach a new investigator named Austin, whose family Elder Lovell and I tracted into late last year. He's 16, and, though he was raised by staunch Catholics, has trouble believing in God anymore. He really needs to learn how to receive answers to his prayers! Well, we have just the teaching method for him! He accepted a soft invitation to baptism at the end of our first lesson with him on the doorstep and again at the end of a lesson President Bonham on how to read the Book of Mormon.

In other news, Elder Jones and I attended the Blaine Christian Fellowship yesterday since our church in Ferndale was cancelled, and it was a pleasant experience, for the most part. One lady was slightly abrasive, but then she asked us to come by and talk to her son (who, it turns out, is dating a member of the bishopric's daughter and was almost baptized a year ago). Otherwise, people were really, really nice and happy to see us! After the sermon everyone came up to us and shook our hands and offered us cookies, cake, and coffee. We stuck to the cookies and cake.

On Friday, we had zone conference with the Bellingham and Mount Vernon zones, where we re-trained missionaries on Brother Donaldson's instruction. We also sang "Lord, I Would Follow Thee" a capella as a quartet, and I was super nervous. But it turned out great! Towards the end, Elder O'Rullian (now serving in Mount Vernon) played for everyone an original rendition of "Because I Have Been Given Much" and "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" on the piano. That dude is talented.

Elder Lovell and I with the Denogeans (right center)
and the Broyles (left center)
We taught a ton this week. The Denogeans are doing well, but have had to cancel/reschedule for two weeks in a row now, so we haven't taught them in forever. We should see them for sure on Wednesday, but it's a little disconcerting as their baptism is in just a few weeks. Dustin, as well, has acted funny in the past few days, and we're worried about him. His wife has caused him a lot of problems and heartache, and has practically (and even literally) spit in his face repeatedly. He realizes he just needs to leave her completely and move on, but it's difficult for him. We'll try and see him after we leave the library today.

Elder Lovell and I with Dustin
A lot of this week is already gone from my memory. Life is just so fast.

A lot of missionaries are on edge because of how much change and hard work the new training we received
will require, and one missionary said something concerning the matter that was profound, "The way I see it, if we don't start teaching this way now, the work in this mission will flounder. That training is not just a good idea. It is a commandment we received from a prophet of God. If we disregard it and keep doing what we're doing, we're disobeying God's commandments, and we can't receive blessings that way."

We enjoyed a nice dinner in this week.
That's really the truth with anything. As President Bonham always says, "One constant we can always count on is change." Heavenly Father expects us to be continually progressing, which means we're always having to change. It's uncomfortable, but if we dig our heels in the mud, adamant that "what we're doing now is working just fine", we're being disobedient to God's Plan and thus fail to qualify for His blessings.

Well, I love y'all.

I guess my birthday/hump day is coming up. Doesn't feel like it. I just know I have a year left on my mission, which, I like to pretend, is still a long time. But looking back, it's not. I think I'm having a mid-life crisis.

Elder Martin

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