Tuesday, July 15, 2014

[7/14/2014] Week 71: The Weeds are Subsiding

Hey, hey!

I feel unusually affected by the news of the Stay family and their tragedy. Nearly an entire family cut short of their opportunity to live here and experience mortality, and it is because someone misused their agency. Really, I'm saddened, which is not a normal reaction for me to news like that. I guess that makes me sound cold and hardened, but it's true. Who knows? Maybe I've changed.

We definitely saw more miracles this week in finding new investigators. Last week, Elder Christensen and I went tracting while our companions taught DeMarkeyas a hand-off lesson. The very first door was answered by Veer, a young single adult currently studying nursing at Shoreline Community College. She and her family are from India, and she was raised Sikh, but she is still figuring out what she believes, so she was totally open to a chapel tour and learning more about what we believe. On Tuesday, we gave her a chapel tour, and she even brought her friend Andre, a Ukrainian young single adult, who has his own crazy conversion story of when he found Christianity. We taught them several times his week, and invited them to pray about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. As we taught them about the Book of Mormon, and arrived at the point in chapter one of 1 Nephi where Nephi relates Lehi's first visionary dream, Veer described to us an experience of her own: she prayed just before going to sleep the night previous to our lesson, and subsequently had a dream that she was flying. This may seem inconsequential, but in Veer's experience, when she dreams, she only has nightmares. What's more is that in her culture, a "flying dream" a really, really good sign. Isn't that incredible? Heavenly Father works with us in our own currency, and He certainly answers prayers! Unfortunately, Veer is headed to India today to work on a college project, and she won't return until mid-September. But we'll see her then!

I learned a lot about leadership this week. On exchange with Elder Shaver in the Thomas Lake ward, I took the advice of one of our assistants to the president, which was to "help your missionaries love their mission". I felt impressed by the Holy Ghost to compliment and build up Elder Shaver on everything that I noticed he was doing well. Usually, I notice a lot of things that missionaries do well, but I rarely say anything because I assume that their good qualities and attributes are clear, and "go without saying". But I figured I'd not be lazy, and I just went all out. It was actually really fun to just point out everything he did well, and at the end of our exchange, he said something awesome: "You know how when a parent tells their child they're smart again and again, the child becomes smart because he believes it? I feel like that's what you've done for me. Thanks, Elder Martin, for this exchange." It was so cool to hear that because I felt like Elder Shaver already knew how awesome of a missionary he is, but clearly, my comments had a remarkable impact on the way he viewed himself and his missionary work. I was just humbled to be a tool in Heavenly Father's hands to do some good for another missionary.

I had the opportunity to sit down with another missionary in the zone for some time after zone meeting on Wednesday and talk about the struggles he is having with his companion. It was really cool, because, since his concerns have to do with honesty and integrity, I was able to think back to my experiences with Pops and how he was always the utmost example of those attributes. I can remember accusing Dad of lying or whatever while I was in my moody teen years, and he would always respond calmly, "I don't lie. I'm not dishonest." And I just couldn't argue with that. When we righteously live up to our covenants and follow the example of Jesus Christ to the best of our ability, we can stand upright and erect with calm confidence in every situation. No sweat. I hope to stand with that same confidence at Judgment Day. Not because I was perfect, but because I did my best and trusted the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His grace to cleanse me.

All for now. Love y'all!

Elder Martin

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