Monday, January 19, 2015

[1/19/2015] Week 98: Floating in the Spirit


The blessings keep on rolling!

I don't have a ton of time, but I want to share the most marvelous experience I had teaching Jill with Elder Cottle on Saturday.

When we first sat down with Jill, she said, "Guys, I haven't read a lick since you last came. But, you know, I've been praying about, and it really just isn't lining up for me." My heart sank. And she went on to express concern that we hadn't known the exact number of book in the Bible when we last met and concern for a few other things. I guess she was raised pretty strictly on the Bible and so "new and different" things are hard to deal with. Basically, doubt had crept in since we met last Saturday. So Brother Tevaga, whom we brought to help teach, didn't waste a second, and he went off -- with the kind of love only an Islander can profess -- about the Book of Mormon and the gold plates and Sister Tevaga and her conversion and how she faced a ton of anti and was still converted by the Spirit. I began to get frustrated because it seemed we were losing control of the lesson, but I should have paid closer attention as Elder Cottle did because what Brother Tevaga said tore down her walls of disbelief and really seemed to connect with what she was feeling.

At one point, I can remember having this marvelous experience where she was dubious about all that was "new and different" about what we were sharing from what she grew up with, and so I felt inspired to teach her about how Peter felt after his vision of the unclean beasts, and how that was "new and different" from what he had always known and taught. And as I explained this, I could feel so powerfully that my words were inspired and carried by the Holy Ghost. I don't remember all that I said, but I remember such power moving within me and almost becoming emotional and finishing by saying something like, "You can have this happiness and peace in your life too. You just have to be willing to take it sincerely, and have faith, and put down your doubts and fears, and ask God to guide you." It was a sudden, powerful ending and I remember feeling so sincere and almost desperate on that last phrase. For a few moments, there was a touching silence, and Jill felt the Holy Ghost, and she became emotional. And then she said, "That was powerful. Thank you. I know that was the Holy Ghost speaking through you, telling you what to say, to me." All I could manage was, "You're welcome." So with member fellowship and with inspired questions and testimony, Jill is back on track, and she's gonna read and pray, and she is way inoculated [that means she is aware of and defensive toward anti-Mormon literature] now. Heavenly Father really helped us out there. I felt some of the purest joy of my mission during this lesson. Dad, I think I know what you mean now about "floating in the Spirit".

I have become an entirely different missionary in this area. Maybe it has to do with the time I have spent as a missionary and the time I have left, but I teach so powerfully and sincerely and individually now. And I've noticed a huge difference in how much love I feel for our investigators. That's a new gift for me, but I'm grateful for it, and it seems to have a huge impact on those we teach. I love this!

Last night, Elder Cottle and I were tracting, and a lady came to the door wearing a USNA sweater, and I got to talk about Christian and it made for a great ice-breaker! And it turned out she's best friends with a member of the ward, and she's going to come to the ward talent show! So thanks, Christian, for getting into the Naval Academy so that we could talk to that lady. Her son is just now a plebe, so I don't think you'd know him.

Elder Cottle
People keep asking me if I'm "dying" or if it's getting hard to stay focused, and while I admit that there's a lot to be distracted by, I have to say that I'm blessed in that it's not a huge deal for me. I'm finding it easy to stay focused and diligent and efficient and obedient. It helps that we have a lot of people to teach and that I have a great companion -- Oh, yeah. Elder George got transferred, and my new companion is Elder Cottle from Pleasant Grove, Utah! --, but to be quite honest I keep remembering a piece of advice I received from another missionary, whom I look up to a lot: "A mission is like a 400-meter race; you sprint during the beginning, middle, and end." It's as simple as that.

Elder Martin
Snohomish ward

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