September 11, 2017
Hello everyone! This week will hopefully be focused on the simple things that make it all worth it. Hope you enjoy it!
My favorite part of Monday was being able to drive out to the neck of Marblehead. It is a little island/peninsula off of the mainland of Marblehead. I think it is the coolest place to live ever! There is one Less Active member who lives out there, so we went to visit them again. We tried a few months ago, but nothing really came of it. He was from another country and wasn’t too interested, so we left. When we were in the car, the Holy Ghost said,”Go knock again!” After sitting there for a minute and trying to figure out what to do, and even driving around, we eventually just parked back around on the street and walked in that direction. The prompting transitioned to the house next door, so we went and we stood there for a good 3 minutes or so with no one responding. As we were walking back, a woman was walking towards us with her dog. We said hi and started a casual conversation, which eventually moved into her asking who we were. We were able to share a little bit of our message with her, as well as a card with our phone number. We never know if she will ever show up again, but it was a great experience in feeling the spirit and in sharing the gospel with others. We also drove to a Less Active, Part-Member family in Swampscott and we weren’t sure what to expect. She was active in college, but not now, so almost anything could have happened. We were pretty nervous to go up and knock, especially with the souped up truck in the driveway, but her husband answered! He was very relaxed, and didn’t even know his wife attended a church, but we set up a time to come by on Tuesday before correlation.
Tuesday we had to figure out trying to get a hitch on our car…it didn’t end up working out. Tip: Malibu’s can’t get hitches. You would have to remove and cut the rear bumper and back facia to put it on…lots of labor and not worth it all together, so that was our morning. U-Haul to Chevrolet to their Auto Body Shop to calling Elder Hanlon. CrAzY! We did have a lesson in the afternoon with John Glennon. We have been calling him most evenings and following up on his reading of the scriptures. He reads about a chapter a night and writes down what he learns. Our next step for him is helping him come to church continually, so we gave him steps to follow. Reading, Praying, and Coming to Church. The purpose of the lesson was to share the steps he would have to take to baptism, and these three were the starting point. Brother Shapiro, our resident Ward Missionary, came with us and shared some great personal experience to help John understand. After John in Woburn, we drove ALL THE WAY to Swampscott for the return appointment we had set up. We discussed a lot on the way there whether it was worth it or not. It would be about 20 or 25 miles, an hour of driving there, and we would get to missionary correlation late. Elder Merrill made the point though that we had made the appointment and that it would look bad if we didn’t even show up, so we went and hoped that it would all work out. We got to the house, knocked, rang, and waited. No one was home…Well, we gave it our best, and it would give us more time to get to correlation anyway. Off we drove to Lynnfield, all the way from Swampscott. The drive was scenic and a lot of fun. As we were getting closer to Lynnfield, we saw a guy with his blinkers on and definitely changing a tire. I asked Elder Merrill if we should stop and he immediately said yes. We slowed down pretty quickly and hit the hazards. He had been there for about 20 minutes, so we hopped in and helped. The jack only had the J looking part, so cranking it up was a fun task, but the tire came off relatively easy. We were also able to talk to him. He was from Lynnfield and worked nearby, but his family had been in the area for YEARS! That is how a lot of the families are up here. He was happy to have help, and right after we started putting the bolts back on, a tow truck pulled up, and the driver went and fetched his power gun and finished up the job. As we left, the guy held up his hand to wave and just seemed really happy. We did end up being late to correlation, but it was actually better! They assigned families to each one of the ward missionary couples and then asked us for suggestions. Very effective! We were also given a ‘church tour’ from the young men and Bishop after correlation 😉 We went up the steeple (video), discovered the basement, and then took a jog through the attic. It was a fun end to the day!
Wednesday was really slow, but we eventually got out and went to the library to get directions to Marblehead. The Long’s had us for dinner that night and after sharing an Addiction Recovery video and feeling the power of repentance, and eating a yummy fruit tart pie from Costco, we headed out to face Marblehead! We tried to see some less actives, but near the end of the evening, we decided to hit home to plan. As we were driving, the Spirit told us to go turn right. So we did and flipped around. It was super confusing, but eventually we got out to knock some doors. As we were knocking, we got a text from a member in Salem, one who would be teaching Seminary the next week. We had had a miscommunication with our dinner calendar and she was confirming for the next Sunday. We agreed, and realized in the process that she had asked for three more Book of Mormons. We didn’t have anything super productive to do that evening, and so we went over and delivered the three more she needed. It really is the small things that make the difference.
Thursday was Zone Conference!!!! This was honestly the best Zone Conference I have ever been too. For both Elder Merrill and myself, all of the questions and concerns that we had we resolved or discussed. Here is a brief run down. There were some Senior Couple trainings at the beginning on driving and accountability from Elder Hanlon, the Stewardship we have over our apartments and cars and how we should take care of them, and also reimbursable items that we can buy to keep our apartments clean. The Keyes, who are from California and Elder Keyes is the area medical advisor, gave a training using a formula. Any of you who know me know that math is my favorite subject in the world, so this was already off to a good start. The formula was:
(Faith+Sacrifice+Obedience) x Action = Power = Miracles
Fear + Doubt
This is exactly what we have been looking for. Figuring out the relation between all of these is crucial to understanding how to increase your spiritual power. It was a relief to have this in front of us, especially as a guide to having more miracles in our work. The basic formula they gave us is: Faith + Action = Miracles. The way to conquer fear is Role Playing and the way to conquer doubt is Study and Prayer. The solution! It was an amazing training. Next, we had a training by President Miller on 6 D’s. They start small, but progressively go in a downward spiral. Doubt, Discouragement, Distractions, Lack of Diligence, Disobedience, Disbelief. The opposites of these are as follows: Faith, Hopefulness, Singular Focus, Diligence, Obedience, Trusting. They are opposites and lead in completely opposite directions. One up, and the other down. President and Sister Miller shared this with us to show how we can increase our spiritual power. He said that he loves the quote,”Often the case is not,’Lord, is it I?’ as much as it is ‘Lord, is it this?”. He invited us to ponder the path of our feet. It is liberating to walk the upward path, even though it is difficult. President White of the mission presidency gave a talk as well. The biggest lesson that I got out of it was a story that he shared. I can’t even remember what happened or what the premise was, but he said that he got a prompting and that he acted on it. The blessing of serving the Master is coming unto Him and becoming like Him. After his talk, they opened it up for a testimony meeting. I felt the Spirit come and said,”You know what, might as well!” So there we go, walking up. Like most testimony meetings, no thoughts were coming to mind. It was brief and simple, but as you share your testimony, you gain it yourself. I bore it on Sacrifice. A big theme from these past two weeks has been sacrifice. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven. It just has to happen. That is the only way to grow, it is often painful in the process, but looking back, it is always worth it. Sister Miller shared that in the Book of Mormon, the word had more of an effect upon the people than the sword. She then said,”We invited you to bury some swords today”. That made me think. We often think that swords, or worldly tactics, will work, but the Doctrine Changes Behavior. President Miller shared that Satan desires to take us and sift us as wheat, but we can meet the Lord at the gate and learn how to knock.
Friday we helped Brother Madsen move. He is going back to New Mexico and we packed him up. As we were packing, we got a text about Thad and Marla. We met Thad and Marla a few weeks ago. Thad was diagnosed with Leukemia years ago, but it has been slow moving for a very long time. Just recently, it has started to flare up, so because of the closeness of great medical care, they moved out here to live with their daughter in Beverly. Time was passing ok, and it looked like they would be in Beverly till about October. We came over and visited and he told us old Navy stories and Marla told us about all of the places they have lived, like San Ramone, Salt Lake, Provo, etc. The last time we visited was about a week ago. We gave them both blessings and enjoyed their company. Friday morning, near the end of helping Brother Madsen, we got a text from the daughter that said that Thad had taken a downward spiral and he had been moved to hospice care. Frantically, we went to the local Market Basket with the RS President to get flowers, and then made it to there as fast as possible. Thad was peacefully resting and part of the family was around him, calmly, in the room. It was very surprising. I imagined the family getting to see him as quick as possible and then being worried the whole time, but it was amazing to see the serenity that they had all together. We were able to visit with Marla and share a scripture with her about righteousness yielding eternal life. She talked to us for a while, and hopefully we were able to ease a little bit of greif or difficulty. They really appreciated that we would take time to come, and it was a special experience for us. On Sunday, Bishop Johnson was also able to stop by and visit with the family, and currently, the Relief Society is helping with meals. It’s the little things that count.
Saturday we had District Meeting (a little different). Brother LaPierre (Former mission president and bishop and now North Shore Stake Patriarch) shared some powerful thoughts with us. But more than that was the spirit that we felt. I am grateful for the power that the Spirit has in our lives the ability that people have to change. I hope you each have a great week!!