April 30, 2018
This week was filled with some special experiences:
Edwin – Edwin was taught by Elders Duvalois and Lewis about a year ago, but he wasn’t keeping commitments, so they stopped teaching him. Elder Duvalois gave us a call last week and said that he was thinking about him and asked that we stop by. We had a lesson or two with him this week and they were quite interesting. As we discussed his previous visits with missionaries, he told us that he didn’t remember too much, but that he wanted to learn what they were trying to teach him. We taught him again and he had a Joseph Smith type experience right in front of us. We were talking and he felt weird inside and eventually turned backwards in the chair and couldn’t even look at us……Both Elder Benson and I were pretty confused, but we both thought (as we found out later) about how Satan enveloped Joseph as he was saying his first prayer. We flipped open our LDS Media Library app, pulled up the “Ask of God” video, and showed it to him. Another interesting occurrence was that right as it got to the part when Joseph was about to pray, his parents came in, which interrupted the lesson. Edwin got up and said that that was it for today, so we headed out. Both Elder Benson and I were amazed and confused at the same time….The Spirit had lead us through the lesson, Edwin had experienced something out of the ordinary, and we were both still trying to figure out what had happened….It was a whirlwind and we still have yet to find out what really went down, but tune in next week for more developments 🙂
Hannah – Hannah is doing pretty well! She is learning quickly and trials in her life are allowing her to see the gospel in action. When we were doing service at the Daffodil Festival in Meriden this Saturday, Hannah happened to be there and came over! We were able to chat for about an hour while we switched off handing out flyers about the concerts going on. It was a tender mercy for us and also for her. She is planning on setting a firm baptismal date this Wednesday, so also, tune in next week!
Ron – We met Ron about three weeks ago. He’s lived in the same house for his entire life, and in 2003, some Mormon Missionaries knocked on his door for the first time. He met with them for about two years and went to everything, from Church to activities, he even taught Gospel Principles a few times. So we were sitting in a lesson with him, and right as we testified of the church and that it is true, his clock went off. The funny thing is that the minute hand was at 7 minutes to the hour. I said,”That is a testimony that this church is true! This ALWAYS happens whenever we testify of truth!” We were there for a while longer, and the clock chimed normally from then on. Ron was almost mystified and so confused, but we knew that it was Satan trying to hinder and distract from the important message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just like how Jesus Christ is a real being, I know that Satan is also a real being and will do everything he can to tear us down, take us from what is most important, and drag us to misery. Two sure ways to weaken his influence in our lives is MEANINGFUL Personal Prayer and MEANINGFUL DAILY Scripture Study. This week as I have evaluated each day, I recognized that the days that went better included a set piece of time in which I had a meaningful conversation with my Father in Heaven and a time set aside to study the scriptures and learn important principles to apply. DO IT! Satan never ceases to make us weary, but we can never cease to nourish our souls with these two daily practices.
Can We Even Do This?-So the Young Men’s President asked us to get closer to the youth, so we’ve been going to Mutual as of late. This week we came and what is it on: Self Defense. Oh boy….the Bishop’s daughter taught the class, and she has been in Karate for almost 8 years! We were just watching at first, but then the Young Women’s President told us to come join! We had a lot of fun, and don’t worry, we didn’t throw anybody to the ground 🙂
Janice-Elder Shepherd and Elder Benson received a referral about four weeks ago for a lady named Janice. It took us a month to set up an appointment, so we were about ready to drop her, but she insisted that she wanted us over. We finally met and her son was there as well. We asked her how she got in contact with the church. She said that (like Ron) she had met with missionaries about 15 years ago in New York, she liked what they taught, went to church, got baptized….(at this point, Elder Benson and I both had a confused look on our face). We are still in the process of finding her records, but she may have actually been baptized. A potential investigator that turned into a very less active member? That doesn’t happen too often (but Elder Phillipsen has had this exact circumstance happen in Warwick…..small world). Tune in next week……!
Daffodils for Days-We did some cool service this week. We helped a member on an adult Lego project. I am kidding, but also not kidding at the same time. We helped him assemble a Lifetime® Shed and it was like living a childhood dream as an adult. It actually was fun AND we got to know their family better. KEY: If you wish to know someone better, spend some time with them, either at their home or doing service. We also did service at the Daffodil Festival in Meriden (pictures to come). The night before, Elder Benson pulled over and as we were trying to get Janice’s record transferred, one of our investigators mentioned the Daff Festival, and a brilliant idea from the Spirit entered our minds. We went to work to find out if we could do some service there, even though it was less than 24 hours before it started. Thankfully, they needed help and we were signed up. Over the course of our service, the three other people working at the information desk had all been through the Hartford Temple Open House and knew members, we saw Hannah, we also saw another one of our recent converts, and someone even talked to us about being missionaries. Service is so much fun and truly helps us to lose ourselves. Also, Elder Benson, who was in the Explorer Program at the Sandy Police Department before his mission got to talk to the some Police Officers, who were conveniently parked right next to the information booth, and even some of the Cadets who were there. We also saw a Less Active member earlier in the day and were conveniently on the same bus back to the parking lot. Heavenly Father was definitely in the details. I know that God knows the inner workings of our life. He is watching us and will give us tender mercies to show us that He is there. I invite you to watch for those tender mercies as you go about your week. You will find that He is more involved than we may sometimes realize.
No Effort is Wasted: Last Friday at District Meeting, I wished that one day, I would recognize a name on the prayer roll, hopefully someone that had come up in a previous area or something like that. The prayer roll is a list of people being baptized on the coming weekend and the mission asks for our prayers of faith so that they may be strengthened to continue to their baptismal date. The list was read during our prayer at the end, and then a name popped out……It sounded so familiar, but I couldn’t put a finger on where it was from….Well, the week went on and I was scrolling through Facebook one night, when the same name came up on the “Suggested Friends” bar. I looked at their mutual friends, one turned out to be a missionary in our zone, and the memories started flooding back. FLASHBACK:-:-:-:-:-:Elder Greding and I were sitting at our desks in the New Haven apartment, looking through former investigators. One pops out, and we call her. She happily answered the phone and said that she would love to meet sometime! She lived out of our family ward boundaries, but since we covered the Young Single Adult Ward, we could travel to where she lived. We met at about 7:30pm on a cold spring night. We walked up to the house, no one answered at first, but eventually she came to the door, but because of crazy dogs and the lack of a man in the house, we met outside. Over about 45 minutes, we talked about the Restoration and she asked many good questions, but also some interesting ones. We had a hunch that she was high or intoxicated, but the whole conversation ended up being quite interesting, definitely one to remember. It was getting late and we let her say the closing prayer, which was as animated and as interesting as our visit. We headed out and kind of looked at each other in the car, but decided that it had been a good visit 🙂 We tried setting up some more appointments over the next few weeks, but nothing ever worked out:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-BACK TO REALITY BAM!!! Alright, we’re back. PHEW. I decided to call the missionaries over the area where she lives. It turns out that they had stopped by referrals who had requested a Book of Mormon or Bible and she was receptive, she knew a member down the street, they started meeting, she came to church, has born her testimony during every fast and testimony meeting since coming, was baptized, and is doing very well. The missionaries said that she is still interesting, but now has a STRONG foundation in Jesus Christ. We never what will happen. This was a complete surprise to both Elder Greding and myself, but it is a wonderful surprise. We never know who will be touched or when they are ready. I am not saying be stressed about finding out for yourself who is ready, but rather, listening to the Spirit and being kind, reaching out, and offering the truth that you love.
Spiritual Bit at the End: On Sunday, we sat in with the youth and they talked about “Come What May and Love It” by Joseph B. Wirthlin. We were discussing the ways that we face trials in our life each day, and the scripture was brought up that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Elder Ruhr taught us in District Meeting that in the Parable of the Wise Man and the Foolish Man, the storm came upon both houses, but the difference was that the Wise Man’s house was built upon a solid foundation where the foolish man’s house was built on a sandy, washy foundation. Our lives are built upon the Foundation of Jesus Christ as we Study the Scriptures, Pray meaningfully, and Keep the Commandments, as well as Seeking For and Receiving Personal Revelation. This is a joyful process and I hope that you will take this challenge, to focus on PURIFYING your study and prayer time to draw closer to your Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, this week.