Monday, September 30, 2013

"...families are central to God's plan, and to the gospel, but sometimes we get too caught up with the Restoration and the Book of Mormon..."

Let's start backwards this week!
Yesterday was really nice at church. I may have mentioned before, but our bishop is very very, very missionary-minded, and it's awesome. 
It was the 5th Sunday, so all the Priesthood and Relief Society met together in the chapel. Bishop requested that we teach the Restoration lesson to the whole crowd, to help them understand how a first visit with missionaries would generally go. Then he encouraged all of them to invite us over to share all the missionary lessons with their families, hoping that if they do this, they will feel more comfortable inviting their friends to listen to our message, and the spirit of the lessons will maybe prompt them to be more bold and inviting. 
I felt kinda awkward teaching a lesson in front of 100ish people, but a member of the ward approached me after church and said that his favourite part of church that day was when we shared the lesson. So I felt pretty good after that. Also a girl from the ward is leaving on her mission to Oregon next week, so she gave her farewell talk, and also her dad and uncle spoke about their missions. They were all really good talks. 
Recently the bishop has had returned missionaries talk about what they learned from their missions, and converts talk about their story, just to get the ward more pumped about doing missionary work. Some of them have just talked about the fun or crazy stories from their missions, but the returned missionary talks yesterday were really spiritual and inspirational. 
Here's a cool thing: When planning out last week's district meeting, I felt like we need to focus on FAMILIES more in our missionary efforts; myself and missionaries in general. 
I taught/we discussed about how families are central to God's plan, and to the gospel, but sometimes we get too caught up with the Restoration and the Book of Mormon when talking to strangers about the gospel. So we all committed to spend more effort talking about eternal families, how the gospel and the church can strengthen and unify families, and so forth. 
When preparing this lesson, I realized how much Preach My Gospel talks about families in the section about finding people to teach. So, this week as we have had families in mind, praying to find families to teach and testify, and asking people about their families, we've seen quite a bit of success. 
We have a few young mothers and fathers who want to learn more, and in a lesson with an investigator we decided to just sit down and ask him about his family, and he was really excited to talk about his kids and how he hopes to re-unite with them someday soon (divorced or something). 
The spirit is always there when talking to people about their families, according to Preach My Gospel and also my experience this week. You guys are probably bored by all this, but I found it amazing and miraculous how much we had been overlooking when it comes to families!
Other than that, this week hasn't been too eventful. We have spent quite a bit of time trying to contact inactive members on the ward list, and then knocking 10 doors on each side if the person isn't home or is not interested. Still amazes us how many people are technically members, and yet they have no recollection of the church. Some are a bit angry when we show up, others are really nice but not interested, and maybe one we met was super nice and maybe sort of interested--gave her a family proclamation and she said we could come back another day.
So yeah, the work is going pretty well. Small miracles here and there, tender mercies everywhere. Thanks for being such a great family! I canny wait to be with yous forever!
Photo: Smiling Jesus! Personally signed by Del Parsons, to a lady in our ward! 
Some story behind it, apparently she always wondered why there are none/few pictures of Jesus smiling. A friend of hers knew the artist, and bought her a copy. It amazes me how you can tell it's the same artist as the classic portrait of Jesus in red.