Everything is going well in good old England! This last week was very good, very good indeed. It is always an amazing experience to see a person go from having relatively no knowledge of the gospel to having that glow around them when they are answering the questions or expressing their feelings about the gospel. They both were also able to recieve the Priesthood on Sunday after their confirmations and I they appreciated that opportunity and blessing very much. I also had the honor of confirming them the Aaronic Priesthood. Their names are Wayne Somerville who is a university student here in Preston at UClan. He is 22 and from Northern Ireland. The other is a 40 year old or so man from Hungary. He is actually going back to Hungary for a while this week. So we are praying that he will be able to find the ward there and continue to strengthen his testimony. From what I know, I think he will do so. Such amazing spirits they both have. As of now I have only taken part in the baptisms of foreign to England people. I think you might call that ironic....
This week I have been studying PMG ch. 10 about the importance of scriptures in teaching and how to use them to their most value. I first learned about introducing the scripture to the investigator and how that can help them understand the principles or doctrine much better. Then when reading the scripture with them I learned the importance of having them read it, then going over it again to really take in the meaning. Lastly the most important part in using the scriptures is helping them to identify the key points that they can use in their lifes to help them the most. When we apply the scriptures to ourselves it becomes easier to see the importance they can and should be. The BoM is the key part of conversion in every recent convert.
Over the last couple of weeks we have been working with three or so chinese students and they are doing well. One has committed to stop smoking and to come to church every week (Max). He had not been to church in a long while and we told him that we could no longer visit him if he was not willing to come to church because both we and he knew that he could not progress any further if he did not come to church. We were very happy to see that he understood that as well and came to church with us this Sunday. The other two chinese investigators that we have are doing well (Liu/Sun), they are reading and praying regularly and are making the efforts to come to church. They both have a couple of problems with some of the commandments but we know they can overcome those problems with the continued reading, praying, and coming to church.
This week I have learned quite a bit about the gospel and the reason why it is so important to me and a part of my life. They are all based on some of the experiences that I have had this week, so I would say that yes, this week has been very blessed indeed. The first experience happened a week ago today. We were street contacting and ran into a young man who looked like a chav and I was not sure if we should talk to him but we decided to anyways. His name is Daniel and he is from Deutschland. I started to talk to him but right away he said, I am already a Mormon. It threw me for a second but then I figured he was just messing with me so I continued. He stopped us again and said, no I am already a Mormon. Turns out he is.
He is 19 and going to college here and is living by one of his sisters. He told us he is from a family of 11 children and that he and his sister are the only inactive ones at the moment and that he has a brother in the Berlin, Germany mission. All of his older brothers and sisters had served missions except one sister who was less active with him. We talked to him for a little bit and scheduled a time to see him the next day. We met with him and had a great lesson about Faith and Prayer. He told us that he believes it is all true.
It was from here that I learned something important to me. He told me he has been doing some things he shouldn't be doing in regards to the word of wisdom and that is why he is no longer in the church. He said he has the belief that the church is true, but he is not able to act on that belief, or in other words, he does not have that faith necessary. Daniel has had all the support and knowlege necessary from his family and friends, but he has decided to not act on that belief he has that the church is true. He wants to come back, but he doesn't know if he has the ability to do so. We will be going over the atonement the next time we meet him. We met with him again and also invited him to come to investigator Futbol on Saturday. He came and it was good for him to actually get out. Unfortunately he did not come to church..... It just teaches me that people can be really good people, know that something is true, but if they don't have that faith to act, that faith will do nothing for you.
Another point I learned this week was the importance of the Restoration as the first lesson when you teach people. We were going through the area book of dropped investigators and there were so many people that had only been taught once and they had not been taught the restoration. We learn in PMG and know that our unique message to the world is the Restoration and the BoM is a tesament and evidence of that. If we only meet with someone once and they don't know that God has reached down in his love and called a Prophet on the earth today and that there is revelation in our time, we have FAILED as missionaries. The Restoration is what everyone needs to hear all the time and should be referred to quickly and frequently EVERY time we talk to someone about the gospel.
The last thing I learned this week came from a lesson/experience with an investigator named Isaac. He is 21, 6,6 and 300 pounds and playes rugby. We were going to teach him the word of wisdom but decided to go over the simple lesson of obedience first. We went through and explained the importance of obedience and why God gives us commandments, afterwords we asked, "as you learn about the commandments, will you strive to be obedient and follow the will of God." Then everything went really south. His countenance literally darkened and he got all strange. He then said, no, no, I hate that word, referring to obedience, and then said again, no, I can't do that.
We asked him why and he started rambling about obedience and how itwas next to subservience and that being trapped by rules andregulations is not right. Me and my companion were really confused and we didn't know what to do. We then gave him an analogy of a Dog on a leash and a Dog not on a leash. The one on the leash is constantly pulling on his master and trying to get away while the other obediently follows his master when he is needed by his side. We asked him which one was more free and he told us that the one on the leash was. That the one without a leash was being held without his power by command of voice. He continued to say how that was a perverted way to keep control on others. (Needless to say he completely missed the whole point of the analogy) He then got really quiet and asked us to leave without letting us say a prayer.
That was the strangest teaching experience I have had yet but it taught me something very important about obedience. I mean, I already knew this, but it was just brought to my mind more clearly as to why it is important. When we follow the guidlines or commandments of God we are truly more free to do as we wish. Obedience is the first law of Heaven and that is what will make us truly happy. So siblings, remember that the rules given by the Lord, through the church and then through our parents are important, and that as you follow them you will be blessed in your life to have the freedom to do as you wish and receive more blessings from it. Daniel thought he was choosing the best way going to drugs, "doing as he wished". Now he is struggling to loose himself from the bands that choice has made around him.
Family, I love you and I hope that you are all doing well and are appreciating the gospel as much as I am right now. Keep doing the small and simple things and you will be surprised at how effective and happy they make you. Then again maybe you won't be too surprised that they work, because of course, they are from God. I want you all to know once more that this work is real. The church is true and we are very lucky to be a part of it. I love what it does for me and you as my family. Let me know if there is anything else you would like to know for next week!!