I had a great experience this week that gave me an opportunity to really ponder and contemplate the testimony I have of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. I was on exchange up in St. Helens and we were street contacting just before we were about to teach a lesson. One of the last people I spoke to was absolutely adamant about the fact that I was completely crazy and had been brain-washed into believing the things I believe and that it is only in my head. I have had many encounters like this, but for some reason it made me think about my testimony more than before. I asked myself the question, why do I believe what I believe, what is it that has given me a testimony?
Seeing as I have not had an Alma the Younger, Nephi, or Joseph Smith experience yet, I can't just tell people my story giving them the opportunity to either believe or blatantly reject it. Really what it comes down to are the promised blessings that have come as I have kept the commandments God has given. It is very simple to find out through basic living of the standards and waiting for the promised outcome. If they come than it obviously is true, if they don't, then it is not. Also I was reading today in PMG chapter 5 about the Book of Mormon, and realised how much my testimony is based upon it and its truthfulness. For me after reading it so many times I can't see how anyone can read it and tell me that any one more or even group of men wrote it in the space of any ones lifetime.
To me it is a living miracle and witness of God's existence and his love for us. After thinking all of these thoughts this morning, I realised that I need to be more specific when teaching our investigators about the Book of Mormon, sharing with them over and over again Moroni's promise and emphasizing that this more than anything else really is what will help them to find the truth. So that is one of my new resolutions. One, sharing my testimony of the Book of Mormon more, and two, making sure they know that we expect them to recieve a testimony or answer from God based upon the Book of Mormon. Then all they have to do is actually read it and find out for themselves.
While on exchange in St. Helens my companion and I tried to speak to a family of four about the Gospel telling them that they can have an eternal family, but they were not interested and kept walking away. About 5 minutes later as we were talking to someone else, two police officers came up to us and told us that we need to be more careful with our approach to people because they had just been told by a young family that we had intimidated them and that they did not feel that that was right. To be honest, the family was probably just complaining because they don't like being preached to, but it did make me think of how our actions as missionaries can affect others and the way they think about us. We can leave lasting impressions on people, so we better make sure it is a good one. "There is no second chance for a first impression."