Oh, how the Lord is mindful of us.
This past weekend we had a great miracle in the Lynchburg 2nd Ward!
Our 9-year-old investigator, Aliyah Brown was baptized. It was beautiful. She was SO excited! Her mother says she’s been “excited on overdrive” for days. =) Aliyah’s mother was baptized when she was young, and has a great testimony of the Gospel, leads her home righteously, and has taught Aliyah so well. This weekend she came to church for the first time in a long time, and was able to witness her daughter’s baptism and confirmation. It was a beautiful moment, and I am so grateful to have been a part of it.
These are 5 missionaries I love so much! From the left: Elder Fullmer, Elder Sawyer, Elder Hansen, Elder Lopez, Elder Poni, and Aliyah Brown in front. =)
Last night as I knelt to pray before bed, the Spirit shared with me some connections. I got up to write them down, and after a good half-hour, went back and knelt again. Again I made some connections, and had to get up and record them. This process repeated once more. Finally I was smart enough to not go back into my room, and knelt at my table. Around Midnight, I finally begged Heavenly Father to let me go to sleep and jumped into bed before he could answer. Probably not the right thing to do, but… I was really tired.
I wanted to share some of what I learned =)
I have been pondering on Ether 12:27 for a long time. I keep learning new things!
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
Elder Bednar once taught in a CES broadcast that we should search for “connections, patterns and themes” as we study. As I prayed, I saw a connection between humility and strength. My mind went to Helaman 3:35:
Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
I realized that we are strong when humble because we have the Lord’s strength, whereas when we are prideful, we are reliant upon our own strength, and are weak. 2 Nephi 4:34:
O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
I also thought of Moses’ experience in Moses 1:9-10:
And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.
And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.
This was an important lesson for me here. We are struggling a bit to find people to teach here. We have about 7 investigators, of whom I have only met 4 and taught 2 since my arrival here. Most of the remainder of our day is spent walking or riding buses to and from, talking to people on the bus or on the street as we travel. We’re having great experiences, don’t get me wrong, but we just aren’t getting the response we should be.
As I prayed, and these things unfolded to me, I realized I am trying too hard to do this all myself. Elder Sawyer is a newer missionary, and he hasn’t been given much room to grow and blossom into himself. His talents have been stifled and his confidence is low in his ability to perform the Lord’s work. I LOVE this Elder. He is SO dedicated and wants SO badly to be a great missionary. But rather than give him the room to do things himself, I have been doing just what previous missionaries have done in taking the lead in everything and kind of giving him the “watch and learn” teaching method.
As these scriptures unfolded, I realized that is not the Lord’s way. WE were called here TOGETHER to do the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way. We hinder the Lord’s work when we, His tools, think we know the best way to do it, or that we can do it all by ourselves. When we do that, we are pridefully relying upon our own strength, and are left with just that. I realized last night that I need to humble myself. I will stop leading out and trying to do everything myself. I will help my companion to gain the understanding he needs, and then we will do this together.
I am super duper excited about this. I have this incredible vision of who Elder Sawyer is, and who he will become. I picture him with confidence and a vision of his worth and identity, and I see a force to be reckoned with. He is humble and meek, and I love him so much for that. The Lord will make of him great things, and I just can’t wait to watch that happen.
This is me stepping out of the way.