Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014 - Kentville, Nova Scotia

Companionship with boy from the ward

Dear Family,

Thank you for your 12 days of Christmas package! I got it last Tuesday (The 3rd). I am interested to know how the scripture references on your gifts tie into that particularly gift on that day. It will be fun. I'm excited to do my first 12 days of Christmas.. I can guess at what some of your gifts might be but some I can't tell so good job! Elder Willougby is anxious to know if Chris got me the David Archeaulta Mormon Tabernacle Christmas CD. That CD seems to be the hit around the mission as far as Christmas music goes. Also on Tuesday, I got another gift in the form of my own bed to sleep on instead of cycling through who sleeps on the air mattress.Needless to say both me and Elder Dupin were pretty happy that I have my own bed to sleep on. In the morning we had to move Sister Balby and it was one of the easiest moves ever. It only took us 20 minutes if that.

On Wednesday at district meeting, we held Elder Willougby's "Funeral." since it was his last district meeting ever. I know it sounds weird but what else do you expect from 21 year olds. So we all had to wear black. When missionaries go home we say that missionary is dead. Elder Dupin gave his eulogy. Like the areas he's served in, his trainers, that sort of thing. It was different. At the end, Elder Willoughby gave his testimony. But it wasn't all about his funeral; we still had training. The zone leaders actually gave training on bold missionaries.How when our investigators disagree with something we need to correct them but in a loving way. The four characteristics of a bold missionary is: Preparing the Environment, Taking control of the lessons, Teaching with Power and Authority, and Extending invitations straightforward. Then we split up into role play groups. In the role play I was with Elder Edge. The issue I was given was "Why is there the Book of Mormon?". I was able to explain why but I was kind of soft. So being bold is something that I definitely need to work on.

On Saturday, we had a special mission leadership council with Elder Kacher of the Second Quorum of the Seventy. He gave a talk at the latest general conference. He was the one that talked about the riptides. It was with the all the zone leaders and sister training leaders of the mission. So some of them only got to Skype in. Mission Leadership Council is normally on Tuesday at the mission home in Dartmouth and we would Skype into those. But since this was a special one, we got invited to go to it in person. Kentville is only about an hour away from Dartmouth so it's not too bad. Anyway since I am in a trio with the zone leaders I got to go. It was really cool. Although when he was talking about the mission, he decided to ask me if I knew what the standard of the mission was for the key indicators, And I was like Umm, Umm, (Oh shoot a general authority is asking me what the standard is for the mission and I don't know; I've only been out for 4 months and I'm not a zone leader). Then I finally said I don't know. But right after I said that, President Leavitt butted in and said that I'm still a pretty new missionary. I was pretty nervous when he asked me that. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. In my head I was like Thank you President; good to know you have my back. Anyway, one of the things he talked about was the ladder of faith. He drew a ladder with 5 rungs on it I wrote it down and it said this:

The first rung on the ladder said "this is too hard for me". He said that missionaries that feel that way usually go home. The next rung on the ladder said "I am not seeing success but I will endure". These missionaries stay out, and go through the motions, slack off and are disobedient...just wanting to get through. The next rung on the ladder said "I can work hard, I can do this. I can do hard things" These missionaries do as they are asked, learn good qualities but don't have a lot of success. The next rung on the ladder said "I can do this and the Lord will help me" These missionaries do better, they are obedient, hard working and ask the Lord to help them meet their goals. They have some success. The top rung on the ladder said "The Lord can do this and I will help him". These missionaries, the few who reach this level, really thrive. Missionaries who heed the Prophet's call to think, do things differently and work as one are on this rung of the ladder. 

The questions we need to face, me included, is this. What rung of the ladder am I on? Am I ready to take the next step up? What rung is our mission on? Are we as a group ready to take the next step up? "

It made me think of what my mindset was. I would say that my mindset is the fourth rung. "I can do this with the Lord's help." I know I can't do this by myself. I know I need the Lord's help.

Yesterday after Church, we had a three hour long choir practice for the Cantata which is this Sunday. Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted by the end. Elder Dupin and Elder Willoughby even fell asleep near the end when just the girls were singing. That pretty much sums it up. Later on yesterday we got to talk to Dr. Craig Evans, one of the world renowned bible scholars. He had some pretty interesting insights about the Bible. One of the questions we asked him was how we get a lot of backlash for that one verse in the Book of Revelations where it says "This book shall not be added unto." So people use that to argue the Book of Mormon. But even he agrees that it is talking about just the Book of Revelations. So there you have it - a world renowned bible scholar agrees with us on that topic. I can't remember all that he said but he talked about the Hebrews and the Egyptians. He also used some of our language that we use. One other thing he said that stuck was that there is more evidence of Jesus Christ than there is of Alexander the Great. He mentioned that he's going to BYU in March to teach one class. But anyway, by the end of the conversation I came to the concluison he would destroy us in an argument. He was all about evidence and history. 

So we got to watch the devotional at 9 p.m. last night. I found that it was very spiritually uplifting. I liked Elder Christofferson's story of the little boy. I also liked Elder Eyring's talk on the light of Christ. I like how they all talked about the birth of Jesus Christ and how that was one of the greatest gifts we have ever gotten. The Church's theme this year is "He is the gift." It is so true and I am so grateful that I have the special opportunity to share Him and the gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. But after the devotional, I had a good cry just letting it all out thinking about how much Christmas meant to our family. The devotional kind of made me homesick. Being away for the first time from my family for it. I But when the zone leaders noticed I was crying they told me that the first Christmas away from your family isn't easy but in 18 days you get to talk to them for 45 minutes to an hour about anything you want. Christmases as a missionary are always super spiritual - we get to share the birth of Jesus Christ with our brothers and sisters. They told me that it's worth being away from your family, and that everything will be okay. It really comes down to that; I am where the Lord wants me to be as Mom and Dad said. It was a good talk.

Transfer letters are this Sunday and then transfers take place next Thursday. President told me that I'll probably stay in this area for awhile so we will see. But I'm 95 percent sure I'm staying in Kentville. I've been bounced around enough. 

Have a great week!

17 days!


Elder O'Brien

No comments:

Post a Comment