Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May 16, 2016

Dear Family,

It has been an enjoyable transfer week. On Thursday I had a revelatory experience at the temple. I went to the temple with the question "What can I do in these last 2 transfers to become the missionary you want me to be?" The answer I got was during the endowment presentation. "Now is the time for you to to refine the skills you've gained and practice all the lessons you've learned so they become a part of who you are forever."

It has been interesting to see the difference between me and Elder McGuire from a year ago. For Elder McGuire, he is showing a lot more humility than a year ago. He is also more relaxed and light- hearted than a year ago. For me, Elder McGuire pointed out in our first comp inventory on Friday that "My social skills have come leaps and bounds from a year ago." That's the one thing he immediately picked up on. 

When I was set apart as a full time missionary on July 27, 2014 I said to the Lord "I am all yours for the next 2 years; you can make me who you want me to be." Into his hands I went to mold me and shape me into who he wants me to be. Transfer by transfer, week by week, day by day, area by area, companion by companion. I have experienced subtle changes and subtle growth in my countenance. These changes and growth are permanent and will be a part of who I am forever. Rest assured.. I will never be the same.

I like to liken the subtle changes and subtle growth to a scripture 2 Nephi 28:30: "For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth."

It was also stake conference this weekend. Elder Bennett of the Seventy came and presided over this stake conference. We got to go to both the adult session and the general session in person in Dartmouth. The rest of my stake conferences I've watched on a computer screen. In the adult session the first counselor in the stake presidency gave a 5 minute talk on reverence. After the talk was over Elder Bennett had members of the congregation stand up and speak of their impressions that they had during the talk. One member stood up and said she felt that God was reaching out to her and telling her that he loves her. She said she has a personal medical issue that is hard for her sometimes. Another stood up and said she felt judged when her kids were acting up in Church. Elder Bennett made some remarks how we as members shouldn't judge other people's children because the Savior loves children. He said that kids acting up at Church has never taken away from his experience at Church. He also made some remarks in response to the member that stood up and admitted her personal medical issue. He said that every human being desires a compliment. Second to a compliment human beings desire to be listened to. He suggested that next time we have a conversation with someone we should respond by saying "Thank you for sharing that with me. That's important to me because _____." Try it out sometime. In the general session he spoke about member missionary work and shared a story of giving a copy of the Book of Mormon to somebody and how it took them 30 years to pick it up and read it. He encouraged members to not be afraid of offering someone a Book of Mormon as a gift.

Throughout the weekend I saw members from all 4 of my Nova Scotia areas. I got to fellowship and visit with them. I have come to love the saints of Nova Scotia. I have made strong bonds in the wards I've served in. They are good people. 

Friday, we had our first weekly planning session back together. When we stopped by a member, his girlfriend was there and she began asking us some questions. We started answering them and we asked her if we could teach her the discussions and she said yes! In that same visit we got 3 referrals from his daughter. So we had a member presence, new investigator, and 3 referrals received all in one visit. 

Have a good week!

Elder O'Brien (the older)

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