Hello my amazingly awesome family,
I love to be a missionary. This week Elder M. Russell Ballard was able to come to our mission. He came and we all were able to shake the hand of an Apostle of the Lord. I could feel as he walked into the room and started talking that he lived the things he knew to be true. He did not only know them. It was a special experience to sing called to serve and here everyone in the room singing their best. It makes the hymns become so much more powerful as voices unite together. I find that when others don't sing I overpower them but when others do sing, the spirit overpowers me. There is nothing more beautiful than the hymns of the church.
Elder Ballard had some great remarks along with Elder Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy. What I remember most from that meeting is a comment that he made which my mind ran with. He said that everyone wants to serve whether they are inside or outside the church. I've thought about that often and then decided that missionaries could be great initiators of service in the communities in which we serve. We can go out to homeless shelters, schools, libraries, parks, etc. and find what needs have to be met. Then as we learn these needs arrange service projects that we can invite members from the community to attend and share their talents. In this way we allow everyone in the community to serve their fellow man. Along with this is the great opportunity to help missionaries serve alongside non-members and show what we are really doing. This in turn gives the missionaries opportunities to carry on gospel conversations with those they serve with.
I have asked President Jackson for his thoughts before moving forward with this. But, I have made it my goal to never forget this wonderful opportunity to serve God's children after my mission. We can be a great force for good in our communities. Everyone desires to serve but many "know not where to find it" (Doctrine and Covenants). All too often money is seen as the easy way to give service and then leave the service up to others to fulfill. We must take the initiative to serve throughout our life. Don't look to charities to do it for us. Service is what helps us learn and grow. Service is what produces love for our fellowman. Those who have served missions remember that they truly love the people with which they served. We can make each of our communities a mission field. All of God's children need our help. Our families as well need to be built from within. This way we will be strong enough to help others.
"But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye shall seek them with the intent to do good -- to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted." (Jacob 2:18-19)
After we have fortified ourselves properly through prayer, scripture study, church attendance, etc. we will be filled with a desire to share our joy with others.
"Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble." (Mosiah 28:3)
This is a verse describing the sons of Mosiah after their conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We too must take the initiative to apply what we learn. Do not just sit back and say this is great information for later. Allow the things you learn to be a catalyst for change today. As you do this I know that Heavenly Father will pour out blessings from heaven. I testify that God lives. I know that there are Prophets and Apostles on the earth today. Just seeing Elder Ballard before he spoke caused my heart to burn within me. I know that he is an Apostle of the Lord. I testify that Jesus is the Christ the Savior of the world. Only through faith, repentance, baptism by proper authority, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end are we able to take complete hold of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
This week we were not able to meet with Z.Y., but we were able to learn that he has started to read the Book of Mormon and has prayed to Heavenly Father. I am grateful for this blessing from the Lord. We will be teaching him about the importance of church attendance this week. Please pray that his heart will be softened and that he will be able to see the blessings that come from church attendance and desire them. I know that only through following the commandments of God are we able to receive the blessings He desires for us. Also, this week we were able to meet a man named D. He seems as though he really desires to learn and come to church, but you can tell there is something holding him back. We aren't sure what it is. Tonight we will be helping him get to know one of the members in the ward so that he will feel comfortable attending church activities. We know that he is new to the area and doesn't have many friends so it will be good for him to meet the members of the ward. I ask that you pray for us to be guided in knowing how best to help him. Also, pray that he will use his agency for good and allow his desire to learn the gospel to take control. I know that through prayers miracles happen. Just look at the miracles that have happened in Uncle Bob's life because of it. Those blessings were only made possible because of the great faith shown for his welfare. I bear you this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.