I hope you had a great week. Mine was kind of mixed. We had a lot of appointments fall through so we didn't teach very many people this week. But I did get a package from home (thanks guys :-) ), and we had a good zone conference on Thursday, and we had a good lesson with Brad and Martha. We had dinner with the Reanos, and the Woods, and the Jennings. And today I got a guitar, finally. So it wasn't so bad. :)
We had a really good lesson with Ronnie. He's slowly progressing. He's actually reading a little bit from the Book of Mormon, he is less opposed to the idea of praying (we still haven't gotten him to do it yet, although he did "say" a silent one at the end of a lesson one time haha), and he's starting to ask some real good questions. I'm learning that the Book of Mormon is really powerful. One of his questions was about weakness - why God doesn't always take away our weaknesses when we pray and ask him to. We turned him to Ether 12:27, and he seemed like he really liked it. He read it like 3 times and sat there thinking about it for a bit. It was really cool, I've never seen him do that before, usually he's just kind of out of it. The Book of Mormon invites the Spirit, changes hearts, teaches truths simply, and is a powerful witness of the Savior. As Preach My Gospel puts it, "The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion." I'm starting to learn that for myself. :)
We've had a similar experience with Brad. As he's starting to read the BoM for himself, he's really beginning to open up. He still won't pray about it though, I think he's still a little afraid of the answer he'll get. But he's been reading on his own and he likes it so far.
We had another lesson with Bro Jennings' mom Patricia. She's very non-denominational Christian, which is both nice and frustrating. She doesn't have a problem with us and thinks we're a good church, but doesn't like the idea of there being only one true church. She committed to read from the BoM on her own this week though (we've read with her a few times but she still hasn't read much of it, if any, on her own) so hopefully that'll start to change things. Bro Jennings says he thinks she's feeling the Spirit, she's just too stubborn to admit it to herself, much less anyone else. (I can relate)
Things are going better with Austin again. There was some crazy drama with him, his parents, and the branch last Sunday and Monday (mostly his parents though) but it seems to be cooling off. We felt like we needed to visit them again yesterday and it went really well. They said they'll start coming back to Church next week. Which is great. :) Thank you all so much for your prayers!
Rockwood Branch became a ward yesterday! :) Everyone was really excited. They've been working and praying really hard for this for a long time. It's cool to see how the Lord works - they were praying for new families to move in, and they have. It was actually one of the new guys who was called as the new Bishop. The stake president was talking about how people often ask him how and when he decides to call a new bishop. He told us that it's not him that decides when or why or who, it's the Lord. This church is truly led by inspiration from God.
Story from this week: we shared a message with the Reanos (they're the family from Idaho with 9 kids) about faith, and challenged them to think of a problem or challenge they are facing and turn to the Lord about it. About 20 minutes after we left, Bro Reano gave us a call and told us that our message worked. He'd been thinking about their van, which he's been trying to fix since before I got here, and right after we left he thought to call a certain friend about it, who suggested he try looking at this one particular thing. He looked at the thing, and it was broken, and he fixed it in about 15 minutes. The van works fine now. It was crazy. It seems a little Southern Baptist to me to turn to Jesus to fix a car, but I guess if He can build the Earth He can fix a car. :)
My message for this week: I challenge you to make an effort to pray and study the scriptures every day, as individuals and as families. Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve taught "Family prayer should be a nonnegotiable priority in your daily life," and also "Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!"
For extra credit, I challenge each of you to study Richard G. Scott's "Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority" from the October 2014 General Conference (https://www.lds.org/general-
"Remember our Savior is the Prince of Peace. Peace in this mortal life comes from His atoning sacrifice. When we are consistently praying morning and night, studying our scriptures daily, having weekly family home evening, and attending the temple regularly, we are actively responding to His invitation to 'come unto Him.' The more we develop these habits, the more anxious is Satan to harm us but the less is his ability to do so. Through the use of these tools, we exercise our agency to accept the full gifts of His atoning sacrifice.
"I am not suggesting that all of life’s struggles will disappear as you do these things. We came to mortal life precisely to grow from trials and testing. Challenges help us become more like our Father in Heaven, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ makes it possible to endure those challenges. I testify that as we actively come unto Him, we can endure every temptation, every heartache, every challenge we face, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."