Monday, December 28, 2015

Goodbye 2015

Hey folks!

I hope you all had a great Christmas! I know I did. We had our Christmas zone conference and played dodgeball and watched Big Hero 6. We also got to Skype our families, which was my favorite part of Christmas. We also ate a lot of food.

Had a lesson this week with an older lady named Anna. She's been meeting with missionaries for about 3 years. She's really sweet but also very stubborn. She has been taught basically everything, and she reads the Book of Mormon but she doesn't want to pray about it, I think because she knows what the answer will be and she's not ready to change yet. She's been going to the same church for like 50 years so it's hard for her. But I'm convinced deep down she believes it's true, and that the best way for us to help her will be to keep from making her feel pushed and help her come to the point where she desires for herself to change. Tricky task though. Prayers would be appreciated. She's our main investigator, even the mission president knows her and asks about her a lot. She's so close...

Also met with a less-active old guy named Ricky. He joined the Church about 10 years ago and doesn't remember much of anything about what he was taught. I had a cool experience in our first lesson with him (we saw him twice), I was having a really hard time focusing and listening to him because the TV was on right next to him (this was before we asked him to turn it off), and so I really wasn't into it, and I think Elder Hoff was struggling too, but there was a point for me where the Spirit just sort of took over. I don't even remember what I said but the Spirit must have spoken through me because whatever it was it got him talking about how he doesn't believe that there are prophets today, but he would like to and it would mean a lot to him if he did know. Long story short we taught him part of the Restoration and helped him understand that if he comes to know through prayer that the Book of Mormon is true, he will also know that there are prophets living today. His eyesight is really really bad, so we're coming over now once or twice a week to read the Book of Mormon to him. The first time was this week, and it was neat. We talked about how to recognize the Spirit, and after we read 1 Ne 1 he told us it "rang true" to him. He prayed about it at the end. I'm pretty excited about him. :)

Message for the week:

I had a moment last night when I was flipping through old journal entries from the beginning of my mission, and something I wrote stood out to me. I'd written that I felt like I was struggling with really listening to and loving the people I was teaching. Just a few hours before that, I'd read a note from one of my last companions, who told me that two things he admired in me were my ability to listen to and to love the people we taught. It was a testimony to me of how much the Lord has helped me to grow.

I know I probably share this verse a lot, but in Ether 12 Moroni teaches us a powerful lesson about weakness and faith. Moroni writes first that "faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Moroni then goes on to relate an exchange he had with the Lord where he disputes the Lord's promise to bring forth the record Moroni was abridging to the remnant of his people in the last days through the Gentiles, believing that the Gentiles would mock their writings because of their weakness in writing. The Lord responds, "...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."

Comforted, Moroni chose to exercise faith to trust in the Lord's promises and rely on His grace. Knowing his weaknesses, he humbly trusted the Lord's ability to "make weak things become strong" and acted, believing in the Lord's promises, though they were "things hoped for and not seen." And now today, because of the humble faith of many weak people in the Lord's promises and grace, including Moroni and also Joseph Smith, we have the Book of Mormon, a powerful witness of Jesus Christ and a powerful force for change in each of our lives.

And for me, as I have humbly trusted in the Lord and tried my best to do HIs work, He has made my weaknesses into strengths. :)

I invite all of you to consider your own weaknesses, and also the things the Lord would have you do. I invite all of you to turn to Him, take His arm, trust Him, and face the future with faith and hope. He knows what He's doing and He will lead you to greater and higher places than you ever dreamed you'd achieve. I promise. :) In the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

I love you all. Happy New Year. :)

Elder Swindler

So much about the South can be summed up by this picture:

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