Monday, December 7, 2015

The Smokies! (and Weakness)

Hey folks!

We had a crazy busy week this week and I wish I had more time to tell you all about it. But I don't, because we had a pretty crazy P-day today. We went with a member in our ward up to the great smoky mountains, and it was awesome! But it also took up a lot of the day, which is why I'm short on time. I will try to send some pictures in the next few weeks. Even at this time of year when the leaves are all dead, it's a stunningly beautiful place.

We've been meeting with Sierra and Destiny, the two girls that are getting baptized this Saturday (Roger and Mayetta's grandkids), a lot this past week. The best preparation for them though seems to be coming to church and establishing relationships with the girls their age. And they feel the Spirit there. When they meet with us it's usually pretty crazy, they don't focus very well and they both have a little bit of a crush on us so teaching anything can be pretty hard. They could use your prayers, if that's okay.

We also have another investigator preparing for baptism! Glynn, Brissa's husband. Which is surprising, Brissa was the super legit investigator and he was a little shaky when we first started seeing them, but we haven't been able to see her much lately because of scheduling conflicts, and he's become pretty interested. He's scheduled for Jan 9 and he really seems to want to be baptized. He's studying the Book of Mormon a lot, which is awesome. And we're helping him learn to pray more, and more effectively, and learn to listen for answers. We taught him the Word of Wisdom on Saturday and he's willing to start trying to live it, he could use your prayers too.

Also. Mayetta has been struggling again with the Word of Wisdom. She could also use your prayers, while I'm at it.

Forgot to mention I talked in sacrament meeting last week. It went well. I talked about the Sacrament and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Had a cool experience tracting this week when we were waiting for an appointment. I felt like we needed to knock on a door, and nobody answered, and then I felt like we needed to try the house next door - and it wasn't a loud feeling, it was very subtle and I wasn't really sure about it but I figured, hey, why not - and we tried it, and the guy who answered was super open to talking to us. We shared a little message with him on his porch, and he told us how his faith in Christ has helped him through his father's passing away a few months ago. Our return appt with him is tomorrow, so hopefully he's there! We were pretty excited about all of that.

Played guitar at the ward Christmas party. And our investigator Joe came, which was great.

Message for the week!

While I was at church on Sunday, during the sacrament, I was feeling a little overwhelmed with all the responsibilities on my plate right now. And in the midst of all the craziness of the night before and that morning, I forgot it was fast Sunday. And I was feeling a little inadequate. But as I sat there I felt the Spirit comforting me. The feeling was sort of like "Your Father in Heaven knows you're not perfect, and He forgives you. It's time you forgave yourself."

Heavenly Father loves us so much. And He knows we're not perfect! That's nothing new to Him. As Elder Holland once put it, imperfect people are all He has ever had to work with. He sent and sacrificed His Son for us so that we can overcome our weakness and imperfection and sins, over process of time, and become like Him. In fact, He's the one who gave us our weaknesses. Ether 12:27 teaches us:

And 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.

We're not meant to be perfect in this life. And that's okay! We're meant to learn, and to grow. We've got to learn to humble ourselves, and trust in God, and exercise the faith to live day by day, asking daily for His help and moving forward even if we aren't sure how it will work out. And I can testify that He does fulfill His promise to "make weak things become strong." I'm definitely a weak thing. He makes sure to remind me of that whenever I forget it. But it's really neat to be in a lesson with somebody and feel the Spirit working through us to change their life - and be changed myself in the process.

Hope that makes sense. I'm super super tired right now... I love you all! Make yourselves a great week! And remember to share A Savior is Born!!

Elder Swindler

1) Sunset

2) Last district selfie (minus Elder Bateman)

3) Cops at a doughnut shop. The stereotype is real.

4) the greatest chocolate milk on the face of this planet. Seriously, y'all've gotta try this stuff.

5) Selfie with Ali who is leaving for the Redlands CA mission and her brother Preston

6-7) Do these guys look familiar? ;-)

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