Guess what? I'm short on time again! Surprise! Haha I'll try to keep this short. But knowing me, it'll probably end up long somehow anyway.
We had a pretty okay week this week. We did a lot of trying to contact people and knocking on doors, which usually isn't very effective, but the weather has been mostly nice so it was actually not too bad.
Highlights from this week:
We had dinner with a member family and they had their less active son David and his nonmember girlfriend Kristin over as well (per Kristin's request, actually). David wants to get back into church and Kristin, who doesn't have much religious background at all, is really reaching out to God right now and wants to be taught by us. We had an awesome lesson with them about who God is and His role in our lives, and why we're here. Both of them, but especially Kristin, were just lapping it up. And they came to church on Sunday! And on top of that we have a return appointment for this week. We're pretty excited about that. Although Kristin may live on the other Elder's side of the ward so we might have to pass her off. :P
We also met a neat less active couple named Laura and Timothy! We were out contacting people we had in our records and we knocked on their door and they let us in. They've recently moved to the area after both of them losing their jobs, and they have been struggling to recover both temporally and spiritually. Laura in particular said she has been struggling in her faith. We had a good simple lesson with them and committed them to pray together as a couple every night. We've got a return appointment with them too. :)
Anna watched women's conference with us! It was a really good conference and she said she liked it. Beforehand she had us help cook dinner (I made asparagus and more Nutella bars - thanks Mom!) and then we ate a TON of food. Every time our plates cleared a little she shoveled more on them. Haha typical Anna though. I thought I was gonna pop by the end.
And at church, we had Kristin and David come, and also a less active member named Melanie and her non member boyfriend Eric. Melanie's father passed away (I think I mentioned that last week or the week before?) and that led to her deciding she wants to come back to church. Now her and her boyfriend want to meet with us and take the discussions. So that's cool too. The work is definitely picking up here. Thank you all for your prayers!
In closing, I'd like to share our mission president's email to us this week (sorry this email is long - it's worth reading though, I promise!). He was revisiting a topic he gave a training on at our zone conference this week that was really pretty amazing. He talked about the difference between sin and weakness, and how weakness comes from God and is an intended part of our mortal experience. We need not feel guilt over our weaknesses. As we come unto Christ He actually shows us the weaknesses he has given us (so seeing how weak we are is really a sign of our progression), and if we will humble ourselves and exercise faith in Him, He will help us become strong. He may not (probably won't) take away our weaknesses, but He will help us learn to use them as strengths and improve gradually over time. Anyway. Enough rambling. Here's President Griffin's email:
> Dear Elders and Sisters,
> I wanted to thank you for a incredible experience at each of our
ZC's. The Spirit was present. I could feel and see Him working in each
of you. I pray that you will remember what it was you felt and thought.
Even more importantly, I hope you will choose to act upon that witness.
> Below please find a few of my notes that I want you to remember
from our training. These are not all my own, but thoughts, words and
scripture I have compiled.
> Sin is not the only expression of human failure, however. Human
weakness is also responsible. Weakness, inherent in the mortal
condition, includes limitations on endurance, judgment, wisdom, energy,
skill, resilience, or physical capacity. Weakness includes
susceptibility to disease, emotional disorders, temptations, addictions,
and death. Such human emotions as anger, worry, fear, sadness, and
pleasure are also inherently weak when untutored.
> Weakness can lead to sin, but weakness in itself is not sin. In
fact, God is the author of human weakness, while Satan is the author of
sin. We are weak by design, as part of the mortal experience. God is
patient and tolerant with human weakness, yet He cannot look upon sin
with the least degree of allowance.
> In the book of Ether, the Lord gives a succinct explanation of how
we can receive strength from the Lord for our weaknesses. He says:
> An 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. (Ether 12:27)
> Once we respond
to our weakness with humility, God offers us His grace. Just as charity
is a special work for Christ’s love for us—love we cannot fully
understand without spiritual help—grace is a special word for God’s
particular brand of goodness to us, also beyond our full understanding.
> In the same way the God offers forgiveness to the penitent sinner,
He offers grace to the weak but humble. Forgiveness is akin to
cleansing, freeing, or canceling a debt, while grace refers to divine help or strength.
> I pray for and love you always, President Griffin
> HIS WORK.....................HIS WAY.........................BY HIS POWER
I love you guys! The Gospel's true! Make yourselves a great week! Happy Easter!
Elder Alex Swindler
1) Spring in the Appalachians
2) Selfie with my friend Elder Shaw who'll be going home this transfer
4) Easter tie selfie with Elder Lambert
5) Why are you advertising that your people are messy?
6) The sisters left this selfie on my iPad when I left the room