We had a pretty great week this week! It went really fast though, I can't believe it's already Monday. Let's see if I can remember any of it.
I will give you some highlights and we'll go from there. Hopefully this doesn't end up a mile long like it somehow always seems to do.
On Wednesday we had a really good lesson with a less active named Jacque (pronounced "Jake"). He has a lot of worries about what has been going on in current events and how it will affect his family. We talked about Lehi's dream and what it means to "hold fast" to the iron rod. It really struck him and was definitely inspired by the Spirit. We were also inspired to talk about weaknesses and how they actually come from God, and the reasons He doesn't just take them away when we ask. They are for our benefit and when we choose to humble ourselves and exercise faith in Him, He responds with help and strength and makes us better instead of just taking them away.
On Thursday we had a great lesson with Andrea and Justin (Justin is the one who's father just passed and they are both asking a lot of questions). It was super long but they are genuinely interested and really seemed to like a lot of what we taught.
On Friday we had several cool experiences following promptings. We resolved in studies that morning to talk to as many people as we could, and also to follow everything that felt like it might be a prompting. We ended up talking to quite a few cool people and also finding several of our hard-to-contact investigators just as they pulled in the driveway. Probably the coolest experience, though, was when we went to contact a potential investigator named Johnny. I'll give you some background first though. So back home, Elder Frederick was in the temple one day, and one of the old guys who was there that day asked where he was going on a mission. Elder F told him TN, and the guy said he had a referral for him - his member grandson named Travis who wasn't coming to church. The grandson lived in a town called Oak Ridge. Well, sure enough, Elder Frederick gets sent to Oak Ridge his very first area. So we check the ward roster and can't find Travis's info anywhere.
Well, we go to knock on Johnny's door, and he isn't home. But we both feel prompted to knock on the next door neighbor's door, even though we've tried it before. This time though, someone was home. When we introduced ourselves, she told us "Oh, we're Mormons! Well, at least my husband and kids are." We asked her husband's name, and guess who it was? Yup, the same Travis that Elder Frederick was asked to visit. Crazy right??
The last highlight from our week is also my message. On Wednesday we went to the New Missionary Orientation meeting with President Griffin and all the new missionaries and trainers. It was really great. Some of the things that stood out to me were when President Griffin talked to the Elders about how we are preparing to become fathers. God has put in me a desire to be a father, and He has done so for a great purpose. Ultimately this desire can help and enable me to become like Him. He also talked about how my life from this point on is no longer about me. As a priesthood holder, my purpose for the rest of my life is the missionary purpose (to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end"). Right now, that purpose is for investigators, and it will also be for those I serve in my Church callings throughout my life. But not too long in the future, that purpose will be most of all for my family. Everything I do now and for the rest of my life is and must be for my family, both current and future. As I learn to serve God and work to improve myself now, as I get an education in the future, as I work in a job, as I serve in church callings... Everything I do is to help, and to support, and to serve, and to strengthen, and to show an example for my family. That is where true happiness is - selflessness. If we want the eternal happiness God enjoys, we must learn to live as He does, losing ourselves in the service of others. We must make our purpose His purpose. His happiness and joy is beyond our comprehension, and His whole purpose is utterly selfless: "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of [His children]."
So that's my challenge to you. Don't let the little details of life distract you from the grander purpose of our lives. Yes, we all have struggles and challenges, and we mustn't neglect to take care of ourselves. But if we want to live like God does and enjoy the happiness He enjoys, everything we do - even taking care of ourselves - must be for the higher purpose of serving and blessing others, first and foremost our families. Make the missionary purpose - His purpose - your purpose.
I love you all! Make yourselves a great week!
1) Sunsets here are super pretty
2) Lots of geese!
3) Gotta protect mah wheels, bruh! (Yes, that is a jazzy chair next to the bike)
4) Another sunset
5) Post-haircut selfie
6-7) More selfies
Video) Fun with ice water