I can hardly believe it's been another week. Things are going well for us! Here are some of the highlights from our week:
We found a neat new investigator named Grey on Monday while out tracting. We felt prompted to knock on his door even though it was after dark, and he came out and started talking with us. He told us that he's always been impressed with how persistent missionaries are. When he lived in Maryville, missionaries once trekked all the way up his huge steep driveway when it was covered in an inch of ice just to knock on his door. He talked to them just because he was impressed, and after that he said they wouldn't stop trying his door for over a year. This time around he actually seemed somewhat interested, especially in the idea of a modern prophet. He promised to read from the Book of Mormon. We'll see where things go with him.
Wednesday we did some tracting and went on splits with the priests in the evening. We were actually able to see a couple less actives with the priests so that was good. One of them is this really sweet old guy named Bill, who used to be a coal miner. He's one of the old faithfuls of the ward here, but his health keeps him from church. He loves visits from anyone, he's really lonely after his wife passed away. I visited him with a really cool priest named Wiley. We're trying to sneakily convince Wiley to serve a mission haha.
Thursday was awesome! We had three lessons that day. The first was with a teacher at the high school named Will who we found tracting last week. Since meeting him last week, he told us he has read some of the Book of Mormon and had even looked up the BYU channel on TV and watched some program that compared a chapter in the BoM to a chapter in Malachi. He is impressed with the Book so far and we had a great first lesson. We're pretty excited for him. He has a lot of potential. He doesn't know he's searching for the gospel but he totally is.
The second was with Camille, Cameron, and Crystal, the part member family that's on date for baptism. We've been struggling to find out what, if any, 15-year-old Camille's concerns are. She's really shy and doesn't give us much to go on. But this time when we asked about how she's feeling about her baptismal date in two weeks, she actually gave us a timid nod, which is more than we usually get! So that's good. We're excited for them. Please keep them in your prayers, that they can be ready by the 24th!
And that evening we had an appointment with Michael, a less active member. Our last visit didn't go so well, we got hung up on his concern about the degrees of glory. But this time went muuuch better. It was cool, the lesson went a totally different direction than we had planned but ended up being exactly what he needed. Definitely was led by the Spirit. He admitted to us that this all basically comes down to whether he believes the Book of Mormon to be the word of God or not, and that though he has been praying about it, he hasn't been putting in the effort to study. As James wrote, faith without works is dead, being alone. So he promised to start reading a chapter of the BoM a day, and we promised to read right along with him and come back and discuss together. Big progress from last time!
My message for the week is from something that struck me at church this week and also from 1 Nephi 10. In this chapter, Nephi relates some of the words of his father Lehi as he prophecies concerning the coming of a Messiah. Then he says this:
17 And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.
18 For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.
19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.
As Nephi learned about the Savior from the words of his father, he felt a desire begin to grow inside of him, a desire to come to know this Savior for himself. I think this is common to all of us: as we hear about the Savior, who He is, and what He has done for us and can do for us, and as we hear the testimonies of others, we begin to feel a desire to know these things - and to know the Savior - for ourselves. Nephi teaches us an important lesson here. No matter who we are or when we live or whatever our circumstances - no matter what - we can all come to know the Savior and have a testimony for ourselves. Even if we already believe and have a testimony, we can have a stronger one. The way is simple: repent, and come unto Him. Seek Him diligently and you will find Him. The way to come to know the Savior is to make use of His Atonement: to turn to Him and work diligently with Him to be healed and changed by His grace. It is then that we will come to know Him personally and have an unshakeable testimony of His divinity and Atonement and love. If we will seek Him diligently, repent and come unto Him, and follow His Spirit, we can and will come to know Him for ourselves.
Wherever you personally are in your relationship with the Savior, please take time to strengthen that relationship. Make a more full and deep use of the healing and changing power of His Atonement. I promise you your life will change for the better and you will have greater happiness and peace.
I love you all! Make yourselves a great week!
Elder Alex Swindler
1) Elder Frederick and I
2) District pic. From left to right, Elders Nelson, Merrill, Nelson, Bateman, me, Frederick
3-4) Double chin selfies