We were pretty busy this p-day so I'll keep this short.
We had a pretty good week this week! We had an awesome zone conference that was really great for me, I've had a lot on my mind lately and literally every one of the trainings that was given addressed something I've been stressing about. President Griffin's was especially great. He gave a really powerful training on how we recognize the Spirit. It is unique to each one of us but we all feel it and we all receive guidance and encouragement from Him. We must learn to tune out the outer and the inner noise in our lives in order to hear it.
We had a fantastic lesson with a guy named Marvin who is easily the most golden investigator I have ever seen on my mission! He is looking for the truth and has so many desires that will be met by the restored gospel. Our bishop has known him for a few years and last week he felt prompted to ask Marvin if he would be willing to meet with us. Marvin prayed about it and felt that God wanted him to meet with us. The lesson went super well. He even asked if it would be okay if he read ahead in the Book of Mormon!
And Cameille and Camron are doing great! We met with them twice this week. They seem to be feeling good about being baptized, which is good because the plan is to do it this Saturday. We are finishing up final preparations now and it's exciting. I especially love seeing how happy their grandparents are. They waited and prayed for 15 years hoping their daughter would come back, and now she finally has come back, and the joy that has filled her life and the lives of her kids is beautiful to see. They are happy to see their daughter truly happy for the first time in years.
My message this week is from a talk given in sacrament meeting. The man who was speaking brought up the story of Peter who, when he saw his Master walking on the water late one night, called out to him, saying "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water." Jesus bade him to come, and miraculously, Peter came, walking a fair distance on top of the stormy waves. "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and [began] to sink..."
I think Peter's experience is common to many of us. For me, it seems I have times when my faith is strong, and, like Peter, at my Savior's bidding I am able to leap out of my figurative boat and walk a good distance upon the stormy waves of life on the strength of my own faith. But then as I look around, I begin to see the storm around me, and feel the wind blowing and the waves rocking. My faith falters and I begin to sink. I make some efforts to stay afloat, but compared to the storm, they suddenly seem so feeble. I wonder why I no longer seem to have the faith I once had, and I begin to slip into despair.
The adversary will try to convince us in these moments that we are at fault, and that therefore we are alone. He wants us to abandon ourselves to hopelessness. But we mustn't forget who called us from our boats in the first place. Like Peter, we can cry out, saying, "Lord, save me!" We can have faith that Jesus is there, as He has been the whole time, waiting with outstretched arm to help us in our efforts to come unto Him. Faith is not just getting out of the boat and walking on the water; it is also trusting that when we begin to sink, He is there and He will help us out of the stormy waves again.
Our faith is not yet perfect. It falters at times. But if we will exercise our faith in Him and reach out for His help, trusting that it will come, "immediately Jesus [will stretch] forth his hand, and [catch us], and [say] unto [us,] O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matt. 14:28-31)
I love the words of President Hinckley: "YOU HAVE NOT FAILED UNTIL YOU HAVE QUIT TRYING."
I love you all! Make yourselves a great week!
Elder Alex Swindler
1-2) Took a bit of a detour on the way home from zone conference because we were passing my old area in Knoxville. It was just long enough to take a picture of the front door of my old apartment.
3) Elder Frederick falls asleep in the car a lot...
4) See that huge green blanket that's overtaken an entire massive field and even a tree or two in the background? That's kudzu. It's a vine that grows about 12 inches per day and is eating huge chunks of the South. It boggles my mind that this stuff exists... It can take down entire forests. Also it looks kinda cool, which is mostly why we took this picture. Haha