Monday, November 14, 2016

Belief is a Choice

Hey folks!

Our week was pretty good. It had some ups and downs. Probably one of the coolest ups was finding a less active member named Rebecca. Not sure if I already told you about us helping her move in last week or the week before, but her dad (who is a member in Cherokee, NC) called us and asked if we could help him move some furniture into his daughter's house. So we did, and afterwards we left a note with our number that said if she ever needs help with anything, give us a call. Well, we didn't really think she'd ever call us... But then this week, out of the blue, she did! So we went out and helped her with some things for a couple hours and she wants us to come back. It was a neat little experience, finding her.

We also found a new investigator named Steven who likes to talk, a lot. He's actually a former investigator whose name we found and decided to try, and he wants us to come back. Hopefully we can get a word in edgewise and teach him a little, because he seems like he has some real potential.

We had an interesting experience this week with finding a part-member family. We found the names of a couple youth-aged members who weren't active and decided to try them, and the lady who answered let us right in and was super friendly. The family clearly knew who we were and liked us too (which, like, never happens). Turns out they used to be super active but then the  mom (after a series of events and other things in her life) decided to have her name removed from the records of the Church. We called her later to set up an appointment and ended up talking for a long time about why she made that decision. And ever since then it's had me thinking.

My message this week is brief, and it is inspired by this experience. It is that belief is a choice. I could have argued with this woman at length and made a good stand. I probably could have "proved" my point, and done it quite eloquently. She certainly could have "proved" hers as well. And it would have gotten us nowhere.

The gospel is not something that can be proved or disproved by debate, or logic, or study, or facts. While those are useful tools and can indeed support the truth of the gospel, they alone cannot prove it.

God has designed our mortal experience to give us opportunity to choose for ourselves. We cannot learn or grow in this life without making a choice. And belief is one of those choices. I can choose to listen to the Lord, try the fruit, taste that it is good, and then act on that knowledge. Or I can choose to taste of the fruit and then listen to the voices of the great and spacious building and wander away. Or I can choose not to taste the fruit at all. But I must make a choice. Facts and figures and study will not prove its goodness to me, nor will it cause me to stay by the tree. Only tasting the fruit will tell me of its goodness, and only my own freedom to choose will keep me by the tree. I can choose to find reasons to stay, or I can choose to find reasons to leave. But I must choose.

I hope that makes sense. The gospel is true. I know it. And I also choose to believe it. I hope you will all do the same.

Elder Alex Swindler

Pics and stuff:

We were at a really pretty dam! So I took some dam pictures! Also a district picture with the zone leaders.

More stuff:
1) I burn some pants (to celebrate 18 months of missionary-ing)

2) Potato baseball

3) I can't jump over fences, apparently

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