We had a half mission conference on Monday with Elder Nielsen of the 70, so our prep day got moved to today. Which is why I'm emailing a couple days late. And we had an extra crazy p day, which is why I'm emailing so late in the day and why this will probably be pretty short.
This week we worked really hard to find people to teach. And we actually had some good success! One of my favorite parts was finding a part member family at a church social (the Bishop introduced us) who are awesome, and want us to come and meet with them. We are helping them move tomorrow. Another favorite part was going tracting in Carthage, TN on Sunday. We had been fasting and praying for people to teach, and we knocked on one door, and the guy who answered was nice but uninterested. But he said we might want to try the people across the street. So we did, and a young newlywed couple popped right out. They watched the Light the World video and then stood in the freezing cold for like 5-10 minutes and talked to us. And they asked us to come back next week, and then told us they wanted to give us something for our church because of how impressed they were with us, and then before we realized what they were doing, they handed us a $100 bill and shut the door. So we went home with our mouths dragging on the ground. Haha that doesn't happen in real life. We'll give the money to the ward this weekend.
My message this week is something I learned at the half mission conference. There is so much I learned there, especially that God answers my prayers and the Holy Ghost is real, because I got a lot of answers there to things I've been struggling with. But one of my favorites is the concept that was shared by Elder Bednar a couple conferences ago: our burdens and loads are really blessings from our loving Heavenly Father. He used an analogy of a friend who got his truck stuck in snow, and it wasn't until he had filled the back with the wood he had come to chop down that he was able to get the traction he needed to get out. We are the same way. Happiness is not necessarily the absence of a burden. Oftentimes we pray for our burdens to be removed from us, but that is often counterproductive to our Heavenly Father's purposes. Much of the time, it would be more appropriate for us to pray for the strength to change our own circumstances. It is in changing our own circumstances and bearing our own burdens alongside the Savior that we are able to change and grow. He desires to help us and to bear our burdens with us, and He will give us strength beyond our own through the enabling power of His Atonement. We access that strength by accepting His will and becoming as a child (see Mosiah 3:19). I have been struggling lately because it can feel like our efforts have been getting us nowhere, especially our efforts to find people to teach who will progress. But this has got me thinking about how I can use this burden to get traction, so to speak, and what God wants me to learn from this experience. What burdens are you carrying that you could reexamine? How are you approaching the Lord about the burdens He has given you?
I love you all! Make yourselves a great week!
Elder Alex Swindler
Some Pics for Youns and Some Videos:
1) Just chillin in my shades
2) New Christmas sweater
3) Huge burger
4-6) District pics. Elder Cazier is "dying" (going home) this weekend.
7) Crazy Christmas lights
8) Found Elder Milne at the half mission conference! I haven't seen him in ages!
9-10) A lot of the reason for the crazy p day. Elder Lambert got permission and came up from his home in Nashville to spend the day with us. It was awesome. :) I miss that guy.
Video) We tried to scare Elder Urry but it didn't work very well
Other video) I breathed fire!!