Saturday, January 18, 2014

Family / Fathers / Mothers

Another week flies by at the speed of light, filled with lessons, house renting, stress, joy, and missionary life. This week, on Monday, I was informed about another seven houses I needed to rent, preferably by the end of the week. I was on the phone nonstop talking to rental agencies, landlords, missionaries, and lawyers while running after these fifteen houses. Makes life interesting. Life is certainly never dull as financial secretary. But we still left every day by 6:00pm in order to teach our investigators, at least two of which are being baptized today! We're still praying to have all four of the family members be baptized today, as they're all ready. But I'll get to that.

1) Family- This week I learned a lot about the importance of the family. Our recent success has definitely been due to teaching entire families, accompanied by member families. This gospel is centered around the family unit: its eternal potential along with its importance in this life. The family dynamic makes lessons far more interesting, and the experiences that a family has in learning together are irreplaceable. Seeing an investigator father teach his young daughter how to pray correctly...experiences like that make my mission. The family that will be baptized today received many visits from member families, who joined together to support and welcome these newcomers to the fold of God. Members are marvelous.

2) Father- Continuing on this theme, I learned a little this week about the role of a father. I learned from our investigator, our Heavenly Father, and my own earthly father. Our investigator is a very humble man who strives to provide for his family and teach them to do the right things. He has taught me about the importance of feeling the Spirit, being an example, and doing what's right against all persecution. We had a powerful conversation yesterday while his wife and daughter were being interviewed for baptism. He opened up to me, explaining that his neighbors criticize him for "leaving the Christian church", mock him for being a Jehovah's Witness, and some have even said he's following the devil. He says he wants to lead others to the truth, feels that it is his calling, but that no one wants to listen and he gets frustrated. But despite it all he has a testimony of the truth and is bringing his family to the truth, the most important people he knows. I also learned this week about the grand importance of having a solid, personal relationship with our Father in Heaven. The world teaches such confusing doctrine about His nature, and I have seen within another family of investigators their confusion over their relationship with Him. So we took a lesson with them to address the importance and nature of prayer. How we ought to converse with our Father. He loves us. And that relationship can be the most prized that we possess. How grateful I am to have a relationship with an earthly father that I can use as a guide to how I want to feel towards God. I realize that in today's world this blessing of proximity and love is not always present.

3) Mother- But the week would not be complete without some lessons learned about the divine calling and gift of motherhood. I saw this in the lives of our investigator, a member, and my own dear mother. Our investigator is a determined woman who works hard in a restaurant while simultaneously maintaining her relationship with her daughter. She is unbelievably converted to the gospel. As she told the AP in her interview: "you know when you're so excited for something you feel nervous, and it feels like the day never arrives? I can't believe tomorrow is finally the day." I have never seen someone so fully committed to baptism and giving her heart to the Lord. And she is a strong example for her daughter, who mirrors that enthusiasm for her own baptism.  We visited them with a member family, and the mother of the family is an example to me. She held a party for her nine-year-old daughter in the church, and invited all of the guests to have personal tours of the chapel with her and the missionaries (us). She bore testimony to our investigators, and informed us afterwards that she would fast especially for them during the week, which she did. She reminds me of my own mother, who is one of the best member missionaries I know. Who truly recognizes what we have as members of Christ's church and isn't afraid to share it with those around her. How grateful I am for my own mother, the example and teachings she gave to me, the relationship we have, and the lessons in missionary work that made me who I am today.

The family is a miraculous thing, truly a divine organization. I have the opportunity to learn so much on the mission about how I hope to raise my own family. This week I have felt the hand of the Lord in my life, and cannot believe how much I have been blessed. We had ten investigators in church on Sunday, have baptisms scheduled the next two weeks, and hope to see a similar showing tomorrow. Hard work pays off. Prayer works. The Church is true. I have a Heavenly Father who loves me. And He loves all of you, too.

How could life get any better???

Much Love,
Elder Burt

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