Wednesday, 24 December 2014

He is the Gift

Watford Zone

Hutchins and the after shot of a woman who joined the gym behind this window, 
this was the best photo they could choose. 
I hope you find this photo as hilarious as i do.

Long time everyone, how are you doing?

The Watford zone is well under way in their Christmas festivities, as is the world wide missionary front through the new initiative 'He is the Gift'. I absolutely love Christmas time and spending it on a mission is a very special experience, different to home but spiritually I have felt closer to my family than ever before. The initiative is proving to be a great tool in getting people to open up about their feelings towards the Saviour. Even as a missionary, being sheltered from the media, from speaking to people daily i can see and feel the lack of emphasis on the true meaning of Christmas and the 'He is the Gift' video itself just resonates truth to me. 

This week I was on an exchange in Wembley with Elder Tonks, he has been out 4 months and is a very promising Elder. The exchange was just crammed with miracles and proved to be one of my favourite days on my mission. We started the day with zone training meeting; this is where the missionaries in the zone meet together and are trained by the zone leaders, we also set goals with the district leaders and have a tonne of fun in the process. It was my best zone meeting as a leader, we both felt really inspired and gave trainings on the doctrine of repentance both for our investigators but also how we can access the Atonement as missionaries. We have a recently called district leader in the zone who has undergone a great change, sparked by a call to leadership in which he has repented and changed his behaviour in the field and is now bringing about much success with his companion. Such a powerful story, that the Lord even permits change to those whom he has previously placed so much trust in, which trust they may have mistreated but now want to change and improve. In the exchange we found some great people to teach and I am convinced the Lord uses exchanges as an opportunity to increase the faith of missionaries, as so many things just go right! Now, in the evening around 7pm I got a phone call, I answered and it was Irene - I taught her in Maldon and tried so hard to get her baptised. Recently we had been in contact and I had been helping her with her scripture study habits. It's interesting, because even when you leave an area, you still pray and ponder about the people you taught there everyday. I had been thinking how great it would be to go back to Maldon at the end of my mission and help Irene make that great step. However, on the phone she expressed to me her great desire to be baptised that evening! She wanted to call and ask if i had been praying for her; I think she wanted me to confirm the spiritual confirmation she had received as she met with the missionaries that day, as they bore testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel, she felt an overwhelming spirit enter into her and she knew that she needed to be baptised. As she told me this, I could feel the tears gathering behind my eyes, but i quickly remembered that i was in a public place and was with a younger missionary so I had to hold them back! But, the feeling of peace I received at that point was something I will never forget. I knew that the Lord had not only hear my prayer but had orchestrated a situation in which so many peoples lives would be blessed by the Faith of another (Irene). Think about the powerful experience those missionaries in Maldon have had as they bore their testimonies, think about the personal conversion that has taken place in Irene and think of the young missionary on exchange with me who saw the excitement and joy I had received because of someone I had taught making their first covenant. He knows us perfectly. 

In other news I want to express my appreciation and awe for the irreplaceable power of a heartfelt, genuine, bone shuddering rebuke. When done properly and with the right motive, this can alter the course of an individuals life forever. I think the world is too short of this. Its like the once beautiful game of football, there is an art to slide tackling and that art is now fading because of the reaction of the individual on the receiving. Way back when my Granddad could run a mile, men would act like men and when they were challenged on a pitch they took it, got back up on their feet and went after the ball they had just lost. There was no rolling around, no hands on faces, no complaining to the ref, no appeal to the 4th official, they took the knock and learnt from it. Thus it is in our society today, the fall of man is in his inability to be accountable and take responsibility for the mistakes of his past. For me, there is nothing more noble than for a man to receive correction from another and receive that correction openly, in the hope of improving oneself and the integrity of his character. 'Sons, grow not weary of your Fathers correction, for whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth'. I have learnt on my mission, that sometimes you have to accept that you do not know everything and that you, like the diamond in the rough would do well to endure a little and at times a lot, of bone shuddering refining, in the form of a heartfelt, genuine rebuke. 

In absence of time I must finish!

I love the work in which I am so blessed to be a part of. 

I love you all,

Hugs and Handshakes,

Elder Nolan
Christmas performance at Hyde Park

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