How are you doing?
I am doing well; Whitby and I had a great week and we have seen so much progress in our area. Our Kuwaiti student friend had her baptismal interview on friday and she passed with flying colours. She is doing great and is preparing for baptism on saturday. We had interviews last week and after we taught her with President Jordan, I probably learnt more than she did! He really guided her and helped her to understand the passage we were reading. She had been struggling to understand the Book of Mormon but after that lesson she felt confident and excited to keep reading. Since then, most of our lessons have just been going through a verse or two, it really is the best way to teach someone.
We did the same thing we a Family we have been meeting with last night. The mother is a returning member and the children are on the verge of baptism. We talked about 2 Nephi 32 'Behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do', the Spirit poured into the room and we asked some great questions. We felt confident that we should extend a baptismal goal to the Father, who has previously never accepted one. We did it and he indeed accepted! The oldest daughter also accepted the same date, 24th May. All because we 'feasted upon the words of Christ' together. I love it.
So, this Sunday I was asked to give a talk and it went pretty well - I was the opener for the Bishop and then a member of the Stake Presidency. I really enjoyed preparing and giving this talk so I wanted to share it with you:
'When you are assigned to give a talk about yourself, almost instinctively your curiosity of how interesting others perceive you to be begins to cultivate thoughts in the mind and ultimately alters the way you feel about the answer to the question 'How long do I have to speak?' - Seemingly I have 8 minutes to interest you, so here goes.'
'Paul says, 'When I was a child I spake as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things', - I, like many other missionaries find this a difficult verse to 'liken' unto myself. When I was a child my Grandfather would rehearse unto me from his own mind a series of Bedtime stories. The central character being called 'Superman Toby', a young, Mancunian apprentice to Superman himself. He has been assigned stewardship over a small village to which he felt great allegiance and responsibility for. Frequently he would report to his Master and receive instruction, training and guidance on how to better fulfill his role. Daily he would meet and council with close members of his 'Gang', namely 'Isaac and Lucy', cousins of his and interestingly real-life cousins of mine also. They would gather with the rest of his gang in a tree house situated in the middle of an idyllic village green. Here, they would plan and organise their collective activities in the area - also never failing to report on the movements of Toby's arch enemies; The Three Boys. Names were never attributed to these detached teenage devils. They were always causing trouble and stifling the progress of Toby and his friends. Whether it be sabotaging service projects, playing unfairly in intergang sports matches, making a mockery of the good kids, stealing their bicycles and even pushing little unsuspecting girls into the deep end of the swimming baths. They were bad news, but somehow Toby's attitude towards them was never vengeful and from the way my Grandfather described their relationship it was apparent that Toby earnestly hoped for them to change.'
'During the year of hearing these brilliant stories I got to know Toby quite well; He was kind, honest, brave, a leader, he protected those weaker than himself, he was wise - as wise as a 10 year old boy could be, he somehow never gave up hope, never became discouraged and he always remembered who he was. My wonderful Mother would always, without fail say to me 'Remember who you are', it took a while for me to comprehend what she really meant.'
'I looked up to Superman Toby, he was everything I wanted to be. He served those around him, he lead them, taught them and many times carried them and it was all because of the love and respect he had for his Master. A missionary can come on a mission for many different reasons; it can be out of expectation, a sense of duty, a feeling of rightness or the result of a budding testimony. In a recent conversation with a friend we determined that the question asked should not be 'Why did you come out?' it has to be 'why did you stay?', or 'Why, despite how hard it has been do you still do what you do?. President Jordan said to us in a recent meeting ' Expectation to serve will only get you so far,a sense of duty will get you further, but Love will take you as far as you need to go'. Elder Dallin H . Oaks of the twelve said, 'The Greatest Missionaries, always act out of Love'. My Grandfather continuously taught me 'Don't just seek to do your best, seek to do what is required' - I was often left puzzled at this statement, but from my time as a missionary, serving in London North, Maldon, Norwich, Watford and now lovely Cambridge I have to understand better what he meant.'
'Perfect Love casteth out all fear' 'Again and again I have seen Love for the Saviour of the world, propel not just me but legions of Missionaries to serve and do more than they ever thought was possible. They chargedfar past their percievd best to fulfill what the Lord required of them. This is the miracle of the Mission. Christ taught 'Without me you can do nothing', therefor the opposite is also true - With me, you can do anything.'
'I know that my Grandfather was not teaching me how to be a Superhero, he was teaching me how to be a disciple and how to serve as a missionary. My Master is far greater than Superman, it's Jesus Christ. I love the words of Ammon, when he speak on behalf of many missionaries 'I know that I am nothing; as to my own strength I am weak, therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things.' I bear testimony that this is true, that He lives and that he is more closely involved in this work than we can ever comprehend. He has established His Church, He is my Saviour, My redeemer and our God. His love for us and our love for him will always enable us to serve to the capacity salvation requires of us.'
'There are some missionaries who come out for the 'wrong reasons', I invite you to stay for the right ones. If we got baptised into this Church for the wrong reasons, then stay for the right ones. If we accepted a calling for the wrong reasons, then now is the time to serve for the right ones. And even if we (missionaries worry about this) got married for the wrong reasons, then again, stay for the right ones. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, repentance is real and free to all. This Church has within in it some of the greatest people in the world who every day serve and do things beyond their mortal capacity. I know this to be true, In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.'
I love you all,
have a great week
Hugs and Handshakes,