Thursday, February 28, 2013

Eternal Families, Scripture Study, and the power of investigators

Well can you believe it's day #30 of being on a mission already? I can't. And as of tomorrow we'll be in our departure month! I'm still so pumped to get reassigned somewhere. Also, I got the package this week! Thank you so much for all of the things I asked for! (especially all those pictures, which are tacked to my bulletin board above my desk now)

I never thought I would miss wearing long sleeve shirts so much, but something about wearing a suit with short sleeves on is unsatisfying.

Well just another fantastic week at the MTC. I just got back from doing sealings with my district. What an amazing opportunity to be sealed for TIME AND ALL ETERNITY! Wow. Can you even wrap your head around the concept of being with your best friend for eternity? I observed the happiest couple today during our sealing session (reminded me a lot of Jim & Roxy Beardall, but with an extra 70 years) and I just got thinking about how blessed we are to have such an amazing opportunity. Eternal families are so wonderful, and provide the perfect eternal learning environment! Of course eternal families are divine, but just take a minute, right now, in silence, to think about being with the individual members of your family for the next 20 years...50 years...100 yeas... 10,000 years... Go.

What an incredible blessing. I hope you really did take a minute of silence. If you didn't, this is your final prompting. (this includes all those who are reading this in groups of families, friends, quorums, etc.)

One thing that has been engraved in my mind this week is the power of the Spirit through silence. When all there is inside your head is your thoughts and the spirit, amazing things happen.

I've decided that before I get engaged, but while I'm holding back from popping the question, I'm going to read the BoM all the way through and study about the Endowment, Sealing Power, Marriage, Families, Relationships, and Parenting examples of the Savior. I've learned that studying the gospel aligns priorities to enable making the right decisions for the right reasons.

I realized that I haven't talked much about the investigators we have been teaching here at the MTC. Just a refresher from Elder Joseph Hicken: these are my teachers acting as an investigator they taught on their mission. Our first week or two we taught "Hermano Gabe O.", the father of an active member family who was never baptized or interested. After we set him up with a baptism date, we recieved two new 'referalls' and started teaching "Hermana Cristi B." and "Hermano Marco A.".  Both were members of unwed families (which are incredibly common in Suramerica) but both are "golden investigators" (which are also incredibly common) as was Hermano A. I think drinking from a fire hose might be a more common phrase among missionaries and investigators, but Hermano A. and Hermana B. are both more akin to filling a swimming pool in one of those sponge races we always played at youth conference. So willing and ready to change, while we can barely study enough to effectively teach everything they want to know!

Well I think there are a bunch of missionaries here from BYU as of yesterday, but I haven't been fortunate enough to run in to them yet. (since today is p-day and their first normal day...)

Our biggest problem as a district right now is going to bed after the lights get turned off. All of us have a love and respect for each other that translates into curiousity, which in turn leads to some late nights. (haha, the idea of a late night is so skewed on a mission. Don't worry, we aren't staying up until 5am.)

I've been sharing so many scriptures for so many different reasons with so many different people that it's hard to keep track, so if I've already expressed my love for Alma 17:2-3, you're in for a refresher. If you want to know how to make a missionary happy, study Alma 17:2-3. What an incredible reunion! If you have a missionary you want to be happy, just share with them about your scripture study, fasting, and prayer, and the resulting spirit of prophesy, revelation, and knowlege. And thanks to our new high tech system, you can even write them down and pay a small fee (stamp) to have it delivered right to them! How blessed are we! Just think of how elated Dan Jones would have been to receive a letter that had been written days, not months before (Dan Jones was an early missionary for the Church in Wales)!

The Lord is certainly hastening his work. Relief Society at the MTC now fills the entire gym. (Which also has stadium risers as of a few years ago now) The choir is limited acceptance, and getting close to half and half.

Well, Russel M Ballard spoke to us on Tuesday. That was pretty darn cool. Is there any way to watch (live or recorded) MTC devotionals in the real world? If so, they're great.

I want to emphasize the amazing blessing the Centennial Ward could be if we, the members of it, utilized it. We have an amazing opportunity to have the best ward in the church (with all due humility) however in my missionary opinion, we lack a very crucial part of the church what seems like every week! This crucial element of church, specifically sacrament meeting, is investigators! We don't have nearly enough people coming to church with us to see the wonderful blessing we quite possibly might be taking advantage of! Now I know this was a concern of dear Bishop Miller's, and with the power of that wonderful man, missionary work very well could be flourishing after me being away for only a month, but I want to emphasize the importance of not taking the blessing of our ward for granted. Bring friends to church! Especially fast and testimony meeting! It is your greatest and most wonderful tool for casually sharing the happy spirit that you have as part time missionaries and members of the Centennial Ward!

To young men and women, whether you have decided to be a full time missionary or remain a part time missionary: Love Preach my Gospel. Love it with your whole soul! If you're going to be a full time missionary you don't have any time in the MTC to get to know it, so you better be best friends well before you receive your letter from the Prophet. If you've decided a part time missionary job is best for you, then you have even less time to memorize the principals, doctrines, and methods within Preach my Gospel, because you are already on your part time mission! No MTC for you! Study up! If you think you know everything you need to know, you have got a lot to learn, so study up!

To all those who skipped over the last paragraph because it started with "to the young men and women", Noah lived to be over 700. Go back and read it. You're young in the Lord's eyes.

I love all of you, and my only hope is to bring to your attention the grand potential with which you have been endowed. You have chosen through coming to Earth to take your opportunities into your own hands. "Don't wait for a special occasion. Every day of your life is a special occasion!" -President Monson

Thanks for all of the wonderful support! Pictures later today hopefully!

Elder Hicken

p.s. Shout out to Bianca McDown and family: Elder Lehman is awesome and I'm so happy for the whole lot of you on a daily basis. May God bless that we can meet someday.

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