Well, hello there everyone!
Transfer four has officially started up!
It was very hard to say bye to Elder Andrus, after being with each other 24/7 for 4 1/2 months--you basically become brothers, but I'm sure he will do great in his next area - Potstown. As for me, my new companion is named Elder Lake. He has been out for about a year and two months. One could say we do not share the same interests - Actually complete opposites one could say... Anyways, it's been interesting serving with him and as my brother told me in his last email to me, "You will have growing pains here and there."
My companion, not knowing the area, the week was somewhat "on me" he told me. We had one of our best weeks (number wise) but I must say, falling asleep in your church clothes after nightly planning feels great. Really nothing too crazy took place this week. It was very busy. We were able to get five really great new investigators. They are all awesome and a few of them came to church on Sunday and absolutely loved it.
Hmmm, I guess this week I just wanted to discuss some of my studies with you. For the most part, I have been reading a lot of conference talks, teachings of presidents (of the church) and of course in the standard works, mostly in the Bible (New Testament). They all come together though and I'll try to make it apply to each and every one of your lives.
My studies this week were mostly on how to become an example to others to the point where they want to follow you. I have found in the mission and in life that there are just soooo many people that whenever they obtain some type of leadership position or stewardship over anyone to any degree, they exercise it with unrighteous dominion. I started reading in Matthew 5:14-16 which reads as follows 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Then I picked up and started reading in the Book of Mormon in the book of Alma 39:11 11. Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing; suffer not the devil to lead away your heart again after those wicked harlots. Behold, O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words. It is pretty clear that in order for anyone to listen to you or even want to follow you or be like you - you have to set that example, that correct example. It's important because if your conduct isn't up to the standard the Lord wants it to be, it drives others away from doing good deeds and leads them to do things that aren't necessarily good or appropriate.
I read from a conference talk which was entitled, "Choose the Light," the light of course is Jesus Christ described in John 8:12 which reads : 12 ¶Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The talk goes onto describe how we all go through very rough dark times of our lives. We all have our own personal "low" where everything we know, every truth we hold on to eventually withers away in times of hardship. We have all felt this way. Elder Vern P. Stanfill who gives this talk gives an analogy of how he and some friends went bicycling and they were going to go through a very long dark tunnel, so they equipped themselves with flashlights - however, once into the tunnel, their flashlights seemed to not produce enough light to guide them through their "dark time." This obviously relates to how if we don't rely on Him, our Savior, and have faith in Him, then when go through our lives and something goes wrong, we will be lost and confused. The people in the tunnel in turn had one flashlight that proved sufficient and they relied on that person's flashlight, but it was only before so long that his flashlight would run out as well - this is like how we may run to our family our friends etc. when we need help, but unfortunately there will be times when maybe even they won't be there, they won't know or understand - the only person who does understand who can help is the person who has gone through every pain and sorrow imaginable - Christ.
I read in Luke 22:32 about the responsibility we all hold to strengthen our peers: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. What does it mean to "strengthen our brethren" though? And how does one do that?
In my opinion, it's to uplift, inspire, motivate them, bring them to
become better, better people. It's interesting though because it's so easy to say but so much harder to be done. It's done through having charity, charity is the PURE LOVE OF CHRIST - to be able to look at someone after they have wronged you, hurt you, done this and that to you or to someone and STILL love them, still want to serve them. To close, I am just going to copy and paste one of my favorite chapters of scripture -- 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never afaileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. I don't really have that many pictures this week, I apologize, but I love you all and pray for each and everyone of you - I hope you can all understand and learn what things you need to do in your life to be more of an example. We all have been given talents, use them wisely. God bless.