Hello once again! I hope this new month has been treating you well thus far. If not, make it good :)
This week was a great week for us here in Grand Island. A lot of good things are happening and I feel like I have learned a lot this past week. Earlier this week we had a meeting in Omaha and the topics of the meeting were: The Spirit, Book of Mormon, and Keeping a Journal. The Spirit was really strong there. Then, yesterday we had Stake Conference and they talked about a few of the same things, but mainly the temple and the Book of Mormon. One of the committments they extended to us in both of these meetings was to focus more on the temple and read from the Book of Mormon each day. It seems like the bad in the world is getting worse and worse, but the good is getting better and better. The temple and the Book of Mormon are two key things that will definitely help us personally to become better and better. This past week I learned a lot from the Book of Mormon and it has been hard to put it down and end the hour of study time. I didn't think before my mission that 3 hours of study time wouldn't be enough. haha I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon and I know that it increases our faith as we read it. And then when we apply what we learn, the Spirit changes our hearts. I am going to continue studying the Book of Mormon, and I want to invite each of you to do the same. I know that you will find greater peace in your life as you do it and that as you sacrifice just even a little time each day to read in it, then your day will go so much better. I know that the Book of Mormon answers the questions of the soul and that we will feel God's love in greater abundance as we do it, and our relationship with him will grow.
Then, when I learned about keeping a journal, it hit me that I need to do better at that. God gives us many blessings each day, and it's easy to forget them when trials come our way. That's why we have church each Sunday and why we pray at mealtimes...to remember our Heavenly Father. I have felt God's love greater in my life when I have kept a journal and recorded the blessings he gave me. And as I review these journal entries later, my faith is even more strengthened. So I invite you to keep a record of your blessings each day as well so you can REMEMBER God's tender mercies in your life when times get hard. And I commit myself to doing the same, because if I don't, then I am a hypocrite. I have hard times and I know there are hard trials that will come into my life in the future, so I want to do these things now so that I will be prepared. And I hope that when those trials come that I will be as prepared as I need to be.
I had another experience this week that reminded me of the blessings that come from focusing on the fundamentals. On Saturday we went to the church and played basketball with members in our branch. Before beginning the games, I warmed up differently that I usually do. I decided to put into practice some of the drills I was taught when I played Jr High basketball. After doing so, I just felt so good...my shot felt smoother than ever and I was making more of my shots than I usually do. I realized that it's because I did those fundamental drills before playing the game that make me play better.
As for a new investigator we met this week, we had a great experience. This investigator is a friend of a member in our branch. This member did a team-up with us and we visited with this young woman for the first time. The member told us beforehand that she wanted to learn about the Plan of Salvation so we went planning on teaching that lesson. As we started teaching about God's love that He has for each of His children, she just started crying and said: "But I don't feel like He can forgive me because of all of my manys sins. I don't think He would still love me after everything I have done. But if there is a way for me to live in Heaven again, how do I get there?" When we heard this, my heart just filled with gratitude to know that we do have a Heavenly Father that loves us and wants to live with us again. And He has provided the way for us to get there, and we belong to the one and only true church that has the authority to do it. We then taught about Jesus Christ and His Gospel. We mentioned how through faith, repentance, and baptism, she can receive a remission of all her sins. She agreed to be baptized and said she wants to do it on April 21st...my birthday! I can't think of any greater birthday present than to see someone enter a covenant to come closer to Christ. I hope that she continues to progress, and that through her faith, she can be forgiven of all her sins and possibly be ready to enter a covenant on that day.
I know this church is true and God loves us. I hope you all have a great week.