Monday, April 2, 2012

A week of feeling the spirit


This was definitely a week of a lot of learning. More learning about myself and in the gospel. This week, as you already know, we had a conference and Elder Schenk's parents were there. It was really special and I really was grateful for that. They are some of the best people I have met and I was really touched by what they had to say and how much faith they have. Sister Schenk talked about her son a lot and some of the experiences he had. There was one experience that really made me think and really evaluate my own faith. I'll summarize what happened. Elder Schenk would always get really bad migranes before the mission and his mom was worried about him getting them on the mission. One day it was really bad, it was p-day too, and he was really feeling really sick and not able to do anything. So he thought about it and finally asked his companion to give him a blessing. He received that blessing and soon afterwards all the pain and all the sickness went away. But he started doubting a little bit and alllllll the pain came back. He wondered why that happened and he remembered the story of Peter. Peter started to walk on the water to Jesus why? Because he had faith. But the moement he had one doubt and one mistrust, he fell. It didn't take much. But with this, I realized this is how I should not be in my mission. I shouldn't have one doubt. If I am keeping the commandments and the mission rules and giving one hundred percent, miracles from God WILL come, but we can not doubt them one bit. We can not doubt that one person can't be baptized. God knows who is prepared and who is not, we do not until we discover. But it is by faith that they are baptized and really believing that anything is possible. This reminds me too that as missionaries, we have to believe that our investigators will do the things we asked them too. If we really don't believe that they will, of course they won't. It's that simple. It doesn't matter who the person is, we have to believe that they can follow Christ and be baptized and follow him for the rest of their life. We must be surprised and hurt when this doesn't happen. Because if not, we will not give our all. But it all starts in faith.

Also, during the conference our President talked to us. It was very special. I realized that it was one of his last conferences like this until he leaves. It was sad, because I have learned more than I ever have with him. I really do love him, he's one of the greatest men I have met. He taught a lot, and I forgot my notes at the house. But he said something that was interesting. Someone had asked him about his success and how he got it. First off, He owns a company and so does his wife, so they are VERY well off haha. But anyways, he explained a lot of things that had helped him in his life and how after the mission he had spent one full day only studying his patriarchal blessing and all this. But he said the one thing that helped him out the most, the key to all success was: Choosing the right wife. I laughed at this but also realized how true it was. Not only success in this life but in the world to come. If we wish to have complete success in the world to come, all weighs on this. But in this world too, this is important. And it's weird to realize but really my mission is not only a time to help others come unto christ, but also a time for me to become the best I can so that I can be the best father and husband I can. Firstly, my duty is to the people. I must love them and I must give 100% to them and really understand them. But next, I need to develop my attributes and really become like Christ and learn how to really be a father. It was a very special conference and I felt the spirit so very strong. I think this is something I have learned the most: how to feel the spirit. The next part is how to seguir... follow, at times this is extremely difficult, but once again this is where faith comes in. Well, after learning TONS from that conference, we received letters and packages! I only got the package from Jessica, not from you guys, parents! I'm still waiting haha.

This week, I have been anaylizing where I stand on my attributes of Christ. I was examining some of them and I've come to a conclusion. For me, the absolute most important attribute that a missionary , or anyone, can and should have is virtue. This attribute is the most important because it is the attribute that determines if we are worthy to have the spirit and the authority and power to teach. Without this attribute, we lose our spirit and authority. Without this attribute, it is extremely hard, if not impossible to develop other attributes. I also was seeing how I stand on other attributes and I have noticed how the mission really puts you to the test to all of them. Lately I've been noticing how my patience has gotten way better. Still, there are a lot of times that I want to react a certain way but I really have to control my ways. But with companions, investigators, members you learn a LOT of patience. With investigators has been really difficult with me and I have been noticing how frustrated I get because I think I'm teaching it so simply but they aren't understanding. I have to remember a couple of things: 1. I have been in this church since born, so the ideas of the principles and doctrines make sense to me because I have lived with them my whole life. 2. Every single person will learn at a different level, but everyone can learn by the spirit and sometimes we may be teaching it clearly, but we aren't allowing the spirit to really testify. Also, something that phil wrote in a book he gave me is this: we need to teach the important things and ask them to pray if it's true. That's it. If they aren't understand, just say the important part of it and ask them to make a prayer about it. It's that simple. It requires faith on their part and on yours. You really have to believe that God will answer their prayers. But you also have to understand that they might receive an answer but they don't know what it is like. Our job is to help them understand that answer and show them how they can follow that answer. A lot of people will receive a manifastation of the spirit but will ignore it or not see it. 3. Some people simply refuse to learn or accept what you are saying. With all this I have learned something. Find those that understand and accept to listen. If not, you will just waste time. This was something hard for me in the beginning, because I did not want to give up on the people. The thing is we aren't giving up on them. We planted a seed, did what we could do and we now have to move on and finds those who are willing. We put their name away so that other missionaries can help them in the future. This is what I've learned about patience with investigators. I could go on, but I'm already writing a lot :P hahah.

Also, general conference was amazing! I loved it. Something I've noticed, because of my mission, the talks at gc make a lot of more sense now hahah. The thing is that they just say the simple truths but they really show you how it is true and how we can apply it in our lives. Elder Jeffery R. Holland gave a really good talk. His anaylsis of the parable was really good and it made me think about how this could happen in the mission somethings. As missionaries there is sometimes glory of being a leader or something similar. There should not be any of that. Some of the best missionaries I met on the missionaries were juniors. It just depends on your obedience and diligence. We should not want a position so bad that we speak badly of others that have that same postition. He said something interesting as well. We do not lose anything, when others gain something. So why have envy? There is no reason. There was a lot of amazing talks given and I really recomemend listening on the website again and reading when the magazine comes out. It was extremely good and I Learned a lot from the spirit. Also, I almost cried during that singing parts, because I thought of you mom and how you would be singing :P also, I thought that maybe you were crying when looking at all the missionaries singing called to serve :P hahah.

Sadly, a girl that we were planning on baptizing during conference, last minute cancelled.. Paloma is her name. She is a girl we found while doing a division the other week. She came up and talked to us on the street because she noticed and recognized my leader of zone. She had been an investigator old of theirs when she was living in their area. But before getting baptized she had moved to Jacareí (where I live) and now we found her and we have been trying to find her. But everytime we went to her house (by the way she lives like 45 minutes away, almost of the city limits) she wasn't there. So we almost gave up. But last friday we went again and this time I looked at the address and thought, "maybe it's an o and not a d" Yup... Sure enough she was home! hahaha. We had been going to the wrong apartment the whole time haha.  But we talked  to her and she remembers almost everything that was taught and the only thing that was missing was she wanted to really feel the spirit before getting bapitzed. I was so grateful for the opportunity we had to bring her to the conference because you can definitely trust in the Prophet haha. But I got sad when she couldn't come at the last minute. But that's okay, we will work with her this week, and I'm really hoping that she will get baptized this next sunday. I know it can happen and I know it will! :)

I was watching Other Side of Heaven today (yes, we can watch it, so if you want to send it sometime, that would be sweet :)), and there was something that I noticed. The way Elder Growberg was a missionary. How was he a missionary? Well, he gained their confindence first, loved them, and then helped them progress in the gospel. We can not just enter into someone's life and expect them to just grab a hold and accept right away. We have to love the people and give them a reason why they should be baptized. I really really want to work on this. Really having true love for the people. I think this is so important for the work to progress. I look at the people I have baptized and I say to myself sometimes. Do I really really love these people? I'm glad to say, yes I do, but still this needs to happen way sooner in the process too. Because it is easy to love after they have accepted and decided to be baptized.  But it's almost more important to love before the process begins.

Thank you very much mom for your big hug and thoughts. I really appreciated it :) Sorry! My companion is american and his name is Elder Jackson. He will be ending his mission the next transfer! haha.

Something else! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESS! You are one step closer to being 30! :P hahaha. Whoa, weird... hahah That means I'll be 20! Don't worry mom, I'll be getting cake here :P but it's not the same without dad's homemade cakes! oh well! Speaking of Jess, I laugh so hard everytime I read one of the story's that Gavin does haha. He is hilarious! hahah. Oh, remembered me! the other day I was walking and randomly I thought of the time that I had to take care of Gavin and I totally put on his diaper wrong, what an amazing miracle hahaha. but I just started laughing and I'm pretty sure my companion thought I was nuts haha :P

How was wicked? Wickedly amazing? Yeah I'm funny. Laugh! But I'm sure it was great, like the other millions of times ;P hahah just kidding! But I still want to see phantom of the opera please :) thanks!

Hey I have a question! At byu-i, do they have astronomy as a major? and can you play hockey only during the winter? Let me know! thanks! Say hi to phil and corinne for me and say congrats to Corinne! yay! how exiciting! :)

Can you get me Louiés address? that would be SWEET! Hey Sean and Alan shuld be coming home soon right? That's sweet and crazy fast!  I would like to leave a chapter with you guys Alma 32 and Alma... 34 I think. There's a part in there that talks about the word of god being a seed. At times, you wonder as a missionary why people don't feel something or stop believing. Well, there's an answer for that here. Sometimes the "seed" is good, but the people forget to nurish the seed with their faith. We must continue doing the basics like Dad said--Prayer, Scripture Study, FHE, keeping the commandments, all that. Why? Because it strengthens our faith and makes us ready for the test of our faith and helps our testimony grow!

Well I wrote demais... too much... so I think I will wrap this sucker up and call it goooooooooooood! Yes :) also, fun fact, I talked to the Schenks... I can not speak english well hahahah but writing is easy.** Anyways, bye family and others!

com amor,
Élder Grant Shaw Merrill!

**Well, we might argue the writing as well! Haha!

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