Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 28, 2013

Elder Low's report:

This week I've been reading a lot about Alma and Amulek, how they taught the people with testimony and converted many, and then had to bear with patience their affliction as they were rejected and imprisoned by the more wicked part of the people, before they were given power unto deliverance.

This week was repentance week for my companion and I as we have had a downwards spiral in the number of investigators and lessons taught.  We decided to do an overhaul, and figure out what we had done wrong, and what we needed to do to show forth success in our efforts this week.
We decided that among the many problems was a serious lack of faith in the Lord being able and willing to provide for us miracles on the conditions of our doing our part. As a result, while teaching people to endure to the end, we weren't doing all that it took to make it to the finish line ourselves. This we decided had no place among the ranks of the army of the Lord and promised among ourselves to make sure that we did the extra mile to do our part.
This promise was immediately put to the test, as on the Wednesday following my companion and I Elder H…….. (as we were on exchanges on that day) found ourselves at 7:00 at night with only 6 blessings, two below what we knew was standard. Knowing that was the most important thing for us to reach that night, we set out knocking on doors.
For 45 minutes we knocked but could not find anyone who spoke Spanish that we could teach, and only found 1 person who was willing to pray with us. Finally we came to last door on the street. We knocked on it. No one answered. Through the window we could see plenty of English books and magazines and thought for sure this house would just end up being like the others. We knocked again. No one answered.
As I began to walk away Elder H…….. said, "Elder I see a Spanish person in there!"
In excitement he knocked the third time loudly, and finally caught the attention of the family who lived inside.
Then I saw Elder H…..’s smile droop. He was staring at the biggest, scariest looking Spanish man he'd ever seen.
The man opened the door and looked at the two kids standing at the door.
"What’s up?" he said.
We proceeded to ask him if we could leave a blessing on his home.
He said of course and let us into the home introducing us to his whole family as we entered.
As we blessed them they felt the spirit, and accepted baptism and a return visit without delay.
It turns out that big Spanish guy was a world class Mixed Martial Arts fighter, go figure!
It was a miracle to us, but it would not have happened if we had not done our part, if we had not shown forth our diligence to keep the commandments and standards of the Lord even until the very end.
Just like Alma and Amulek, we needed to bear with patience our afflictions before the prison walls would shake and the chains would be loosed.

Elder Low.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Great Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission

October 21, 2013

Elder Low's Report: 

This week I've really read in Jacob 5, about the Lord's vineyard, and what its application was in our work.
In that section of my personal scriptures I have a quote on a little piece of paper that I got from seminary from Jeffery R. Holland. In it Elder Holland comments on the Lord's feelings towards his vineyard as he states three times throughout the chapter after having pruned and watered and dunged, "what more could I have done for my vineyard?"
This week my companion and I were really struggling to find people to teach as a result of our own efforts.
Though there were many people that had consented to a return appointment after our door approach, when we returned many were no longer interested.
 During this time of discouragement, our zone leaders taught us about faith to find during a fire exchange, and told us that as we live worthy and work diligently at receiving inspiration from the Lord, and then put forth faith and work on those answers we receive, we become entitled to the help of the Lord in not only finding people, but finding those people the Lord had prepared for us to teach. This was really good advice that would help me later that week, but at the time I really brushed it off. I thought it was not something I had a problem with.
The next day or so my companion and I had our appointments fall through so we opened up our planner to see where we had planned to harvest, which turned out to be a little trailer park on our map. Looking at the address I remembered that in previously, my trainer and I had found out that place actually no longer existed.  I suggested that we change our harvest spot and pray to find a new place to harvest. My companion consented and said the prayer. During the prayer he said, "and Lord please help Elder Low that he will have more faith in the inspiration that you give us, that we may go where we need to be."
At the end of the prayer I said, "alright fine we'll go to the trailer park."
The trailer park didn't exist anymore of course, but harvesting in the area where we thought we had been sent we found a man who accepted baptism and the church.
The Lord sends his help, but what must be really frustrating to him is when we don't take it.

Elder Low

October 14, 2013

Elder Low's report:

This week I've been reading a lot in the Book of Mormon about the prophecies of the life of Jesus Christ.
This included a lot of Alma 7 and 1 Nephi 11. What I find so interesting about these chapters was what was described about Christ.
Instead of just describing what the Lord Christ would speak about, but about what he would do, the prophets illustrated how the people should live, and what they should aspire to be.
How people were to recognize Jesus as the son of God was not only by the wisdom and knowledge he spoke and had, but what he did, and how he did it.

This week my companion and I had what I have to say was the most successful week I've ever had on my mission.
People we were able to teach were everywhere it seemed, knocking door after door ended in finding person after person, all of who were interested in hearing the message we had to share. It was incredible, and it was much unexpected.
What had we been doing differently? On Friday I found out that we had a lesson with a cool Cuban guy who really liked to ask questions. He had been hard to teach, but was interested in what we had to say.
This day we were having a lesson, and in the middle he started talking about why he continued to listen to us.
He said "I have talked to a lot of different representatives of religion in my life, each trying to convince me that their doctrine was correct, and in the end I didn't feel a huge desire to join with any of them. But when you two boys came to my door I felt very intrigued in what you had to say. This wasn't because your convincing was better than others, but it was that you didn't seem to be trying to convince me at all. You weren't arguing, you were inviting, and instead of teaching about God with pride, you teach with humility."

What we teach is important, our confidence and ability to carry our message with power comes from our knowledge that it is true, but how we exemplify what we teach is what converts. We teach by the spirit and people feel of its truth.
As we exemplify our message people desire after it, they search with real intent, and their connection to God becomes their own, and what they come to receive is not knowledge only, but the changing power of the atonement of Christ.

Elder Low.

October 7, 2013

Elder Low's report:

This week I've been looking through the scriptures and really trying to see how the trials and eventual solutions for those trials that happened to prophets in the Book of Mormon apply to me as a missionary, and as a result read and thought a lot about Samuel the Lamanite.
In a time of wickedness among the people of Nephi, Samuel had been called by the Lord to call them to repentance. As we know however he was rejected, and was returning to his own land when he heard a voice from on high tell him to go back, and say whatever came into his heart.
Devoted to his cause, and inspired to finish the work he had started Samuel climbed the city wall and began to preach to the people from atop it, which he stayed upon to proclaim prophecies concerning the signs of the birth of Christ and his death all while being persecuted to such an extent that arrows began to fly past him.
However the scriptures explicitly state, that none could hit him.

To this I have drawn several parallels to my life this week. The first one is the opportunity we had this week to listen to the voice of the prophet and the quorum of the twelve.  I pondered on whether I take their talks too lightly, thinking of them as just a spiritual pick me up instead of as the very first speaker of the conference stated, “the words of God”. Those good feelings I felt at conference come from the Holy Spirit and help us as missionaries to testify of truth.
Another parallel I drew was faith in finding. I looked to see how Samuel accomplished his goal.
This week (though our numbers definitely didn't look it) was one of my best finding weeks.
Being in an area where most baptisms did not come from knocking doors, I had lost a lot of faith in my own finding efforts but this week has been phenomenal. We spent our time going out and just looking, using important time that we had at a previous time set aside for teaching lessons to door-knock, putting our faith in our calling and in the Lord and just working. By the middle of the week, we had one of the largest follow-up pools ever. It seemed that people that we were able to teach were popping out of the wood work.
Though I had felt like Samuel, having been rejected, the Lord comforted me and said, “go, and say whatsoever thing that shall come into thy heart.”
I'm sure it wasn't easy for Samuel to turn back and go to the city that had rejected him and as well, not knowing what he was going to say. I felt the same way this week. It is not easy to knock on a door when you don't know who's going to be behind it. I know it wasn't easy for Samuel to climb the city wall (I myself am no good at rock climbing), but the Lord has given us a promise that he will make a way for us to accomplish the thing which he hath commanded.

Elder Low.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

September 30, 2013

Elder Low's report:

This week I've been reading in Mormon, particularly in chapter 6, a lot about how even after all the miracles that had been shown to the Nephite people, still they fell into wickedness, and because they had fallen into wickedness, they no longer had the blessing and power of the Lord with them, and they were destroyed from off the face of the land.

Well this week was weird, taking over the area, seeing my trainer go home and getting a new companion felt a lot like diving into cold water, but we quickly adjusted so all was alright.
This week we'd been working with an investigator that my previous companion and I had been working with. He was super cool and really had a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and that we were representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, but for a very long time he had been waiting to feel the spirit to confirm to him that baptism was the pathway the Lord wanted for him. We invited him to continue to pray, read and come to church to do his part in his eternal progression, and we promised that as he did so with real intent, the Lord would give that answer to him. He did. He continued to progress. We gave him a date. He took the interview, and during a prayer in it, he received his answer which he immediately recognized. We were incredibly excited, but when Sunday came he never came, and he turned his phone off. 

When we came to follow up on what happened, everything had changed. Though he did not deny the answer he had received all his fears and doubts had come back and since then he hasn't progressed.
To me it was so sad, and I felt like exclaiming as Mormon did seeing thousands of his people die having turned away from their Lord, "O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you! Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I 
amourn your loss. O ye afair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have bfallen!"

Unfortunately I don't know if this investigator will be baptized within my time, hopefully one day, but we have hope that either way the work of the Lord will continue, we shall find new people to teach, unhindered those people who are ready to hear the gospel will receive it, and we shall continue to serve our Lord.

Elder Low

Pictures September 24, 2013

 my vote for elder Low for assistant to the president campain
 the baptism of L......... and his friend who he referred to us, T........... two weeks ago.
 y......... getting baptized this last Sunday by his friend c.......... and his wife
the missionaries of the ward and the ward mission leader

September 24, 2013

Elder Low's report:

This last week I've been reading in a lot in Alma, specifically about his and Amulek's preaching and subsequent persecution.
When Alma first went into the city he was rejected completely and entirely by the people, they saw some weird dude who had come out of nowhere and said who is this man to tell us that we are wicked, he Knows not our people, he is not who he says he is, why would God send only one man who we do not know to preach to us?
They then threw him out of the city.
Discouraged by not being able to achieve success by his own efforts, Alma began to walk to another city, but on his way, an angel appeared to him and told him to return and by the help of another whom the Lord would send he would be able to gain success. (or something along those lines I don't have the story in front of me at this time.)
Heading the words of the messenger Alma returns and meets Amulek, a steadfast member in the church of God who had seen in vision that he needed to help Alma in his mission to relieve the bands of sin that held his people captive and bring back to the truth of their redeemer.
So then, following the first member moment and meal appointment I've ever heard of, Alma and Amulek go out to have one of the biggest member present lessons in history.
As a result of the testimony of Amulek a steadfast believer in Christ, his example of power and righteousness having been known well among the people, many people were touched by the spirit of the Lord and repented of their sins, all because one normal man, not a prophet, not a missionary realized that when he had the truth of joy and forgiveness, it was his calling, his duty, and his pleasure to share it with those he knew.

This past week we had an amazing miracle baptism.
A member in our ward went out of his way to invite one of his friends to a family home evening with the missionaries (us). 1 week later he had given up smoking and drinking, developed a testimony of the gospel and the Book of Mormon, and was baptized a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.
When he had started the lessons during the week he said, "I want to contend with you guys, but everything you say... just makes sense."
 What was really impressive was during the first lesson he when had waves of opposition he saw his member friend have peace and it stirred something in him, he wanted that.
Our example can be the difference between someone receiving the gospel, and receiving the cleansing power of the Almighty, having the ability to change and better their lives, eventually walking through the gates of the Lord, and having him say to them, "well done my good and faithful servant."
Just as important as our example, is our willingness to invite others to learn more.

Elder Low.