Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 14, 2014

Elder Low's Report:
This week I’ve continued my chronological reading in the Book of Mormon and have ended up just a little ways into second Nephi. As I went through the end of first Nephi I really came to understand a lot better the patience and love that Nephi had for his brothers Laman and Lemuel. As a result I think it struck me a lot harder when God in chapter 5 of second Nephi commands him to leave his brothers, and move:
 5 And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.
 I think this was probably a hard decision for Nephi. It doesn't say exactly how he left, but it does say that all who would come, did, which gives me the impression that he asked everybody. Here I learned that sometimes the Lord asks us to do hard things sometimes, but I know that as we follow him we will feel like Nephi and those who did choose right felt as they wrote:
27 And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.
This week we were so blessed as we searched really hard for new people to teach. We found investigators harvesting, through formers, and through less actives. Our pool was building and we even found a couple of people from the area book who had already been to church multiple times. Then almost all at once our people dropped us. It was soooooo hard. We had come to love these people, we thought about how it was we could get them back. In the end, however, we knew that God was calling us to find something better. We knew there were people waiting for us. We went and tried some people who hadn't had time for a harvest blessing, but still told us to come back. One of them let us in. We prayed with him, and he proceeded to ask tons of questions. We testified of Jesus Christ, and of the purpose of a restoration. He asked for a Book of Mormon, committed himself to come to church, and asked us to come back. It was super cool but we are not done yet. We’re going to build up this ward and bring those who we know are waiting.
I know the Lord has a plan for us, and that as we follow it, no matter how difficult it may be, it will also bring to us that which is best.

Elder Low

Super Missionary?

My new companion and I are unshakeable!

October 6, 2014

Elder Low's report:
So I’ve been continuing my chronological reading in the Book of Mormon, and I think I’m in 1nephi 20, but for this email I actually instead wanted to talk about another place in the Book of Mormon that I only read a little, but has had a really powerful effect on me recently. It’s in Jacob 5. I wasn't planning on reading there, but during our transfers meeting as my name came up onto the board, instantly the scripture came into my mind. Jacob 5 talks about the Lord's scattering of Israel. It talks about to save the people from their own wickedness and to give them the ability to grow and produce fruits of righteousness he took them and scattered them abroad. He sends them to many different places, some bad, and some good, and some even the best. At one point one of the servants chastises the Lord, telling him the place where he planted was the worst plot of land, to which he responds:
22 ... Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit.
He later reemphasizes his loving care for his vineyard as he states multiple times, "what more could I have done for my vineyard?"
I love this part, because it shows how truly the Lord is mindful of our situations, especially when considering transfers, it demonstrates that he knows our circumstances, and has ordained us to be where he has sent us. He knows what kind of spot of land it is, that is why he sends us there.
This week I was transferred to Blue Lagoon West with Elder S.  Instantly we went to work. We had trouble keeping our teaching pool up, and so we agreed according to our prior experience that we needed to start anew. We went on splits; Elder S used his knowledge of the ward to get two members out. He went to go see if anyone still wanted to be taught, and I went out to harvest to find those who would be willing. The member and I were knocking at night and at first both he and I were a little hesitant, but as we walked we saw a woman going to her house. He told me I should go contact her. I really didn't want to. He asked again and I heeded him. I called out and she let us pray. The spirit filled the scene and she accepted baptism and everything else. He said he felt so good. By the end of the night it was hard to get him to stop harvesting...
I know we are sent to places because that is where God needs us. There is no question there. The only question becomes, will we seek to fulfill that need? Will we magnify that call?
Elder Low

Baptism Day

Happy Baptism Day!

September 30, 2014

Elder Low's report:
This week I've continued my chronological reading in the Book of Mormon, and really tried to understand better and visualize the people it talks about. As a result the story of how Nephi obtains the plates of brass from Laban especially moved me. I love what he says even after he and his brothers have tried twice to get them and have been unsuccessful in chapter 4:
1 And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?
As a result of Nephi’s persistence, he and his brothers were delivered from the hands of Laban, and they were given the ability to fulfill the commandments of the Lord.
This week we were planning on baptizing the family of three we had worked so hard with. We had given them chapel tours, helped them understand the Book of Mormon, and gave them the opportunity to know it was true. Now was the time for them to act. We went over to their house, and found two of them up. They went to go wake up their mom, and she wouldn't come out. I just about gave up on them, but in this critical moment, Elder B jumped in and proposed new ideas until we had found a way for them to be baptized together. They were.
Without that push that Elder B gave us we could not have baptized this family, and because of his diligence we were able to fulfill the commandments of the Lord.
Elder Low

September 22, 2014

Elder Low's report:
This week I read the introductory pages of the Book of Mormon (as I’ve decided to start it over from the beginning and go all the way through). I have never really read these pages with much attention in the past, so as I read it this time around I thought it was so cool how in these pages the Lord inspired Joseph Smith, ancient prophets, the 3, and the 8 witnesses all to bear witness of the truth of the book, as well declare its purpose and relevance in the lives of all mankind. In particular this part hit me, found at the end of the title page of the book which gives us insight as to how it is that we should read as to obtain the blessings stated as the purpose of the book:
"...Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations—And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ."
as we read and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, condemning not the things of God as a result of pride, we shall truly come to a knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, that we may be filled with joy as we are found also spotless before him.
The past couple weeks we were having a problem with finding new people to teach. Each week we said that we would focus on finding at the beginning of the week so that we would fill our schedules for the rest. Unfortunately for one reason or another we just weren't acting on that. Finally this week we made specific plans and goals and moved everything out of the way so that we could do what we knew the Lord was expecting of us and it worked. Within two days we had already found 5 people new to teach who accepted the invitation to be baptized. We knew we were being blessed by God for our effort but it wasn't enough. We had received training after training on achieving standards. A lot of times in the past I have felt like matching the set standards of excellence for our key indicators is an impossible task but we felt like God had prepared the way for us to achieve the weekly standard of excellence of 7 new investigators so we prayed and kept working. On Wednesday we got a call from someone I didn't know. He told us he wanted us to come over to his house. We did. It was the house of a less active member who we had knocked into two months ago. She had kept our number, and even though she hadn't come to church in that time, when her friend came from Cuba she told him to call us. He accepted baptism immediately. This week we got 8 new investigators.
I know that as we follow the Lord with all our hearts, condemning not his word, but instead changing ourselves to be like him, we will feel his embrace, our joy shall be full, and shall know from what source those blessings flow.
Elder Low.

September 15, 2014

Elder Low's Report:
 This week I read quite a bit in the Book of Mormon (meaning the section before the book of Ether). Throughout this book the author, Mormon, records much of the decline of the Nephite civilization as a result of their wickedness. Though this book contains some of the most saddening events that happen in all of the Book of Mormon, it is always very interesting to me to see how the Lord's promises are always fulfilled, as well as to watch the actions of Mormon himself, as he strives to live the commandments of God, while living among a people who had chosen not to.  Particularly I found it interesting this time noting the love that Mormon shows towards this people, even when he feels like he can do nothing for them.
  11 And it came to pass that I, Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.

 12 Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them...
Even when we feel like there is nothing we can do, as we demonstrate sincere love towards those we teach and serve, truly having their best interest in mind, miracles can occur, and if, or when they decide to act, we will be there already waiting to help them up.
This week we had the wonderful privilege of helping a man be baptized. It was awesome to feel the spirit at his baptismal service. But to tell you just how much of a miracle this man's baptism was I have to start three transfers ago. On my first day with Elder S (my last companion) we contacted a man on the side of the road who was staring at us. We prayed with him and invited him to baptism He said he felt the spirit, and though professed to be an internet pastor himself, accepted the invitation. He introduced himself. From what I could tell at that time, he needed to go to the YSA elders, so we passed him. This transfer 4 months later we ran into him again. He said that something had happened and the elder's had not been able to get in contact with him. We said another prayer with him and asked him if he remembered what we had offered to him last time. He said, "To be baptized!" He came to church and loved it. We lost contact for a week and re-found him on Wednesday. We sat down and began to teach starting with the restoration. After we explained to him the first vision we asked him what it meant to him. He said, "it means I want to be a Mormon!" we then in the following 30 minutes went over the commandments one by one, ready to talk about any problems he might have. To our great surprise however, following every single one, all he would say is, "that is beautiful, I think everyone should live that.On Saturday, we went over and testified to him, that as he stays strong in this church, that he will receive the greatest happiness possible.
I know that because we showed love towards this man even when we thought we would not be the ones to teach him, we helped him know of the validity of this message, and he was able to take that step of baptism.
Elder Low.