This week has been a week of disorienting awesomeness. As if I was on a beach, and the water started receding...and all hope was lost, and then...a tidal wave of miracles descended upon the shore, drowning me in blessings and missionary joy. If that doesn't sound weird and slightly unappealing, then you're a sane, normal person. But if that sounds awesome to you, then you are qualified for the Work. I'm kidding...that's actually...not scripture...but...anyways!
To start off the week, Elder Spencer and I - in his dying days and at the end of his Canadian ministry - went to eat at a super fancy restaurant called the Cactus Club Cafe. It was paid for by a member who knew Elder Spencer's family in Zimbabwe. Small world. It was incredibly good. Food is amazing, and having a steak is pretty nice once in a while.
We then went off to the Vancouver YSA's Family Home Evening to say goodbye to all of Elder Spencer's YSA recent converts. He had a fan club, evidently. The day was great, and then the unthinkable happened: Elder Spencer was taken. Into a legion of departing missionaries, preparing themselves to return to their homes, to the real, scary, secular world by throwing a massive party with the mission preisdent and street contacting for one last hurrah. I watched him drive away toward Richmond, never to see him again...
That day was crazy. My zone leader trainer had left, and I had to put together our zone's travel plans for transfers basically by myself. Insanity ensued. But luckily, everyone got there in one piece...well, except for one of the new guys coming in. He's still in critical condition. Kidding. Or am I? Tuesday, I was up in West Van/Northshore with the elders, basically on an all day, switching off exchange. It was really fun, and we got to bond before they headed off to Kelowna.
Wednesday came around, and we raced down to Langley's Greyhound bus station to drop off one of our elders, which was insane. I finally got to see the Vancouver Britist Columbia Temple!!!
Then, the Assistants called, and gave me some crazy news.
Elder Spencer was still around for one more day, and had requested that he stay with me and Elder Marchand before he had to get on the plane...
The man had returned! So we were jumping back and forth all over Richmond the whole day. Picking up and dropping off, etc. It was awesome.
Elder Marchand and I ended up dropping Elder Spencer off at the airport. It was legitimately the most unreal thing I had ever seen. A missionary whom I had served with for 6 weeks, now gone. Just like that.
Elder Marchand and I got right to work. Our teaching pool had pretty much imploded on itself in the last weeks of last transfer, so it was up to us to replenish it. I was thinking a lot about this in my studies. And of what we are tasked to do as missionaries. My thoughts were drawn to 1 Nephi 17, when Nephi is commanded by the Lord to build a ship that will eventually carry him and his family across the ocean to the Promised Land.
Firstly, the Lord commands him to arise and go to the mountain, which he does without hesitation. The Lord has asked us as members of the church to basically get up and go to work. Are we doing this without hesitation? More specifically, the Lord told me to get up and go on a mission, and so now that I am here, now that Nephi is at this mountain, what happens next?
He is commanded to "construct a ship, after the manner which [He] shall show [him]" (1 Ne. 17:8). We as missionaries are commanded to invite others to come unto Christ. To essentially construct the kingdom of God.
To build it up wherever we go.
So what was Nephi's response? Did he ask for a manual on ship building? Or that the materials he needed would be on the beach, ready for him in a nice, fancy box labeled Scriptural Ship Builder 2000? What Nephi asked in return was, "Lord, whither shall I go that I may FIND ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?" (1 Ne. 17:9). Whoa. Ok, Nephi. You're cool! Not only was he exactly obedient, but he wanted to work so hard for the Lord. He was willing to start from the ground up on this project. If I were him in this situation, I probably would have been guilty of asking for some tools to come down from heaven. Actually, I would have asked for the Scriptural Ship Builder 2000, but anyways, Nephi wanted to go and find. I don't know exactly how ship building works, but Nephi had to start off from literal scratch. He had to first make the tools to make the ship. He had to make a bellows, and do everything that his commandment may be fulfilled. But he was more than willing to do it.
In building the kingdom of God here on the earth, we need to be willing to go and FIND. There are three aspects or phases of missionary work: finding, teaching, and baptizing. Just as Nephi wanted to go and find the ore, we as missionaries need to be willing to go and FIND those that God has prepared to hear and accept our message of the restored gospel. Just as Nephi made the tools to construct the ship, we need to use our tools (teaching skills, Preach My Gospel, the scriptures, etc.) to TEACH all of God's children about His message, and help them receive it. And lastly, Nephi constructed the ship. To bring about God's purpose for his posterity, to grant unto the Promised Land and to help them return unto Him. We need to construct His kingdom, to BAPTIZE those whom we find and teach. To help bring about God's purpose of returning all of His children back unto Him after this life. So we did just that. We did a TON of finding this week, and saw a crazy awesome miracle. New investigators! We're now constructing a teaching pool. We found a young couple, Jordan and Katie, who are amazing. They love the message of the Restoration of the gospel, and are so excited to keep learning, and to come out to church. We found a man named Michael, who wants he and his wife to turn their lives around so that they can raise their two year old daughter in a better home. We found a family who have been looking for a church to go to, but haven't felt at home yet, and many more.
All because we realized what you need in this Work. You need to be willing to go and FIND the ore. Not just to baptize. Sure, that's what we want to do all day. But if you don't have the material to make the tools, then how are you going to construct the ship?
I know that this Work is God's Work. He is at the helm. This is His Hastening, and He needs all of us to join together and to go and find those that He has prepared. They're in our friend groups, they're on the streets, they're our neighbors. Everyone has the chance to accept this great and wonderful gospel, so go out and share it! I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, that He loves each and every one of us, just as our Heavenly Father does. They are completely unified in their purpose, and they want us to be as well. You are all so awesome! Thank you for your prayers, and for your support. Have an amazing week, and Happy Victoria Day!!!! #Canada
You Already Know,
Our Burnaby Zone...don't ask why I wasn't dressed out. It's a long story. :D
I got to see, like, my favorite companion ever in our transfer travels! Elder Boehmer!!! Aw yeah!
The Death of Elder Spencer. The End of His Candian Ministry. His final hour.
Unbelievable. The man, the myth, the legend...now gone. Why?! Why?!
Back to cold, cruel world...