Wow. Sorry about the late epistle/update/letter/indicator of mental capacity to do missionary work, but it was Canadian Thanksgiving yesterday! And "holidays are excellent opportunities for finding and teaching because many families are together and are at home" (Missionary Handbook, 17). True doctrine, that is. We got to teach some people that would not have been normally able to meet with us simply due to the fact that it was a holiday and they had some free time! Yesterday, we taught a man named Hugh about the Restoration. He was fascinated by it all, and loves the pictures in the pamphlet we use to teach the lesson... We've got to work on getting him out to church, now...
After that, we headed over to the Onedo's home where we were fed an amazing, bountiful, Thanksgiving feast at the hands of this incredible Ethiopian family--the father of which is a master chef and the children of which are in our Fraser Valley YSA branch. The crazy thing is that back when I was in Burnaby, the Onedos lived there and we ate at their house all the time. Now, they've moved to Langley as I moved! With that cooking, I'm not complaining. "Don't question miracles," as the saying goes...
We also got to eat another Thanksgiving feast on Sunday with one of the members of our branch and his father who lives up in the Yukon... His cats were battling the whole time, and it was pretty frightening. Definitely the most action-packed animal fight I have seen in a while. (My entertainment standards have fortunately lowered A LOT over these past months...) Our member, Quentin, illuminated us on how Canadians see us Americans. It was hilarious. I feel like I am hearing more about soon-to-be President Trump up here than I would if I was in the states.
Our super solid investigators, S and J are doing so well. As a mission, we've really been focusing on how to better help our investigators progress to baptism. Because we have proven to the world that we can baptize. Now it's time to help them to gain this spiritual conviction and enduring conversion that will aid them throughout their entire lives.
It's been a miracle being able to teach such incredible people throughout my mission. Seeing their desire to learn and to share the gospel once they realize what it truly is always motivates me to do better in my own life and to continually strengthen my conversion. The faith that these people need to have in order to live the gospel of Jesus Christ astonishes me, and is undoubtedly another witness that our Heavenly Father loves us and is actively involved in our lives. That He has not stopped speaking through His servants the prophets, that His Son---our Savior and Redeemer--lives today and continues to minister and succor us through the Holy Ghost. Oh, it is wonderful. Wonderful to me.
S has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. And when your faith and testimony is grounded in that, then you are seriously not leaving anytime soon. J is someone whom we are teaching who was referred to us by a member who he is dating. Unlike the "date 'em, dunk 'em, drop 'em" situations of the past. J is very truth-seeking, and notices that there is a gap in the faith he has grown up in. He feels the Spirit and reacts to it. He learns the doctrine and runs with it. We are so excited to continue to help him prepare to be baptized. Because that is where it's at. Making covenants with our Father in Heaven are why we are here. Why we do what we do as members of the church. And what we invite others to do, as well.
Recently, I've been pondering a lot about what makes a successful missionary. My thoughts are drawn to my ponderizing scripture of the week, found in the book of Mosiah. The Lord says unto Alma in this verse, "blessed art thou because thou hast established a church among this people; and they shall be established, and they shall be my people" (Mosiah 26:17 emphasis added).
We are here. As latter-day saints across the world. To establish a church among His people. And as we establish this church, by inviting all to come unto Christ and helping them get there, then they--the people of the church--shall be established, as well. They shall be the Lord's people. What does it mean that the people shall be established? I believe that it all comes back to having that firm foundation. The church is here as a vehicle to help us become like Christ, to inherit the kingdom of God. It does so through the ordinances and covenants within it, which in turn become our foundation. These ordinances and covenants alone, though, are dead. But with Christ's priesthood authority, they are made alive. We find that as we keep our covenants, we receive power and are bound to the Savior. Our foundation is rooted in Him and His gospel. And we are thus established on the land just as a building would be, with its foundation surely planted.
That's my purpose. As a missionary. To establish strong centers of the Lord's church wherever I am called. To represent the Savior in all that I do. To be a Christ-like missionary...not just to do "missionary things"... I am grateful for this time I have to serve. I see miracles each and every day. And I know that my Redeemer lives, and that our Father in Heaven loves us. Individually. He knows us by name. They restored Christ's church on the earth once more through a prophet named Joseph Smith. I know that he was not only a prophet, but a righteous man of God. And I know these not of myself, but of the Spirit. For by the power of the Holy Ghost, we may truly know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:5).
Highlight reel: we got to have an awesome gospel conversation with two deaf guys in Surrey central (teaching Kristian in Burnaby is a blessing in more ways than one!), we are finding so many people who have a desire to be baptized, we made a ton of fake movie trailer audios for ideas we have in the zone...one of our missionaries, Elder Sigrest, is now know as Batgrest...etc. Elder Gawrys and I are having a blast, as usual! And there is so much to be thankful for. Last night, in my prayer, I ended up just thanking God for everything I could think of. And I cannot describe to you the feeling of peace and gratitude I felt as I did so, I encourage you all to try that out, especially in this Canadian Thanksgiving season.
I am grateful for all of you and your support, and hope and pray that this week will be amazing for us all.
Preach that gospel, yo!
Found Rocket Raccoon....long trek to Earth!