Wow. To quote a wise, goofy fictional character in order to describe this week, I will just say, "THAT....WAS.......AWESOME!!!!"
And it was.... Holy cow what a week. So, Elder Gawrys and I have seen so many miracles together. This week, we got transfer calls as a mission......
And, well, we're, uh....
I don't know how to word this, but we are...
Staying together for the next transfer!!! WAHOO!!!! Not only am I excited to stay with Elder Gawrys because he's awesome, but I am excited to stay in the Fraser Valley YSA branch. It's a thrill to be able to work alongside so many amazing young single adults. Most of them are recently returned missionaries, and so I always feel so inadequate taking them out to lessons....because they know how to be a missionary in today's world....something that family ward members just don't have. It keeps me in check and keeps me continually improving, for sure. I am grateful for the YSA culture of missionary work, though. It's more member driven naturally because people actually invite their friends to partake of the fruits of the gospel. It's almost as if the most success in missionary work comes when the members are the source of finding new investigators or something like that - that may or may not have been directly quoted from Preach My Gospel...
I've learned some very valuable lessons of how to be a member-missionary from the members in this branch. And it really comes down to a very simple principle that President Monson even spoke about in this most recent General Conference: being an example!
It's something we hear all the time, but it's a true principle. As we "let [our] light so shine before men," (Matthew 5:16) and really show by our works and our personalities that we have internalized the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will see marvelous success in missionary work. Because Heavenly Father, as we speak, is preparing His children, His chosen vessels, to receive the restored gospel, the lost words of the Lord (Amos 8:12), and as we set the example and show them what they are looking for, they will recognize this and they will desire to receive it in their own lives.
We need to be "an example of the believers" (1 Timothy 4:12), and the way we do that is by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in ALL aspects of our lives. In word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith, purity, etc. At work, school, play, in all interactions with our brothers and sisters of God. As President Monson says, "as we follow the example of the Savior and live as He lived and as He taught, that light will burn within us and will light the way for others". I know that that is so true. I would like to share a miracle that occurred yesterday that highlights this very eternal truth.
In the branch, we have a member named Brady Moore who is incredible. He's so missionary minded and so faith-filled. He obeys the commandments, and lives the gospel of Jesus Christ not just on the Sabbath, but throughout his daily life. As a result, as he was riding the bus to his school in Surrey, he met a friend--one of his classmates named Tushar---whom he began to talk to. The two became good friends as the days went on, and Brady naturally invited him to the YSA conference that was happening in Burnaby. Tushar went on Saturday and had a ton of fun, but he wasn't going to go to church the next day. Respecting his choice, Brady went to Sacrament meeting. During the bearing of testimonies, he stood and bore powerful testimony of the Savior. Then, as he did so, he mentioned that he has a friend who really needs to be here right now. The Spirit overcame him, and he quickly finished his testimony, and then grabbed his things and turned to us. "I have to go and pick up a friend, elders," he said, determined to follow the promptings he had received. He walked out of the chapel.
Within a couple of minutes, Brady again walked into the chapel with his friend, Tushar. They sat next to us, and people from the YSA region bore their testimonies of this gospel and this church, and how it had blessed them in their lives. One of our investigators, S, who is getting baptized this weekend, even walked up and bore her testimony on the power of the Book of Mormon and how it changed her life from night to day.
At the end of the meeting, we talked to Tushar. He told us that he has never felt so much peace in his life, and that he wants to be baptized. Speechless and ecstatic on the inside but playing it cool on the outside, Elder Gawrys and I taught him about the Restoration with Brady and set a baptismal date for November 8th with him, testifying to him that the Spirit he felt in the meeting that day could be with him for the rest of his life as he was baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost.
I'll never forget what he said afterward. "This feeling I had today is the feeling I had when I met Brady. And the feeling I had whenever he talked to me. It's good, man. I don't want it to go away." Wow. Can we all be like Brady?!
Can we all just live the gospel of Jesus Christ so well and be so Christ-like that others will feel the Spirit as we are around them? I testify to you that we can. Let your light so shine. Light they way, and then invite them to walk the path of discipleship with you. When we are doing all that we can, then we can help others as well. I have learned that the most important thing that Jesus Christ did, second only to His Atoning Sacrifice, was to be our Exemplar. He led the way so that He could say, "Come, follow me..." Let's do the same. All it takes is a little bit more effort. But we can do this. The Lord has entrusted us with a little sliver of His vineyard. So keep it well.
As this week went on, I was reminded again and again of the love that Christ has for us.
And that is the motivation for His work. As I strive to be more like Him each day, I realize just how perfect He really is.
As I read from the Book of Mormon every day--my absolute favorite book of all time--I realize just how merciful and loving He is. I realize the effect that the gospel needs to have in our lives. The same gospel that has the power to change us. My week was fantastic. And I know more than ever that this is Christ's church. His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, testifies of it. And you can't argue that. I know that the Book of Mormon is true because it is what has helped me gain such a strong relationship with my Savior. And I am grateful for it. Now let's go share it!
You already know,
Welcome to Brookswood...good ol' Langley!
YAY! We're staying together!
Let's take the worst selfie ever!