"Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear....ELDER STOCK!!!!! Happy birthday to you!!!!! Wahoo!" the three elders sang in a slightly discordant unison crowding around the now 20 year old missionary. "All right, all right, get back to work!" said Elder Stock as they headed out the door to find miracles. Thus, the life of a missionary on his birthday.
I turned 20 on Thursday. So that was fun. It's honestly weird to say that I am 20, so I'll probably never get used to it until I'm long past 20. But oh well, life's too short to worry about logistics. The week's been a blur. I snagged a Native Art necktie with a Thunderbird design on it as a birthday present to myself. It's a good little reminder of Duncan/the Island. I had an awesome week handing out the new Hallelujah initiative pass along cards and sharing them with our members here in Nanaimo. We went on an exchange up to Campbell River and spent the day with some awesome missionaries there. Elder Okamoto and Elder McGaughey. Elder Okamoto and I went tracting and found a family who is deaf! Luckily, I know a little bit of sign language from my Burnaby days, and we were able to set up a return appointment with them and will be seeing them soon! Miracles have truly not ceased!
We had a great time together and talked a lot about what it means to have faith in missionary work. I am so grateful for my mission and for the pure fun that it is each and every day to go out and do the Lord's work. This work is divine!
We are working with some awesome investigators. "G", "L", and "M" are so prepared. I love seeing the change in people as they truly accept the restored gospel. The Book of Mormon DOES in fact increase your faith in Jesus Christ. That is not just a myth or some belief that works for some people. It is fact and spiritual truth that applies to us all. We asked "G" this week what has helped him to quit drinking and move forward toward baptism and further conversion. He paused and pointed at the Book of Mormon. "it was the reading assignments you gave me. That's what has helped," he said. "It's built my faith in Jesus Christ. He's with me, now."
That's why we're here. As missionaries, we are here to invite others to come unto Christ. And we help them get there. By helping them see the iron rod, and helping them continually hold steadfast to it. I have such a testimony of this work. I know that it is Christ's work. And that He is at the helm of it!
We are working with a little boy named "L" who is so excited for his "batman-tism", which is how he says baptism. So...we're excited for Bruce Wayne to show up for the service... It's been fun to work here in Nanaimo. We are seeing miracles every day.
My thoughts of the work are summed up in a scripture this week. As Paul says to his son, Timothy, "God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord...but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God" (2 Timothy 1:7-8)
There is no need to fear. We share a message with the power to connect people to the Savior, who looses them from the bands of death and sin. We are messengers of this glory, servants of God. Chosen by Him. We need to exercise our faith and works to be what He needs us to be here at this time. And I know that as we do, and as we partake even of the trials that come into our path, that we will recognize His hand in all things and find His support even in our darkest trials...and even in our brightest triumphs. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!
Catch you next week,
In case you felt unsafe, Nanaimo is nuclear free. I'm in good hands!
Me in Campbell River's attic apartment...
Me, Elder McGaughey, Elder Okamoto, and Elder Stirland!!! What an exchange!
Now THAT'S a coastline...
Me and a blizzard...good times...
Me, Ashwani, and Elder Stirland! Happy Birthday!!!
My birthday cake from Ashwani...
What a piece of cake... Ba-dum-ch!!!!!