Sunday, April 5, 2015

March 16, 2015

Mom, Dad, and Family,

This past week was great.  We had another Zone Meeting (they were closer because of the way transfers went this past month).  It went rather well, I thought.  The Zone seems a lot more motivated to find now.  It's still a struggle.  It's not like down the hill where you can know 50 doors in 10 minutes.  People here (especially in the Ranchero Ward) are super spread out.  Not very many people per square mile.  There are only a few housing tracks in our area, and even then people own about twice as much land as down the hill.  But there are definitely opportunities for finding here.  With an increased amount of faith and a little more dedication, as we rely on the Spirit, we can be guided to those who are looking.  But I think that is how it is with all of life, not just finding investigators or missionary work.  Elder Bringhurst and I still keep in contact and he was just mentioning to me that if we give God everything, we won't have any regrets.  I think that's so true.  I think God can do so much more with our will than we can.  So as we work hard and give our all, God can work miracles.

Something awesome occurred the last two days.  We have this less-active family in the ward that Elder Gooch and I have been trying to get in contact.  Dad's not a member and mom and the girls haven't been to church in over three years.  Well we went over on Saturday to see if they were home.  They were (except Dad) and we talked to them for a long time.  We asked them a lot of questions and things went really well.  We asked them about their prayers and their scripture reading.  We taught them about the blessings of daily spiritual nourishment.  Then we asked them how long it had been since they had been to church.  Ha, it had been a while.  So we taught them about the ordinance of the Sacrament.  We taught them about what it meant.  We taught them about the importance of church and then asked them if they would like to come to church.  They said they would (which was cool, except a lot of people say they'll come to church and don't).  When Sunday rolled around though, they really were at church.  They stayed for sacrament meeting, but had to leave after.  Now, let me tell you why this is so cool.  They had been SUPER less-active for that time they hadn't been to church.  Always friendly to the missionaries, but very less-active.  Our first week in the ward, Brother Morrison (their home teacher) came up to us and asked if that the family would only be taught by Sisters (since dad isn't a member and the rest are girls).  He was asking if we could somehow get the Sisters in another ward to teach them.  Well, no...that's not how it works.  And Brother Morrison was rather frustrated (maybe more sad, but also a little frustrated).  There seemed to be this lurking doubt that now the Sisters were gone (Elder Gooch and I replaced them) that the family would never come to church again.  But then they did!  And so willingly too.

I think a lot of the time we're like that as well.  We get scared of inviting people to do things because we're afraid they'll say know and we'll end up closing a door permanently that could have been opened with more tact.  Like with the family in our ward, we were scared that because the Sisters weren't there to soften the family up, the family would never come to church.  But I think the story you shared is a good example of what can happen if we just choose to open our mouths and invite anyway.  What are the odds that the less-active sister in the 11th ward was having promptings and being prepared?  In reality probably not very high.  But we'll never find out until we ask.  I have found that super super important on my mission.  To just invite anyway.  Even if there's doubt.  Even if you think it won't work.  Even if the odds are low.  Even if the person hasn't been to church in years--or ever.  We will help others so much more when we invite them to become active in the gospel and taste of the light here.

I know the church is true and the gospel is real.  Like crazy real!  When we put our trust in God enough to follow His commandments and live the teachings of Christ, we can expect miracles.  Because that's what God does: Miracles.  Thanks so much for all you do!  Keep praying and studying your scriptures every day.  Remember how powerful the principle of faith is.  I love you all.  Take care!

Elder Russell

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