Hello Friends and Family,
I love my mission, I love the people, I love this gospel, I love Jesus Christ. I love constantly being in the service of others, I love biking, I love the weather, I love the members, I love the scriptures, I love watching people fill with light as they choose to live the gospel.
The people here have incredibly unusual lives. Almost every person I know has had a period of time in their life where they had no food or were homeless. We pass people all the time, wheeling their carts to local churches, where they hand out free food. Most of the people that go to school, go so they can eat a free meal. So many people seem to be stuck in the social habit of poverty because they don't know how not to be impoverished. Yet, there are roses among these thorns. I love seeing our message ring true in peoples hearts. It fills their souls with hope and provides a way for them to escape this hopeless culture. Every investigator (and even the members) that comes to church comes because of the support, friendships, and love they feel. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints is the true church of Christ.
Recently I met a 94 year old man (his dad lived to be 102) and he is honestly one of the most selfless men I know. He shares stories about how he would feed the children going to school breakfast if they didn't have money. It is evident in his countenance that he has followed Christ the best he could throughout his life. On Sunday, he came to church. He said it was beautiful. He loved the spirit there and told us he will come back next week, and he is a man of his word.
There are several things people don't tell you about preparing for a mission. Everyone focuses on the spiritual aspect, which is good, but they forget the temporal skills needed:
- Learn how to cook. Life is so much better when breakfast, lunch and dinner are not the same thing. It is also easier to buy more for less. (Your companions will also love you)
- Learn how to clean. You don't have to live in a spotless home on a mission, but you don't want to live in a pig sty either.
- Learn how to exercise. Learn different ways to strengthen your body. Luckily I have been able to follow my companions work-out routines.
- Learn how to write neatly. Its difficult writing an address for someone and having them not be able to read it.
- Learn how to manage stress. For many missionaries, life becomes stressful. Learn how to manage your stress and take life, one day at a time.
As for things I learned this week:
- Preach My Gospel is an invaluable and inspired tool. It is flexible to any need and situation. At the start of the new year, President Baker said we would be going through Preach My Gospel as an entire mission. I have loved going through and reading all of the lessons it has to teach.
- There are a lot of misconceptions about the Book of Mormon. Several people this week have told us that they have heard pretty negative things about the Book. I'm actually grateful so many people are learning about it because they then come to us. We tell them that the only way to know is to read it and ask God. If God tells you something is true, then no else's opinion matters.
- The Book of Mormon brings light into peoples lives. We have two investigators. One was excited to be baptized and one who was not. The one who wasn't read from the Book of Mormon. Every time we came back there was another layer of light in her eyes. She is now set with a baptismal date in February. The other one did not read. She isn't really progressing, but still wants to be baptized. Her countenance isn't increasing. I challenge you to read the Book of Mormon for one week, every day, and asses how your life has improved, because it will.
- Keep a journal at all costs. There are several days where I didn't write anything down, and I regret that. Writing in a journal does a couple things. First, it records your life for future generations. Second, it gives you time to reflect on the day and see how the Lord guided your day. If your doing what your supposed to, every day is purposeful, but it may not be obvious. There is a lesson to learn every day, so write it down. Third, it gives you a reminder of how the Lord has blessed your life when things get tough.
I love y'all
- Elder Shill