I cant believe I have been out for more than 3 months. It feels like I just entered the MTC last week. I absolutely love North Carolina! The people here are so incredibly nice. I didn't realize how real southern hospitality was. Everyone we talk to is willing to listen to us, or , at least, politely turn us down. I absolutely love my new companion. His name is Elder Tortorici. He is one of the funniest loose-cannon people I know. We get along so well its amazing and we teach really well together. There is so much I can learn from him about being a hard working missionary and loving the people. He is going home in about 6 weeks so this is going to be quite a fun transfer!
Its really weird working in a ward. I'm used to a small branch where about 35 people show up. Now there are a couple hundred! The member support here is incredible. Every one is asking for opportunities to come out and teach with us.
Things I learned this week:
- The power of likening the scriptures: In Greensville, there is a less-active who has not been at church in many years and we are trying to get him to come. For quite some time, the missionaries have been stopping by his house about once a week to share a message and then beg him to come to church. The entire ward is trying to get him to come. Its almost ridiculous how much support he has yet he still isn't coming to church for various reasons. For many weeks, the missionaries have been taking a different approach to build his testimony. We are trying to get him to regularly read his scriptures. When we stopped by this week, we were disappointed to find out that he had not been reading. Instead of doing a generic read a chapter and leave, we decided to teach him how to apply the scriptures into his life. After a couple of verses we would pause and talk about what each verse meant to us. We came up with some incredible analogies and the spirit was incredibly strong in the room.
- We are all bags of dirt: We paused on 1 Nephi 2:10 because I noticed the word "immovable". When I hear the word, immovable, I think of a mountain. No matter what comes its way, It will never move. I likened that unto how we should be when Satan tries to temp us. No matter what he sends we should be immovable in righteousness. As I was explaining this to him, my companion asked him if he felt like a mountain. After a moment of thinking about it, he said no. He felt like a bag of dirt, easily picked up and thrown around. As soon as he said that I thought, "How many bags of dirt are in a mountain?" It became instantly apparent to me why we go to church. At some point in time, we are all a pile of dirt, but if we place ourselves on a mountain, we can find added protection and become immovable. As we join others in following Christ, we are also strengthened. We also have the opportunity to strengthen others.
- Tin-Man: Some times, the first step in fixing a problem is asking for help. Im not exactly sure how we created this metaphor, but its a good one. The poor Tin-man from Alice and Wonderland was stuck. He could not move no matter how hard he tried. Feeling hopeless he probably accepted that fact that he would never do anything again, because he physically couldn't. His life changed when a little girl happened to walk by and he asked for help. People are waiting for the opportunity to help. They just need to be invited. Similarly, Christ is waiting for the opportunity to help. He just needs to be invited.
I love yall,
- Elder Shill