Monday, May 12, 2014

May 5, 2014 It's been a full week!

Hey family!
It's been a full week with zone conferences and the like. You'll all have to read my journal once I finish this grand adventure. I don't have nearly enough time to write about all that I've done. Heck, my journal is suffering a bit too. Life as an Assistant is just crazy. If I could use twitter, I would definitely coin a new hashtag. #AssistantProblems
We taught a lot this week about implementing baptism into our contacting. That was the main focus of basically all that we did. President wants everyone to really jump on the bandwagon and strive to be bold on the street. Elder Lanham and I have been taking this approach by starting contacts on the street with baptism for over a month now. We've seen effects as well. It gives us a greater feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment. We really feel like we're doing what we've been called to do--call others to repentance. No, we're not holding up cardboard signs that read "He's coming!" or talking about the sword of justice hanging over a wicked people, but we do talk about the need for repentance and the ability to place our lives in line with God's will. It's a powerful thing to look someone in the eye, talk about the feelings of guilt and shame that we all have, and tell them a way they can be freed from those feelings thanks to the atonement of Christ, repentance, and baptism. It makes me feel like a real missionary. It's given me a great chance to reflect on my baptism and the steps I've taken to be clean of what I've done. Whether mistakes be big or small, they can all be wiped away thanks to what Christ did for all of us. What human soul doesn't yearn for that? Think about it. New starts, new beginnings, and a clean slate. Don't we all want that from time to time? The gospel is so beautiful. It provides everything that we could ever truly want in life.
I've really been thinking a lot lately about clear perspectives. I discovered a quote in an article by Elder Ballard. He said that when his grandfather died, the last words he said were, "Brethren, above all else, let us think straight." That quote struck me. All of us from time to time deal with a clouded perspective and a skewed view of life. I know I talked about it in zone conference in my testimony, but the gospel truly is what gives us a clear perspective of life and what we are doing here. When it comes to thinking straight, we have no greater tool than the gospel. The symbolism of Christ being the light of the world is also powerful. Light is what gives us a clear perspective with which to see. Christ adds light to our life and gives us the perspective we need to do what He has asked of us. I'm grateful for the light which I have in my life and the opportunity to share that with others.
I'm excited for my exchange in Bydgoszcz this week. It will be interesting to do an exchange in a threesome. I have yet to do such an exchange, but I think it will be effective nonetheless. I know both Elder Swicegood and Elder Hardy fairly well and hope to be able to help them improve as zone leaders. I really want to focus on teaching the baptism contacting while I'm there. Of course, I will do leadership training and make than an emphasis, but if I can help them to be proficient in teaching baptism on the street I will consider my job accomplished.
I really thought a lot about what Elder Retallick said after we went contacting. We finished a conversation and as we walked away, he talked about how fulfilled he felt. That fulfillment doesn't come from any other source, whether it be drugs, entertainment, or any form of earthly pleasure. It's a fulfillment that comes from being on the Lord's errand. As we do our best to fulfill our calling, the Lord gives us that fulfillment. (This one requires a side note. We took all the missionaries out on the street in the middle of zone conference so they could practice the new contacting approach. It was a cool experience. Elder Retallick is our british missionary. He's stellar.)
I'm excited to skype with all of you this weekend. It's going to be exciting! I'll be curious to see if you think I've changed at all, and I'll be interested to see if you have all changed. Dad, Mom, don't worry, you still look the same as always from what I can tell ;). Just a reminder, I'm planning on getting on about 8:00 PM here on Sunday, which should be noon over there. Hopefully that will give you all enough time that you don't have to miss too much of church.
Weird to think that Kyle's coming home this week. I'm sure he'll do a great job with his homecoming. When does Jared get back? I would have thought he would have got home this week, but maybe I'm wrong. The end is quickly coming. Pretty soon, I'll be next. I'm learning to be ok with that. Don't worry, I'm not insanely trunky or anything, and I'm committed to do my best until the end, but I'd lie if I said I wasn't excited to come home. Sorry, maybe I talk about this too much, but it's something that I'm learning to adjust to and deal with.
In other news, I found a scripture that I really like this week. It's in Mosiah 8:18--"Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings." I've thought a fair amount recently about why I was called to Poland. I don't have all the answers. I couldn't tell you all of the people whom I've affected or what the Lord exactly wanted me to do here. At the end of the day, I don't think I'm really supposed to know. I've seen ways that others were meant to affect me and I feel that I've learned the lessons to this point which God wanted me to, but I'm learning to have faith that even though I don't see the results of all the efforts I've put forth here, they've still been accepted by God.
Well hey family, I love you all. Emms, keep on keeping on. I hope you're ankle feels better. Dad, good luck with your new calling. I've got full faith in you. You'll do great. Heath, tell Brother Anderson I say hello. I miss that guy. He's awesome. Mom, thanks for being crazy and waking up in the middle of the night to figure out skype accounts. You're awesome!
Doobs, I'm waiting for a new poem next week!
I love you all. The gospel is true!

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