I just want to start off with a scripture that I found not too long ago that I really like. I kind of shows our purposes as missionaries. This is Mormon talking about the things he wrote, but the same thing applies to us as missionaries and what we need to be doing. It's in Ether 8:26, and it says,
“Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.”
That's kind of what we are doing as missionaries. It's kind of our point in everything. We want the people we see to “be persuaded to do good continually.” We don't want Satan to have anymore power over their hearts. We want them to have that desire to do good continually and to come to the fountain of all righteousness, the Savior, and be saved. Because, we're happy and we want them to be happy. I have noticed that as we go out and talk to people and just be friendly, and laugh with them and talk with them, and show an interest in them and really care about them, and ask them questions about themselves, and find out what the happy things they are going through. You know, what are the happy things about life? What are the struggles? Life isn't easy, it's always tough. As we get talking with people and show that we really care about them, then they can kind of see that we are messengers of Jesus Christ, and that we do want them to be able to do good continually. What we do is invite them to make changes to show them it's possible. As they make those changes, they can see “oh, it's possible to have a desire to do good continually.” It's possible to change. All we are doing is inviting them to do what the Lord has invited, and help them become happier and happier. It's neat.
There have been a couple of times this week we were going out and visiting a family. They were talking about these missionaries they really liked. They said the really liked us as missionaries and that other missionaries in the past have been forceful and maybe a little pious, I guess. They were not very friendly, but kind of like, “okay, let's do this.” They were really thankful that we came in and talked with them and laughed with them, and show them that we care about them. I noticed that if you don't do that at the beginning of your lessons, it's kind of hard to connect with the person. It's so important that we actually do care about our investigators and the people we are visiting. Our Heavenly Father cares about them, and we can't help them make those changes or to love as the Savior loves, if we are not able to do the same for them. If we don't show the Savior's love, then how else are they going to find it. That kind of felt good to have people compliment you and say, “oh, you know you guys are doing good. You are very friendly.” It's not easy. We try our hardest. Sometimes things can get a little discouraging when lessons fall through and cancel. Sometimes it can be a little tough. So it's always nice when people recognize the good you are doing and are thankful for that. Especially as a missionary, when some of the people you are visiting, you can't tell if they appreciate it or not. To deserve their appreciation, we have to appreciate them back. If we don't show them that we appreciate them and their time and letting us come and teach them and share what we have grown to love with them, how can we expect them to appreciate what we are telling them and accept it. I also love that as charismatic, funny or as good as we may be, it won't matter until they pray and get an answer for themselves. They don't have to take our word for it at all, they can find out for themselves. Really what we are doing is just inviting them to find out and make that change and to get that hope.
I was thinking of one of our recent converts. We had a lesson with him the other day and we were talking with him about the priesthood and how it works. He was ordained to be a priest yesterday. That was pretty cool, so we are going to drop by and give him a triple combination. One scripture I like is in Ether 12:4. It says,
“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.”
That is what we want for all the people that we teach. We want them to be able to become self-sufficient. We don't want them to have to rely on our testimonies all the time, we want them to be able to find out for themselves; and then to have that hope and to make them sure and steadfast and immovable, so that they can experience the same joy and become like our Heavenly Father who acts for himself. He is not compelled or told to do anything, he just does it. That is what we do in the Church. We need to be anxiously engaged in a good cause. We need to do many things of our own free will. We need to make the choice and be proactive, and just do it anyway. That is kind one of the attributes of Heavenly Father. He uses his freedom to choose, and he does it. It is just really neat to see people stay firm and steadfast, and seek for it themselves, instead of us having to prompt people. It is nice when it turns from us inviting them all the time to them inviting themselves to do better. You grow to love people a lot, and it fun and really fulfilling.
One thing I've loved about my mission so far is the confidence you gain. On a mission, it's not always easy. It can be really fun, and sometimes it can be really tough. As you serve and do your best to help people, your confidence just explodes (haha). It's really neat to see, and you just become so comfortable with people, and talking to them, and trying to help them. You naturally just kind of love anybody that you come in contact with. Granted, that is from the help of our Heavenly Father and the Savior. That is part of becoming like our Heavenly Father. It's one blessing that I will forever be grateful for. If nothing happens on my mission, I will be thankful for the confidence that it has given me, and the determination to get done what needs to be done, and be proactive.
I want to bear my testimony that I know this Church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, because I have read it, and prayed about it. I have done what it says. I have done what Heavenly Father has asked us to do – what the commandments are. I have seen them bless my life and bless other people's lives. I know it is true. I know that the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God. I know that if we pray, we can receive answers to our prayers. I am so thankful for a prophet. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today. I am thankful that he leads and guides us. I know that as we read the Book of Mormon, and as we read the scriptures, and follow their teachings, we can learn how to become better people. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I hope everybody is doing good. I'm still expecting Chris to be sooo much taller than me when I get back (haha). Eric will probably be pretty close. It was nice to get that testimony from you Eric. That was really cool. That experience you had in Primary with the Savior – that was pretty neat. I promise all of you that as you keep doing your best, and praying for your Heavenly Father's help, that you will come out better in the end. I like to think of it as when we go through trials, that is like going through the refiner's fire the scriptures talk about. When we come out, we are more pure and more clean and more perfect; we are stronger and more able to carry stronger burdens, and we become more Christ-like. But, at the same time, a fire is a fire, and it kind of burns a little (haha). So, it's not always going to be easy, but you can always come out on top. It will always feel really good when you come out of it. I promise that there always is light at the end of the tunnel. I know that our Heavenly Father will always give us that little break after our trial. It may seem really long, it may be really long; if not in this life, the next life, we will receive so much more than we ever thought we could just by going through those trials. The scriptures say he won't necessarily take them away, but if we endure them well, then things will work out for our good. Because our Heavenly Father is so merciful, it will probably be so much more than we ever expected we would receive. I know that's true and say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Love, Elder Record