“They’re taking the Hobbits to Isengard – guard, guard, guard guard.” Ha ha! You know you have a great companion when he knows that and several other silly Youtube videos.
Oh, I said that my new companion, Elder Strate, is from Pleasant Valley in my last email. It´s actually called Mt. Pleasant. He loves hunting and fishing. He´s a little quieter, and he speaks a little too much English (he answers in English sometimes to people who speak zero English.) He´s got a really good heart. He looks out for others and is not argumentative.
We had a companionship inventory and he said the same thing my mom´s been telling me the last several weeks... I beat myself up over everything. It´s true. Well, I make a LOT of mistakes and it´s kinda a lot of responsibility we have—finding the people the Lord´s prepared, being examples, not being late to appointments, or forgetting things we need to do (which happens about every day).
We had a zone conference in Villarric. President Obeso so faithful. The spirit just emanates from him. We´re basically doing everything wrong, so there´s a lot to improve :D
Sister Obeso talked a lot about our health. We´re lot living the spirit of the Word of Wisdom if we don´t exercise every morning and eat unhealthily. She does not want to see tired, sick missionaries, but happy, energized ones.
President Obeso tells us, with calm, bold faith, that we can have 100 baptisms a month as a mission right now. When Elder Ballard came in February, he said that we needed to open our mouths and talk with everyone so we could teach more people. I definitely contacted more after the conference than before (before we contacted like 15 with lots of knocked doors a week), but I never reached the prescribed 70 street contacts in a week. Well, not being obedient by not having contacted 70 a week is having it´s to-be-expected lack of results, and I´m understanding more how faith and obedience work (more on that in a moment). President Obeso told us that that it´s not 70 contacts per companionship, it´s 70 per companion, so 140 a week for companionship. If we do that, we´ll teach more.
Later in the week, I had a meeting with the zone leaders that taught me something interesting about the Lords´ work. The standard of the mission is about 10 lessons with a member present a week, but the usual is much less than that. President Obeso surprised us by changing the standard to 40 lessons with a member present a week (about 5 or 6 lessons a day, which is unheard of).
When the zone leaders told us this I was really doubtful. The zone leaders asked us one by one if we´d do this, and everyone said yes, but I didn´t respond. I said I could not say I could accomplish 40 lessons a week right now because I´ve been stressing out just to have a few lessons with a member present. I didn´t have the faith, and I couldn´t just say I´d do it just for the sake of saying I´d do it. I wanted to know that I would actually do it.
I thought about what I´d need to do. When people become converted to the gospel, they do it as a response to knowing and feeling that the church is true. They do it because they have read and prayed about the Book of Mormon to receive an answer from the Holy Ghost. I can look at the evidence that the church is true and know that it´s true intellectually, but it will NEVER change me unless I FEEL it. I know that it´s possible to contact that many people in a week, but I may not feel that it will be effective, I may feel that I will cause more damage than good, and I may feel that I waste my time that I could use for other, better things. I can know that I can do it without believing that I will.
Conversion takes more than knowing. That´s why Laman and Lemnuel were not converted even after having seen angels and miracles.
What makes the difference? One must study it out in their mind and ask God, our Heavenly Father. It´s the fundamental promise of the Message of the Restoration. It´s the great plead of the prophet Moroni.
I see the goal... well, not really a goal but a standard . . . that we should speak with everyone and we should invite 140 people through contacting every week. I sincerely know that I can, but I felt like it wouldn´t result. I realized that not one person in my district will achieve this unless they are converted to it through study and prayer.
That´s what we´ve been working on this week. We have talked with so many more people that the Lord has trusted us with, I have been praying to God to ask if this is what the Lord wants, and I have been feeling the Spirit testify to me that we really can, should, and will. My faith has grown, and as we contact more, we will find more. If we find more, we will teach more. If we teach more, we will baptize more people who are truly converted.
This is the only true and living church of Jesus Christ on the face of the Earth. It is led by Him through inspired prophets and apostles. Nothing in this church works without seeking, receiving, and heeding revelation. The Spirit will testify of the truth and you will see the hand of the Lord in your own life.
I love you all! I actually had a bunch more to say, but I wrote it down so I´ll tell yáll next week :D
-Elder Connor Christopherson