Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2 Weeks Left!

Hallo Familie! (und Freunde)

Well, I really can't think of anything much cooler than seeing 10 of the 12 Apostles at our Devotional last week! You seem to have heard a lot about it, so I will refrain from droning on about it more. It was rather uncomfortable camping outside the doors for 4 hours, but it was worth it in the end. Kind of like life, huh? If we do what is right, the end goal is more than worth it. But, we will go through many uncomfortable and trying times. How blessed we are to have so much help at our convenience!

So last Saturday we taught Bruder Evans (Andreas) and I was just so out of it. I didn't prepare as much as I would have liked to, and when I got in there I couldn't finish a single thought. I would say something simple and then stare at the floor because I couldn't figure out what to say, so I would just say "Ja..." and then thankfully my companion took over for me. I had maybe three good thoughts in there, in a half hour. So, it was NOT a good experience for me. I came out feeling rather down, because our lesson the day before with Floyd und Friedrich (Janis and Robins) didn't go well either (but that is because Elders Botcherby and Robins started laughing and then the situation went downhill). That morning was just not a good start, and my German was killing me! However, I decided sometime after that that I would just learn from it, that I hadn't prepared nearly enough and that we hadn't really gone through the lesson together in our companionship, so we made goals to not do that again. The second half of the day I was much happier, and people actually noticed it! I figured that I might not have been myself for a couple days, just because of my lack of success. But being happy is much more rewarding, and everything is that much better! So make the choice every day that you will learn from mistakes and do your best to think about others instead of yourself.

Okay, there was my not so fantastic weekend, but last night we got to teach bruder Ehlen (Paul). And it was awesome! We actually prepared, yes, but when we got in there we just talked with Paul, really got to know him. The whole day we had actually heard (from Bruder Evans and Bruder Ehlen) that it is important to teach people, not lessons. (That was the fundamental we were working on.) And I was sitting there and I realized that I had been focusing too much on going in to our investigators and trying to push through the concepts I had down on my paper. I mean, we have had a couple appointments that went really well and we just had a cool spiritual discussion, but I wanted to make it like that as much as possible. While thinking about all these concepts, I also realized that I want to be the missionary, the elder, that all the investigators are comfortable speaking with. I pictured myself meeting with a real investigator and just having a good time, being able to laugh with them, having them trust me enough to tell me about themselves, and just being there to listen AND most importantly, apply some gospel principle or doctrine that could really help them in their life. That was my vision for myself, and that is what I am working on. They don't care how much I know until they know how much I care. I have always prefered listening over talking, and I should be listening to the investigator as well as the Spirit. I will have to talk about the important things of course, but as Elder Holland said, we need to listen! He promised that no matter what the investigator says, if you are listening and following the Spirit, you will find some point that you can highlight and relate to the gospel. So there is my goal! Anyway, we went in to meet with Paul and we answered a question he had had last time about where we go after death. So we read Alma 40:11-12, talking about all spirits returning to live with God, and then how the righteous spirits are received into a state of happiness and joy. So we asked him if he had a desire to be one of these righteous spirits, and he said yes. So we told him how we have been given so many things like the scriptures, prayer, prophets, our parents, all these things have been given us to help us choose the right. I read Mormon 9:31, which says that we are supposed to learn from the mistakes of the Nephites and people of the Book of Mormon, and not make them ourselves. Then we told him an analogy about how our mothers told us not to touch the stove because it was hot. But what did we do? We touched it and burned our hand, learning it through experience. However, if we listen to the words of the scriptures, the words of our parents, the examples (good or bad) of our friends and family, we don't have to make the same mistakes ourselves. So that made sense to him. Then, as planned, we wanted to get to know him more. He was a referal from Salt Lake, where he had visited and put in a requesrt for a Book of Mormon. So we asked him why he went to Salt Lake, and also why he kept inviting us back. We asked what it was that he wanted from us. And he really opened up! He had been trying to change his life, because he had had some unpleasant experiences and realized that he didn't want to be that person anymore. His church wasn't helping him, but he heard about ours and decided that we helped more. Oh, before I continue, we asked him about baptism the last appointment, but he hadn't decided yet. So, last night we talked about how baptism and repentance could give him a new beginning, a new life, to forget about all past mistakes and get a clean slate. And he loved that! We set a date for a month (yes, it won't really happen anyway) and he is commited to getting baptized! Elder Botcherby and I couldn't stop smiling haha and we kept telling him how blessed he would be and how excited we were that he could change his life. Paul really believes that Christ can change his life and make him better, and he wants Christ by his side, as well as the Holy Ghost there to guide him. I am so happy that we could bring him to this point! I was really trying to see Paul as an investigator, not as my teacher, and I think it actually worked. When Paul was telling us his story, I was actually so sad for him. I can't empathize with him, but I could bring him to Someone that did understand him. "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause?" (D+C 128:22 I think). I am so grateful for this opportunity, and if I have learned anything in the last few days, it is that the best experiences come after the hardest lows. Rememeber that!

I love you all!

Elder Jalen Gibbons

PS we hosted and it was a lot of fun, and we get to do it again this week, but on Thursday since Wednesday is July 4th. I am excited!

PPS yes we have a fireside thing on July 4th, and Elder Barr is actually playing the fiddle in it! We have heard we get to watch the fireworks too! and yesterday we heard jets flying over. It has been a long time since i heard that. Almost like home ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment