We continue to marvel at the amazing experiences that come to pass through the efforts of the many young people serving in all parts of the world . . . otherwise known as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormon Missionaries, LDS Missionaries, Sister Missionaries, Elders) . . .
LDS missionaries receive a charge to teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They are called by priesthood authority, by a member of the living apostles present upon the earth today. They are called as authorized representatives of the Savior, Jesus Christ and are expected to represent him and do his work in all things.
Therefore they can teach with both power and authority . . .
Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. . . . Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. (2 Nephi 2:6,8)
You can't miss them . . .
They have a very distinct appearance and they are pretty difficult to miss when you see them walking down the street two by two. Our favorite moments, and it happens frequently, we will be driving down the street on our way to a meeting somewhere, and spot two of our wonderful missionaries from the San Pedro Sula East Mission. We try to always carry treats in our car, or bottles of water so we have something to share with them when and wherever we find them! They always have big smiles on their faces, despite the 100 degree plus temperatures, perhaps pouring pouring rain, dusty dirty shoes from walking through the dry and rocky paths and trails of the mission here.
It never fails that they have incredible stories to share from their teaching and testifying of the previous week. We are amazed at all the good works that come to pass through their teaching and examples of service. We have seen so many wonderful families and individuals change their life for the better, quit drinking, stop smoking, become more dedicated mothers and fathers and families, youth prepare to serve their own missions. We love to see the light of Christ that comes into their lives as they change their lives to bring them more in line with the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Challenge of Missionary Work . . .
Missionary work is difficult, filled with daily challenges . . . but the many miracles and wonderful experiences make each painful moment worth while.
Not all missionary stories end happily . . . we can testify that miracles do not convert to a true knowledge of the gospel. Proven gospel principles and irrefutable evidence does not convert one person to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is only through the witness of the Holy Ghost, by those who are seeking to know the truth of all things . . . that one receives that conversion to the gospel deep into their heart. That's when the beautiful, filled with light transformation begins to take place in the lives of those who come to know their Savior on a personal basis.
(some of our past and present Mission Leader Council members)
Sharing Missionary Experiences
I thought I would share just a few missionary experiences with you all today -
(Just a reminder . . . when you share missionary experiences, be sure not to share names of members, other missionaries, investigators or the locations they are serving. We want to protect the privacy of each of these people that we love so dearly. Try to refer to them with initials, or in some other way to protect their safety (always an issue here in Honduras) and their privacy).
. . . we experienced a great miracle this week! This week, one of our new converts had the opportunity to go to the temple! We were so proud of him . . . when we found him he was addicted to alcohol, and had a smoking habit. He has completely changed his life, and this week he went to the temple with the names of 10 of his ancestors. It is such a great blessing to see how this gospel really changes lives and makes people happy! . . .
. . . this has been a challenging week, and even though we have been working so hard, we have seen very little progress, but we keep talking with everyone and know that Heavenly Father will guide us. We did have a great experience teaching family history to a recent convert. We have been helping him fill our his "My Family" pamphlet, and we are helping him get set up with an account in FamilySearch. We are finding it incredible that this is helping him increase his testimony of the gospel and feel the power of the blessings of the temple . . .
(Bet you never thought your 19 year old missionary would be doing this)
. . . it's been a little crazy this week. A ward member suffered an emotional attack and locked the family out of the house. The member remained inside distraught, with their youngest daughter, and holding a machete. The bishop asked for our help, to visit the family and see what we could do. We literally ran to the house and spoke to the member through the window. The distraught member was experiencing many great family challenges and didn't feel able to go on . . . A priesthood blessing was refused, and we prayed mightily for help and guidance as to what to say or do. We felt inspired to share Isaiah's words in Chapter 53 on the Savior's suffering on our behalf. And bore a simple testimony that the Savior bore pain and grief and a broken body for exactly this sort of need, and that we CAN rely on Him. After some time, the daughter was allowed to leave the house, and we were so grateful we had taken Elder Neil L. Andersen's challenge to memorize scripture to heart. It was just what we needed today . . .
(Post General Conference lunch with missionaries!)
(Training the trainers of new missionaries!)
(So grateful for the kind words of the missionaries)
. . . I wanted to share with you a cute story . . . a little girl in the family we were teaching looked at her father and said "Daddy, when I'm big, I want to marry someone just like you!". It made me think . . . Thank you President and Sister Klein for your wonderful example. Thank you for calming my fears, giving the answers to all my doubts and questions, providing for my necessities, thank you for your love and for all your hopes and desires for me. Thank you for your energy, your spirit and for all you do! . . .
(We really are not like the other churches . . .)
. . . this week went by really fast. We did have one of our investigators go to church with us this week. She loves meeting with us and loves learning more about Christ. The only thing is, she was very confused on Sunday. She asked us why we weren't jumping, dancing, singing and clapping our hands during the church service. She has gone to an Evangelical church all her life . . . so I can see she has many questions for us in our upcoming appointments!
(More past and present Mission Leader Council members)
. . . a miraculous week, a couple investigating the church needed to get married to prepare for their baptism, a very expensive experience here in Honduras. After taking the required marriage class they went to a doctor appointment to receive the required medical exams, where they discovered the cost would be 1000 Lempira, a great deal of money for a Honduran couple. They left discouraged and disappointed as they had spent all their money to receive the necessary paperwork to get married. As they were entering a taxi to return home, an acquaintance approached them and told them he knew where they could get the medical testing done for free. They couldn't believe it! They arrived to find a group of doctors traveling through Honduras doing free marital exams. The doctors had just barely arrived and they were one of their first patients. So grateful to see the hand of God in his work, and he knows the needs of each of his individual children.
. . . we had a good week this week. We worked with the elders from our ward and some future missionaries, all good experiences. I'm so grateful to be a missionary! We had a very spiritual experience with someone we were teaching that had not prayed in three years because of some personal challenges in their life, feeling abandoned by God . . . but as we talked about repentance, the atonement, the power of prayer . . . the Spirit was strong and their hearts were touched. A baptismal challenge was accepted and this person was finally able to end their long spiritual drought by offering a first prayer, after a very long time. This is what I love about missionary work . . .
. . . we have been teaching a wonderful prepared person for the last four weeks that will soon be baptized. We met him at church one Sunday . . . we saw a man arrive on a bicycle, who had obviously been riding for quite a distance. He said that one of his friends had invited him to come to church, and although at first he didn't want to, he kept getting feelings like he needed to come. He rode his bike for and hour and a half to arrive at the church. We taught him the first lesson and he asked, "How long do I have to come to church before I can get baptized?" We were stunned. We knew it was through the promptings of the Holy Ghost, that he was prepared long before we met him . . .
. . . this week was super great, we have felt the Spirit so strong and experienced so much joy. Someone we had been teaching was baptized. The service turned out wonderful and we had so much support from the ward to welcome him. After his baptism I asked him how he felt and he replied, "liberated", and he had the biggest smile on his face. Yesterday he was confirmed, and received the priesthood as well. But that's not all, he is also going to the temple this Friday and he is taking 10 family names!
(New missionaries just as they arrive in the mission field . . . soon to become just like the next photo!)
(Departing missionaries - who served with all their heart, might, mind and strength!)
. . . I love this work, I love my area! I love seeing miracles occur as we strive to invoke them through our obedience. We had another person we had been teaching and who was going to church regularly, but hasn't wanted to be baptized yet. While we were all participating in a family history activity, she came up to me and said she was ready to be baptized. I don't understand everything about the Spirit of Elijah, but I see it testify to people, and touch and change their lives everyday. It's inspired us to help all those we are teaching better understand the blessings of the temple.
Hastening the Work of Salvation -
It's been incredible to witness the increased amounts of youth accepting mission calls to serve the Lord and dedicate all their heart, might, mind and strength. They are responding to the prophets call to hasten the work of salvation. Their task has been magnified and encompasses much more than previously was expected by missionaries in the past. But we are seeing increasing blessings that occur everyday.
(Ummm . . . who is this guy . . . can't tell without the white shirt . . .)
As members and leaders we have the same opportunities to find ourselves in the Savior's work of salvation.
We are all in this together. With fellow ward members and missionaries, we plan and pray and help one another. Please keep the full-time missionaries in your thoughts and prayers. Trust them with your family and friends. The Lord trusts them and has called them to teach and bless those who seek Him.Elder Neil L. Andersen
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Moses 1:39