This week was by far one of my favorite that I have had. The reason being what my focus has been on for the past couple weeks along with what was presented in our mission's most recent Mission Leadership Conference, MLC.
For me personally I have been looking for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. I have found that building a personal testimony of the Savior is vital to experiencing true joy. I have had many experiences where the only thing that has consoled my troubled being. This past week I had a day where I was overwhelmed and was making rash observations of myself. Elder Studyvin heard me out, which helped, but we had a lesson not to soon after. So what happened was that we decided to go to the lesson.
The plan that we had was to share a previous Easter Mormón message that the church had put out along with sharing the scripture Alma 7:11-13, one of my favorite scriptures on the Atonement. As we shared the message, I felt an abundance of the Spirit. It was something so special to me that I can't really put into words. I found that as I was able to take some of the things that I have learned and apply them to our teaching. The part that has helped me a lot has been having a focus in mind from the very beginning of the lesson. Before my focus was more on teaching them the principles and at the end leave them a commitment that we had planned. However, I found that the commitments weren't very powerful and depended a great deal on the Spirit that was there in the lesson. As I have now changed the focus to teaching with the commitment in mind. In a way teaching and testifying and building up to the commitment, not only have the commitments been more clear and easy to understand, but the Spirit was in greater abundance as we were teaching.
In a recent lesson with a single mother, Luz, who we have been teaching for a while, we had a very powerful lesson where the Spirit was strong.
So we went in, and there was a noticeable difference in her character and in her home. She still claimed that her children were trying her patience and such. So partway into the lesson, I shared with her the changes that I had observed, and I gave the credit to what she had been doing. That is, reading the Book of Mormon almost daily and praying often. She has asked to know if the church was true and has received nightmares, but she has continued to show confidence in us. (Which I considered was a good sign.). So as we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Spirit began to fill the room. So evident was it for me, that I felt my soul enveloped in peace and absolute assurance that what was being shared was true, and that God was testifying of the truth of what we taught. I could say the phrase "the Spirit was so thick in the room, you could cut it with a butterknife" and realize that I have never felt and recognized the Spirit to be so vivid and true for me as it has been at this time.
During in the lesson there was something different that I was trying to apply. In MLC we had gone over chapter eleven of PMG and my big takeaway were three simple things. Teach with the commitment as the focus, promise blessings that are applicable and personal, and bear simple and sincere testimony of the power and blessings of living that principle. Teaching Luz, the focus was majorly on the gift of the Holy Ghost and how it will bless her and her family. Another thing that we had prepared was that Mahonry and Hna Callejas could share personal testimony of the blessings that the gift of the Holy Ghost has provided in their lives, being a youth and a mother. This applied well to Luz because she had 6 kids and is a single mother. The Spirit was powerful, nearly palpable in the sense. So full of the sensation was I of this great manifestation of love that the invitation to be baptized was a natural extension to provide her the opportunity to be a recipient of this great gift. It was clear that she was desirous of receiving such a blessing that when we extended the invitation, March 27th, it was an immediate and unrestrained yes.
I like a scripture that I had read just the other day,
Mosiah 7:12 And now, when Ammon saw that he was permitted to speak, he went forth and bowed himself before the king; and rising again he said: O king, I am very thankful before God this day that I am yet alive, and am permitted to speak; and I will endeavor to speak with boldness;
13 For I am assured that if ye had known me ye would not have suffered that I should have worn these bands. For I am Ammon, and am a descendant of Zarahemla, and have come up out of the land of Zarahemla to inquire concerning our brethren, whom Zeniff brought up out of that land.
In my mission I have found that as I share kindness and sincere love for them, and testify with truthfulness and boldness, the Spirit has testified to me and those I teach with great power, even unto some to accept invitations to commitments to repent and grow closer to the Savior. I can't say that everyone has kept those commitments, but I know that they have come to feel of the testifying power of the Holy Ghost. They have experienced a stirring in their hearts and that is what I have set out to do. I will not be satisfied with only them enjoying our company for 45min and shortly after return to the weekly routine. But I will not be dismayed when they freely use their agency and not follow through with what we invite them to do.
I know that as we do our very best to sincerely grow closer to the Lord and ask forgiveness for our shortcomings and press on, the Savior will be with us every step of the way.
Thanks for sharing with me the family update. I am so glad to see my family living the gospel and striving to do what is right. It inspires me to be better and grow closer to my Savior every week.
🌅 Elder Nathan Benson 🌅
Some yummy tostadas we had yesterday.
I dry erased marker drew our mission president, what do you think?
Zone meeting was interrupted by the fire alarms going off and us having to call the fire department to help us figure out how to turn them off. So we snuck a photo or two.