I've been taught so much in the last few weeks. It's incredible. I learned a lot about how to study the Scriptures, how important it is to sanctify yourself and always live worthy of the Spirit's quiet promptings, and to seek the things that the Lord is ready and willing to reveal to you.
Revelation is so important! If we aren't receiving revelation then we are left to act according to our own wisdom or knowledge. That's like having the instruction manual sitting on the table while you try to figure out on your own how to put together a car. Some people might know a little about cars and are able to put them together by their own knowledge, but none of us know enough about life to do that on our own. We can do an OK job, but it could be a whole lot better a whole lot faster if we would just turn to the Manufacturer for advice and direction. I'm convinced that twenty year old boys can not convince anyone to align their lives with the principles of truth in a way that is in any way effective. We can't do it on our own. That applies to all things in life. We should counsel with the Lord in all things. How on earth could we forget to apply the power of prayer? So many times I've talked to missionaries who are dead set on some idea that they have that they are just sure is the best, but when I ask them if they prayed about it they admit that they haven't. When companions pray about their decisions, if they're worthy and listening, they'll get the same answer. There's no way to live without being guided by personal revelation.
Ok, I'll share some of the events from this week too.
We've felt since the time that I got to Artyom that we should make a good effort to follow up with those who met with missionaries before the closure to see if they still have potential or interest in learning about the Church and changing their lives. We've had great experiences. All but one of them has been home when we got to their door, and of the ones that I felt we should stop by I can't think of any of them who weren't interested in meeting again. It's incredible. When we stopped by one on Friday they asked "Have you stopped by before?" We hadn't. "How did you know that Andrei was home? He just got home from a six month trip on the sea two days ago." It's also interesting that we hadn't felt that strong the impression to visit him until that day, even though he lives two buildings away from us. We have an appointment to meet with them again later this week.
We met with another family who we found in the Area Book. I guess the previous missionaries had spent most of their time talking to the 10 year old boy in the family in English to help him. His Mom, with whom we set up the lesson, didn't even really understand that we were from a Church or who we were. When we came we sat down with the boy and his mother as well, and taught the Plan of Salvation answering their questions. It was a really cool lesson and they invited us back to share more in a week. We've had lots of stories like that lately, because we've been making an extra effort to listen to the still small voice and to follow the promptings that we receive. It sounds elementary, like "you're missionaries, of course you always get promptings and the Spirit leads you every single day and in everything!" Not quite. But we're putting a lot of work into those fundamental skills. What could be more important for a missionary to learn?
I also had one of those classic "that would happen to a missionary" moments this weekend. It has been raining on and off for the last several days, but Saturday early in the morning the rain turned to snow, and everything was white when we woke up, then it started to melt throughout the day and turn into a nasty deep slush. As we were walking to track down a few more former investigators we were going down the main street of Artyom, not far from our apartment, when a bus came and blasted through a huge puddle, completely soaking me, head to tow, in muddy grossness. My companion turned and only got it on the back, but I had grossness dripping off my hair and down my face. We just kept going and let the rain clean me off. Ha ha. Later that evening another car got my legs...good times.
Well that's about all the time that I have to write this week. I love to hear about all the great things that are going on in peoples' lives back home. It seems like everyone is getting married! So cool! Congrats to all of you who have cool things going on in your life. I'd love to hear even more about them. :D
Have a great week!!
Elder Sam Fife