Saturday, July 5, 2014

Four Months and a Zone Leader

Love getting Jayden's weekly emails!!

June 1, 2014

We had such an amazing opportunity to meet with Elder David A. Bednar, an Apostle of the Lord, like Peter or Paul.  There is so much I could say, but I'll share a few thoughts coming away from that meeting.

First, faith requires action.  We often pray for things and wonder why we aren't getting answers. But does the Lord really work that way?  Does He just give us things?  No! Faith without works is dead, as we learn in James 2.  If you pray for something, that's great.  To pray in faith means to do everything in your power to make it happen, trusting that the Lord will give you strength and will make it possible.

Second, Elder Bednar helped us realize that we don't need an Apostle to answer our questions. Anything we learn is taught to us by the Spirit.  We are meant to act, not to be acted upon.  Have you ever been in a classroom where a teacher gives an hour long boring lecture, and you walk out having learned nothing?  That's being acted upon.  But then let's say you go and you find something you want to learn about and so you get online, learn all about it, think about it throughout the day, talk about it with others, etc, and you find that you know all there is to know about whatever it is!  THAT is acting. Apply that to spiritual things, and I think that's the secret to learning from the Spirit ~ that, and obedience to the commandments of God.  

Finally, I want to testify that David A. Bednar really is an Apostle, called by God.  He is a prophet, seer, and revelator.  I had the opportunity to shake his hand.  The man was filled with humility, and Godly power.  He was filled with the Spirit of God.  I was humbled to be in his presence and feel his genuine love.  

June 8, 2014
I had a really neat experience this week with one of our investigators.  He called and told me that the Book of Mormon, praying, and coming to church had changed his life. How great it was to hear his testimony.  I can honestly say that was one of my happiest moments on my mission, and maybe even my life.  It showed that this really is God's work.  Our lessons with him this week have been so much better, as we have tried to focus on listening and asking inspired questions, like Elder Bednar did with us, thus allowing the Spirit to teach him.  
This week was fun!  We got to dance with some Armenians!  Armenians love dancing. It was awesome.  

Also, we were doing service, and my companion was pulling up some grass with a pickax.  He swung at the ground, hit a low-hanging clothesline, and the pickax bounced back and the sharp, pointy end hit him right above the eye.  He had a huge, nasty gash through his eyebrow.  It was crazy!  We went to a hospital, because it needed stitches, and they literally just put tape on it.  So we came back home and I sealed it up with super glue.  He was really blessed not to have hit his eye.  Kind of scary but made for a good story.  It's healing well.  

June 15, 2014
I got to have a cool experience too, yesterday.  We went up into the mountains into a small forest to help a family pick pine cones and mushrooms to make food from.  What a beautiful landscape. The scenery was amazing. And being in nature was so spiritually uplifting. In the morning, the mission president called me and told me "Tomorrow we're giving you a change of scenery."  I'm getting transferred to a new area to be a zone leader. Transfers here are 12 weeks, and it's only been six weeks, so that came as a surprise. I'm sad to leave my companion and district already, but my new companion is the same guy that was my district leader last transfer!  

June 23, 2014
This was my first week in my new area, a small town called Ashtarak.  I love it here. It's a gorgeous place, with trees canopying the streets, a massive gorge that runs through the town, and mountains in the distance (the two iconic mountains of Armenia, Ararat and Aragats are both visible from here).  The church is very small here, but the members are amazing.  It's a lot warmer here, and we are out walking in it a lot.  But, it's great.  We're trying to work with members and use other, more effective ways to find people to teach, as opposed to just walking and talking to people on the streets. It's hard work, but it's definitely worth it.  I love being here, I love Armenians, and I love being a missionary.  

June 29, 2014
Just want to share a cool experience.  We decided to go say hi to someone the missionaries used to teach here, just to see how she was, if there was anything we could do, etc.  We said hi, she said she'd call, and we left.  But as we got a little ways down the road, she called out at us to come back in.  Her sister and her friend were there, and her friend made her call us back and invite us in because she needed to hear God's word.  That's kind of our specialty... So we had a good discussion and we're going to start teaching them!  Goes to show that God places people in your path when you do the right things and are doing the best you can to use your time wisely and help others.