Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Week 4:Always Prepared

I'm not a boy scout.  But I like to always be prepared.  No matter what our errand, proselyting or groceries, I keep a Book of Mormon, one of each pamphlet, and a stack of pass-along cards on my person.  Sometimes I forget water, but that's okay.  I might temporally die without water, but the people of Shreveport will spiritually die without the message of the restored gospel.
Doctrinal preparation has also become vitally important to my effectiveness as a missionary.  And it has to be more than just reading whatever I open up to.  I get a better study in the mornings or evenings when I write down a question first - such as, "What happens when we die?  How can Jesus Christ help me in my life? What do I need to do to be a better person?" or as was the question of one of the last people we taught, "How can I know God loves me?"  When I open the scriptures with these questions before me, I find the most amazing things.  Last night, I was getting so excited about what I was reading, I literally could not sit still.  I was rising in my chair and practically crawling up onto my desk as I read more and recorded answers, it was a little weird.  But really cool.  Maybe that's what it'll feel like to be "lifted up at the last day."  You'll just be so excited and filled with the Spirit that you can't be confined to the ground. Or a chair.
Other quirks of the week:
The other sisters in the apartment have the... more humble side, we'll say, of Shreveport.  Meaning, if you want to get a haircut, you may choose between a barbershop/notary, N Da Cutz, or Whack the Yak.
There are no Del Tacos.  None.  Zero.  (One Taco Bell, but it's like a novelty.)  And not a single Pollo Loco or Taqueria De Anda because this is a foreign country where everyone eats chicken.  Popeye's, Cane's, Church's Chicken, everywhere and nowhere to get a good fish taco.  I will survive somehow.  My faith is sufficient.
Some days the weather says "Oh I'ma be real nice today, in fact, here is brief squall of rain for you to dance in Sister Valdez, and I'll keep the sun shining the whole time and stick a rainbow over there, so you can smile about it"  and I love those moments, but of course, whenever we're out actually tracting, the weather says "Oh what's that? Sauna time? Here have some STICKY HEAT" and whoosh here comes the sweat.  But the last time that happened and my companion and I thought we would surely die, I had the thought to sing.  "Come come ye saints, no toil nor labor fear; but with joy, wend your way." We sang together, our spirits lifted, and we were able to keep knockin' them doors awhile longer.  What a blessing are the hymns of the kingdom.
Sometimes people at the door reject our message (they're very comfortable in their own religions) and say things like "Goodbye, stay cool" and I'm like oh yeah let me just turn off the sun, or it'd be a lot easier to do so if you like LET US IN and give us water and maybe a moment to share a message that will change your life BUT.  As Sister Haviland reminds me, those who have been prepared by the Lord will recognize the importance of our message and will let us in, no matter how we approach them.
And I've come to know that those people DO exist.  We've only taught a couple.  And one of them dropped us.  However.  I feel in my heart that there is someone out there who may not even know what they're looking for, but will recognize it when we present them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how great will be our joy when we find each other.  I just have to prepare myself with doctrine, pray fervently to prepare myself with faith that we WILL find them, and trust in the Lord and in his promise that our work will not be in vain, because of the work He has already done to prepare this people.
"And the office of [my] ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that [I] may bear testimony of him.
And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the [people of Shreveport] may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the father the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men."
May you also find peace in the promises of the one true God, who is true to his promises without fail.
Sister Valdez

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