Week 15 in the Utah Provo Mission

My zone at a Zone Conference.

My zone at a Zone Conference.

January 12, 2015

I love that title Brother Baskett came up with: “The Third Companion.” It summarizes a lot of what I am learning and experiencing while here serving the Lord: coming to recognize Him, learning His character, and serving alongside Him to help His children come to know Him as well. It would be fun to write a book like that and share my experiences and things I learned. 🙂

Gosh, I can’t believe that Elizabeth already a college student. It seems just like yesterday that we were just children playing games together and he we are today — me off serving the Lord and her off at school learning and coming to know Him as well. When I went off to college for the first time, yes, it was scary, but I also felt prepared. I felt like it was time for me to go. Elizabeth will learn a little bit about that while she is off at school. Going away from home can be hard at first.

During their first few years, children grow up in the protection and presence of their parents, who nourish, teach, and protect their children and help them prepare to go off on their own and have their own family. And then come the time when they need to go out on their own and put in practice what they have learned. Living away from home can be hard and stressful, and they miss their parents, but through this experience they learn to be self-reliant and grow more than they could if they were always relying on others to do things for them. And when they do return to their parent, oh the joy and hugs and gladness to see their loved ones again.

In the same way, before this life, we lived as spirit children in the presence of our Father in Heaven, who has a perfected, resurrected body of flesh and bone. We walked and talked with Him; we learned from Him and wanted to become like Him. But then it came the time when we had learned all we could where we were and needed to “leave the nest,” come to earth, receive physical bodies, and learn from our own experience to become fathers and mothers like our heavenly parents. Here on earth we are “away from home,” away from our heavenly parents for a season, but after this life we will see our heavenly parents again. We will recognize His face, and how joyful that reunion will be when we return home.

Here I am standing in the snow but loving every minute of serving the Lord here in Provo.

Here I am standing in the snow but loving every minute of serving the Lord here in Provo.

This week has been full of miracles. With an inspired plan from the Lord through our leaders and much fasting on our part, miracles happened. With the leaders, we came up with a plan (a calendar) with each organization in the ward (RS, Priesthood, YM/YW, and Primary) to take one week of month and go out with us to visit and help with lessons with investigators. And we have had SO much success! I have served in this area for almost three months, and I now have a testimony of how working with the members really makes a difference! We had two times the amount of lessons and met new families and individuals who are prepared by the Lord!

One thing I learned this week is how we each have our own personal wildernesses that we are traveling through. One of mine is the fear of making mistakes when I speak Spanish. This week we had more miracles, and it’s during those miracles and successes I have found that Satan is starting to attack more fiercely. During our lessons, I had a lot of mind battles with Satan — him telling me that I’m not good enough, that if I open my mouth that I will fail, and that it would just be better for me to be silent. I talked with Hermana Lopez about this. I have found that when I give in to this fear, I can’t speak. My mouth is shut and I lose track of what the families are saying. My Spanish — all my effort to learn it, all the work the Lord has put into me — goes down the drain. However, when I am more scared of not speaking and these children of God not having the gospel, I am amazed at what comes out of my mouth. My motto now is: I fear God more than man. God is firm, and I can rely on Him. The other night I read my patriarchal blessing and fell down on my knees and asked God why Spanish isn’t coming as quickly as I would like. It was then (and after a priesthood blessing and zone training meeting) that I learned that it is in these wildernesses that we really grow close to the Lord and grow to love His children (1 Nefi 17:1-3), and these wildernesses become a holy place (Mosiah 18:30). Challenges are blessings in disguise.

My scripture for the week: Luke 15:1-5. Heavenly Father loves all of His children. Each one is indispensable and irreplaceable to Him. He wants 100% of His children back. We may feel that if 1% of His children go astray, He has 99% still there, and that is a lot. However, that 1% is so important to Him that He would go into the dangerous wilderness to find them. That is how precious each of His children are — that He gave His Son to die for us — us, the unprofitable servants — so that we could return to live with Him again. (And Mom, thanks for your insights from 1 Nephi — I love how praying and pondering the scriptures opens the windows of heaven and invites the spirit to illuminate our minds. 1 Nephi 1 means a lot to me now — especially with how it truly is the perfect beginning to the Book of Mormon! It teaches so many doctrines and principles.)

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