Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"You really believe in this stuff, don't you?"

Mine and Elder Holman's vocab words project.  I'm Blue and he's Red.
Oh what a week.  What a confusing, disappointing, happy, miraculous, week.  Lots of things happened this week that would maybe have gotten me frustrated if my companion wasn't as funny as he is.  Every single time we set up an appointment with someone, they weren't home.   Every appointment canceled, no one feeds us, Jonathon's baptism was set back since he felt he wasn't ready yet,  and the cockroaches still exist.  HOWEVER, we still were able to have some amazing experiences that strenghtened my testimony and have kept us going.  
I want to share two.
The first one was with Jonathon. 
This week, like I said, Jonathon told us he wasn't quite ready yet and that he'd like to wait a little bit longer.  Like I said last week, he's really been coming a long way against his addictions but dang Satan keeps getting him to fall back into them after so much progress!   This week we talked to him about what the Priesthood is, about how a Priesthood blessing is literally help from our Heavenly Father to help us with whatever it may be that we're going through.  He just looked at us and said, "Could I maybe get one of those blessing things to help me with this?"  
Some of the most amazingly spiritual experiences have been in receiving and giving Priesthood blessings.  With Jonathon it was no different.  During the blessing, the Spirit was so strong that it couldn't be denied and when Jonathon lifted up his head afterwards he had the biggest, happiest, smile on his face that I've ever seen in my life.  He was so full of joy and peace, and he definitely made sure we knew that, telling us multiple times about how much better he felt and about how much he knew everything would work out and how happy he was that he got the blessing he got. 
"This is what the Spirit feels like!" he randomly yelled to us.  
"Yeah!  It is!"  we replied.  
Experiences like that really help strengthen my own testimony and I know that the Lord will continue to help Jonathon in his struggles. 
The next one was with a lady named Evy. 
Evy was a referral from a friend of hers thats a member.  All we had been told is that she was super nice and she'd probably let us in.  And that was true!  She let us right in without really knowing who in the world we were, why we were dressed so weirdly, or why we were knocking on her door!  She let us in and sat us down and began to talk to us.  When she found out who we were the first thing she said was, "Oh I'm catholic."  to which we responded "Thats great!  Why are you Catholic?"
One thing I've come to learn is that a lot of the time people are only in a church because they were born into it.  Their parents, when they were growing up, took them to church but thats only because thats what their family has done for centuries.  They go because they feel they should, but not because they know its true.  One thing I've learned from my own life is that even though I've grown up in this church, there came a point where I needed to know if it was true or not or if I just went because "Thats what our family does."  
Lots of people don't know why they are what they claim to be.  Such was the case with Evy and right after we explained to her who we are and told the story of Joseph Smith she looked right at me and said, "You really believe this stuff, don't you?"  The question has been ringing in my head ever since and I'm so happy that I was and am able to respond with "Yes.  Yes I do."    The
Gospel, to me, makes sense.  Not because I've studied it a ton, not because that's just what I've been told, but because I've gotten my own personal witness that its true.  All we have to do is ask God for it.  Its so simple and yet a lot of the time we don't do it.
My challenge to you is the same that it was to Evy:  to ask.  Pray about it and ask God if the Church of Jesus Christ is true or not.  The Promise in the Book of Mormon is real.  I know it is.  It says,

"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:3-5)

Try it.  Put it to the test.  I know you'll receive an answer just like I have and millions around the world.  God loves ALL of His children.  Of that I'm 100% sure and I testify of it in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

I love you so much and I hope you have a good week!
Lots of love,
Elder Zack

A Runza Sandwhich.  Exclusive to Nebraska.  Pretty gross.... but I had to try it, right?
According to WikiPedia, a runza (also called a bierock) is a yeast dough bread 
pocket with a filling consisting of beef, cabbage or sauerkraut, onions, and
 seasonings. They are baked in various shapes such as a half-moon, rectangle,
 round (bun), square, or triangle. In Nebraska, the runza is usually baked
 in a rectangular shape.  It was gross though.   I wouldn't suggest it.


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