Monday, February 23, 2015

Matthew 16:25

Giant Birthday Party for Elder Stapley (Feb 4), Elder Kummerman (Feb 17) and Elder Shipley (Feb 22) at our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Beck's house yesterday.  I've been around all of my companions on their birthdays now.
This week was really good!  I'm really happy with a lot of the good things that are happening in our area.  For example, this week I've seen lots of good things happening with Eric, the college kid I told you about a couple weeks ago.  This week we decided it was probably time to turn him over to the YSA Ward Elders, so we contacted them, set up an appointment with Eric, and then arranged for them to come from Lincoln to Crete to be able to meet him.  When they got here, we arranged for us to split up so Elder Linford (who I've known since Day 1 in Sioux City) and I went over to teach him with a member of the YSA Ward named Taylor.  That lesson with Eric was probably one of the most spiritually powerful lessons that I've had since I got to Crete.  We talked about the importance of personal revelation and the tools that our loving Heavenly Father has given us to be able to be more in-tune with the Spirit to be able to receive that revelation and know if these things we teach are true or not. (Prayer, Church, the Book of Mormon, etc).  Eric was asking amazing, inspired questions and the three of us were able to answer them and bear solid testimony of the truthfulness of these things.  At the end of the lesson we invited him to church, and he said yes!  From what the YSA Elders told us last night, it was a great experience for him and he really liked it!  He's really progressing and I'm seeing good things happening for him.
We've had some other really good lessons too this week, but I think I ended up learning more that some of our investigators.  It was one of those weeks.  This week I realized that I only have 5 transfers left after this one ends.  That's so little time!  That's as long as I've been in Crete!  I've been thinking about the growth that I've had and the ways that I've changed over these past 16ish months.  I think the best way I can explain it is through Matthew 16:25 that says:

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
I've grown so much these past few months.  I'm definitely not the same person that got on that airplane in St. George and flew to Mexico.  I feel like I'm becoming who my Heavenly Father needs me to become.  I feel like I'm growing more than I ever would have been able to if I hadn't come on a mission, and I know that's because I'm losing myself in this work.  I couldn't be happier even if I tried.  I know that as we as missionaries and members live up to our covenants to give everything to the Lord, that's where true happiness is found. I know that what the Lord says in Doctrine and Covenants 18:15-16 is true when He says,

15 And 
if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

True happiness is found in this work.  True happiness is found in making and keeping covenants with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. 
I know this is true and say it in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I hope you have a great week!  I love you all!
Lots of love,
Elder Zack Paddock