|Kaytee and me|
November 30, 2015
The Road goes Ever On...
"Down from The door where it first began..."
(What does he mean?)
I will explain later, but first I will tell you of the week we had.
We had a good pday to start the week off. I made Mickey a super cool walking stick that he added to his collection. He enjoyed that. Creativity is your best friend on pdays. What was even better is that it looks good considering how much it costs to make.
We had a great time tracting and finding more people to teach. We have actually been running into a few investigators that were dropped and now we are teaching again. How cool is that. No coincidences there. It's need because I read today in PMG(preach my gospel) about no effort is Wasted. Everything you do is like planting a seed. You plant one, you water it and then you reap. Different missionaries have different jobs. Some will plant, some will water and fertilize and then some will reap. Each is vital in the work of the Lord.
...When people choose not to investigate the restored gospel, your work is not wasted. Your consistent efforts in serving and teaching as many people as you can is one way God prepares His children to eventually receive His servants. He often reaches out to His children through you. Even when people do not accept the opportunity to learn the gospel, your service and words are evidence of God’s love for them and may plant seeds that future missionaries and members of the Church will harvest.
When people do not accept the gospel, do not be discouraged. You have raised a warning voice. You have given them a clear choice. Disciples of Christ feel sorrow when people choose not to repent, but they maintain a vision of who they are and what they are doing. They continue to diligently move forward... (Preach my gospel.)
I love that part. Remember that. I will, you should to.
I gave a training in District meeting about how to understand and recognize the spirit. I shared this story with everyone from the Ricciardi letter...it's long though but very good.
...Teaching with The Spirit
In D&C 50 verses 13-14, 17-22 it says:
13 Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—unto what were ye ordained?
14 To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was
sent forth to teach the truth.
17 Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to
preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth,
doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
18 And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
19 And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it
by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
20 If it be some other way it is not of God.
21 Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he
that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is
preached by the Spirit of truth?
22 Wherefore, he that preacheth (Missionary) and he that receiveth
(investigator or companion), understand one another, and both are
edified and rejoice together.
A few weeks into my companionship with Elder Ricciardi, I was ready to
be the lead in teaching a discussion. I was nervous. We were
teaching a family. The husband was a very articulate knowledgeable
man. During the discussion, I really felt what I thought was the
spirit. I say “thought” because it is a big challenge of a missionary
to decipher if you are actually feeling the spirit, or if you just
happened to be in a good mood. You know…you might have received a
really awesome letter from home that morning, breakfast tasted
especially good, your uncle sent extra money. Who knows the reason,
but there is still personal doubt as a new/experienced missionary as
to what would cause the kind of euphoric good feelings you might have
while teaching someone the gospel. Anyhow, we reached a point in the
discussion where I spoke about the First Vision. Deep emotion came
over me as I recounted the story.
Elder Ricciardi looked at me and I could tell he wanted me to identify
the spirit that was there in our discussion, Ricciardi was feeling it
too. Again doubts cropped into my mind, but I looked at the husband
and said “the spirit is here with us, confirming the truthfulness of
the things we are saying. How do you feel right now?” He replied “I
feel fine, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it the spirit. You
have a nice story to tell, it is interesting”. I didn’t know what to
say, but Elder Ricciardi reliably stepped in. “Sir, that good
feeling, as subtle as it may feel, is the spirit, letting you know
these things are true”. Again, the man was adamant that he certainly
felt good, but would hardly call that the spirit. Again, Ricciardi
responded “Sir, we feel the spirit, and as representatives of the Lord
Jesus Christ, can assure you that this same spirit is touching you
now. We know this for one simple reason, we are telling you the
truth, we feel the spirit, and the Lord has told us in the scriptures
that when the preacher preaches by the spirit of truth and the hearer
receives it by the spirit of truth, both are edified. In other words,
because we are teaching you, we know if we feel the spirit, you feel
it as well.”
Again, the husband said “well, I also just had a cup of my favorite
coffee, how do you know my good feelings aren’t from that?” Ricciardi
replied, “Because there is no reason at this time, as we are teaching,
for the Lord to ONLY want to edify US at your expense of time and
hospitality. We know that you feel it, you may not understand these
feelings at this time, you might not even want to agree with us on
this matter, but we know you are feeling the spirit.”
We were hastily asked to leave this man’s home. He definitely did not
take kindly to the suggestion that he did not want to admit to
assigning his good feelings to the same thing we were. Here is why
this is such an important story. Those verses above unveil a very
powerful concept vital to missionary work. When you are teaching by
the spirit of truth, and you feel the spirit, know this…that the
hearer of the message is feeling it too. Whether it is to the same
magnitude as you or the same emotions is not relevant. Whatever
“extra” good feeling they have, no matter how subtle, is the Lord’s
promised mechanism from the above referenced verses that he that
receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is
preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he
that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and
Now that experience seems like we certainly did not “rejoice”
together, but that was the investigators choice, his freedom, if you
will. Is this so? How are we to know? The truth is, the spirit was
there, he felt it, we felt it, we identified it, and he chose to
assign those feelings to something else. That is ok. He has that
agency. But we did what we were supposed to do, knowing that the
promise of the verses from D&C 50 indicate that if we feel it as the
preachers of truth, the hearers are feeling it to. I testify to you
that this is how missionary work gets done. Many will react as the
man I just described. What you must come to terms with is that the
Lord distributes his spirit in these discussions, but it is still a
world of agency. Did we understand one another in the way the verse
above meant? Perhaps only in the sense that we made clear the spirit
was there and he made clear that his good feelings about our message
doesn’t necessarily mean it was the spirit. Nevertheless, the spirit
was there, we felt it, and he felt it, and he kicked us out, and we
KNEW we had done what the Lord wanted us to do (or should I say that
Ricciardi did what the Lord wanted me to do).
Elder Ricciardi did not need him to agree with us to know that the
spirit touched him, because the spirit touched us WHILE WE WERE
TEACHING HIM THE TRUTH. If you will embrace these verses, open your
mouth at all times in all places (just swing), be strictly obedient,
your mission experience will change your life forever. These are
courageous moments to boldly tell someone they are feeling something
they don’t either understand or necessarily agree with. But here is
the key, many will “rejoice together with you” and many won’t. You
must be ready to make that bold statement when the spirit prompts, and
not let fear (that tool of the devil and the devil alone) creep into
BUT IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THE PROMPTING, you are keeping investigators
from the chance to understand that what they are feeling is directly
correlated to the truth they are hearing. Remember, you teach truth
and feel the spirit, know that they are feeling the spirit too. The
difficulty comes in the courage to identify and explain it to the
investigator, and the investigators willingness to accept that this is
what’s happening. When you have meetings where the preacher
(missionary) and hearer (anyone you are teaching, which includes your
missionary companions) understand one another and rejoice together, it
is life changing. Remember, this event still may not end in the
investigator being baptized, but that does not take away from the
courage to recognize and identify the spirit when teaching gospel
truths, and the effect that such experiences have on you personally.
You will not feel the spirit in every discussion that you teach, I
sure didn’t. When you do feel the spirit, know that the spirit is not
just touching you for your own personal edification and leaving
everyone else in the discussion “out in the cold”. Heavenly Father
can provide you those feelings of the spirit in your own private
moments. While teaching investigators, he gives you those feelings to
let you know that “he that preacheth and he that heareth” are in the
presence of the spirit of truth, who is there to confirm the words
being spoken. Don’t let an investigator who denies or chooses to not
acknowledge the presence of the Holy Ghost make you lose confidence or
else your future investigators will miss the opportunity to be taught
the importance of what those feelings actually mean, and that those
feelings come from God...
For one of the train I gs I read a story that always invites the spirit. I tried it on them and it worked. What cool scriptures and boy are they true.
Thanksgiving was very delectable. We went to TWO families homes and ate. First the Huddlestons. That family is very very very good at cooking. And very good at getting us fat. We then went to the Cobianponces and we had a very good feast there as well. "You know that feeling when you eat so much you make yourself sick?...Isn't that the best.?"(Jim Gaffagin)
But boy it hurt. I think I need to swallow like two or three tapeworms. You get the idea.
Now for the bad news....
I'm leaving Livingston....
My first area come and gone. It's pretty rough. Rough more then I expected. I'm sure it's only a taste of how it feels when you go home. I'm glad I could be here though. His place is really special. Not kidding. Everything about it is incredible and I would have been happy staying for the two years. Oh well. It's not my call really. If the lords wants, he gets. So I will go where he wants me to. That's all you can do is obey.
What was really cool though is that KayTee came to church with us! And the best part is he asked us if he could! We got him from his home and brought him here. It was great how he participates. He fits right in with everybody else. Completely comfortable. Aw man, he is so close! If there was a trail that started where he was and ends at the font, he is so close if he took one more step he'd fall in! But it's sad to leave that guy. I know he will come along. He loves the church and agrees with just about everything. He just needs the finishjng touches and he will be ready. Just gotta get him down on Joseph Smith. Elder Powell and the new guy better take care of him or it will be Sodom and Gomorrah all I've again.
Well in the end, saying goodbye to people is rough. Especially the Cobianponces and Betty and James and Fred and I don't know how I'm gonna a do it with Mickey. But as King Benjamin says...
... Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend...
That's all you gotta do and that's all you can do.
Well I love you all and will let you know where I end up. Keep smiling, keep writing, love you!
|walking stick for Mickey|