Everyone is much kinder around Thanksgiving and Christmas. People we talk to are more inclined to hear our message, and they are also happier to refer us to their neighbors and friends! Neat, right?!
While a bunch of our investigators are out of town until after Thanksgiving, there are still many people we can find and teach here in Flo. The Lord has been able to bless us with finding just the right people at the right time, as well as making sure we have unplanned days -- because Sister Harrison has been sick as a dog!
I mentioned that in my last e-mail. She's since gone to the doctor and discovered she has a respiratory infection. She's received antibiotics, and is now making a speedy recovery. I have to brag about my companion for a moment: she's been so sick that she should probably not be out and about everyday; she's hardly been able to talk because of her throat and cough, and her nose has been stopped up and clogged, making it hard for her to do much while we tract. Despite everything working against her, she's still been able to wake up at 6:30AM everyday, go tracting, teach, and train me. We've been blessed with members who allow her to crash at their place for a while, while I work with the Sister Training Leaders in Jackson. Even so, she's still trying to work hard and show the Lord how much she cares. I am so blessed to have a companion like her!
She and I have been doing our best to focus on the member-missionary work in the ward. I've said this many times before, but members are key in missionary work. Preach My Gospel has numerous quotes on the topic. Some of my favorites include, "Member-missionary work is one of the greatest keys to the individual growth of our members. It is my conviction that member-missionary work will raise the spirituality in any ward where applied" (President Ezra Taft Benson, 1985-1994), and "That is your mission, my brethren and sisters of the Church, that is your responsibility. Freely you have received and our Heavenly Father will expect you freely to share with His other sons and daughters these glorious truths." "We will attain our exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom only on the condition that we share with our Father's other children the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and observe the commandments that will enrich our lives here and hereafter" (President George Albert Smith, 1945-1951).
Although members may not wear name tags, we all carry the responsibility to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all of God's children. You have come to know of the truth of the Gospel, and now it is your duty to share it with your brothers and sisters. By doing so, you not only bless others, but also yourself and your spirituality. Do not withhold from your lost brothers and sisters the blessings that have been poured out onto you from your Father in Heaven. Do not doubt the power that your testimony has. Do not believe you cannot make a difference.
By believing you can change someone else's life and placing faith in your Heavenly Father that He will help you, you can and will find someone who is ready to hear the message of the Restoration. They are out there; Heavenly Father is just waiting for you to find them.
There are also some precious gems hidden within wards that are very willing to do missionary work, but don't know how! Many times this week have Sister Harrison and I been prompted to call or text a member to go to an appointment with us, and on each occasion they've needed to go with us for a specific reason -- even if it wasn't that they needed to go with us! For instance, I felt prompted to call a member in our ward who greets us every Sunday. We didn't know him or his family very well, but we gave him a call. While he was unable to come to our appointment, we discovered that his phone number had changed and that he was eager to come teach with us. We asked when he would be able to, and he responded, "Any time, as long as you give me some warning. I have a flexible schedule!"
This was an answer to our prayers! Ah! We were so excited! We love our members. Getting them out to teach with us is a challenge since most of them work or have children or are simply very busy. So, finding a member with the desire to serve and a flexible schedule was a serious miracle!
While I've been writing, the thought of a visit we had last night keeps coming to mind. Sister Harrison and I went out teaching with a woman in our ward. The appointment we'd had fell through, and all of our backups weren't home. A little disappointed, I asked Sister Harrison who should be our last attempt, and she suggested a less-active family we'd visited many times before. They're an awesome family, but we aren't sure why they don't come to church, nor have we ever been able to teach in the environment of their home. Hoping for the best, we went to their home.
They welcomed us in, but they were overrun with company and one of the kids was having his birthday party. Albeit awkward and unsure of what to do, the mother in the household told us to sit while she chatted with a friend. We looked to the member we'd brought with us and hoped she was okay with this, and she seemed just fine with the situation. Sister Harrison and I weren't sure what to do with all the noise and commotion...but then, things worked out.
The less-active woman began chatting with our member. They talked and suddenly, she asked that her son pause the television as they talked -- which has never happened before. The member we'd brought with us was able to find out why this woman no longer attends church, and knew how to begin helping. I was so amazed! As missionaries, we don't always know what to do in situations like this when a person doesn't need a lesson or a message, just someone to talk to. We cannot always pick up on that, but this member could.
You members are so crucial to helping others. Please share the gospel with those you know. Help out your missionaries and ask how you can help the missionary efforts in your ward. The Lord will bless you for your efforts. I know that the Lord watches out for you, and sends you promptings to help your fellowmen. Be humble and gracious, willing to act on the gentle promptings you receive -- and you will be blessed.
Have a happy Thanksgiving, all! I'll be spending it with the Relief Society president this week!