One more time, Happy Fourth to all you great Americans back at home! I hope it was festive and warm, and that everyone returned home with some nice sunburns (except Mom-- she would never forget sunscreen.)! It is really weird that I could remember exactly what I was doing one year ago, on the fourth. Soon, I will be getting to the point where I will look back and still be on the mission! Well, I hope all was well and that you guys had a great week.
This week passed by unusually fast for me. Sometimes, fast is good, and sometimes fast is bad. Here on the mission, time passes slowly during the day, but looking back on the week, time passes fast. It is a strange experience really. When I think about my mission as a whole, it passes REALLY fast. This week, I said goodbye to my very first Zone Leader, who is heading home tomorrow. It is weird to think that when I arrived here in the field, he had 1 year and 4 months. He still had plenty of time! But really, it sure passes fast, and I learned quickly that I need to make good use of every second here on the mission.
At the beginning of this week, our mission received more than 600 references from an English School, called Wizard. The founder of this company is a member of the church, and every once in a while, he passes names and addresses to the mission and asks that we pass by and leave a Book of Mormon with the families. My area received 20 references that were spread out in every part of our area! It is our job as the missionaries to contact these people as soon as possible-- best case senario: 24 hours. With the number of references we received, we were not able to acheive such a feat, especially when our mode of transportation is our feet. Through these references, we were able to find some really great people, and we were able to share the message of the Restoration with them. We also were able to receive a few funny memories, as some of these people were not nice in rejecting such an invitation from two studly men in white shirts and ties. All in all, we were able to find some great people to teach, and we are fasting and praying for success with these people.
Throughout this week, my testimony was really strengthened on the subject of enduring to the end. We know this topic as being the last topic of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is also the most important of the five topics that are the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can have faith; we can repent of our sins; we can be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; but... if we don't endure to the end, the first four steps were in vain! 2 Nephi 31 teaches us lots about enduring to the end, and I invite all to study this chapter. This week, we were walking lots. Lots and lots of walking. Our results and success were low. Lots of energy used and little results isn't a combination most want in their lives. :) It was in these moments that my mind was directed to the principle "Endure to the End." There will always be hard times in the mission. People will reject us; appointments will fall through; disappointments will arise; but even in all this, we are taught to always look forward, having a perfect hope and faith in all things. When hard moments come, work hard in that moment and show your faith and hope, and you will find that you are being more blessed in your life. Life, is not an easy task, nor will it ever be. We are on this earth to show the Lord that we are willing to do what's necessary to return to live with Him someday. We do this by enduring to the end.
We were able to emphasize this important topic in a lesson with a less-active member. His name is Ary, and we hadn't had a chance to visit him at all until this last weekend. He is a returned missionary who fell away from the church after being a Ward Mission Leader and Elders Quorum President. As we taught, the Spirit testified strongly that he needed to endure to the end. The lesson was a success.
I am so grateful for all that I am learning on the mission. I hope all is well at home, and everyone is safe and healthy. I love and miss you all. :) The church is true! CTR!
Have a wonderful week. :)
Elder Steven Bennett