Well, the heat has finally arrived, and boy it's making it's presence known! Today was is in the upper 90s, I believe. As we get hotter and hotter, you guys are getting colder and colder. Oh, I already miss the cold. Do you realize that I will not have seen snow for three years when the next winter hits? That is a wild thought. I am thinking that I will die that winter of hypothermia... yikes. So how is everyone? I am glad to hear you guys got to and from St. George in safety. I hope Grandpa will start improving. I am praying lots for him. Send my love to him and Grandma. I wrote them a letter that is ready to go out in the mail. Keep me updated on his progress.
This was a wild week for me. It has been a rollercoaster for sure. Lately, we have been having problems teaching lots of investigators, as well as finding more investigators. We have had some really great people pop up, and I am excited to start working diligently with them. :) However, we find ourselves walking for the greater part of the day, making contacts, and trying to find new people to teach. While doing this in the noon-day heat, it can be a test of your faith at times. It is good that we have companions in this work, for alone, I don't know if I could ever succeed! It is good having a buddy with you at all times, knowing that you are both in the same situation-- someone to help you out and keep you excited in the more difficult moments. It is always good to be with your entire zone, to talk a little and learn together. This week, we had a Zone Conference with President Lima, and we had the chance to learn many good things to help us out in our areas. One of the principles that was touched on the most was the Doctrine of Christ. The Doctrine of Christ is EVERYTHING in our work. If someone can learn everything there is about the Doctrine of Christ, he would be the best and most effective missionary in the field. As we know from 2 Nephi 31 and 3 Nephi 11 and 27, the Doctrine of Christ is based in Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. He who follows these simple five steps will return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. SIMPLE! As missionaries, we have to do our best to help our investigators understand these five steps with the most clarity possible. President spoke that as we understand the Docrtine of Christ more fully, we will work more diligently and effectively, and be more successful as missionaries, and in life! I have been studying these topics a lot lately. :) Anyway, the Conference was very good, and lasted almost all day Thursday.
My testimony was also strengthened greatly this week as we had the chance to put our wits to the test in a special activity set up by President. On Saturday, the entire mission got together as zones (there are 11 zones) and chose a special place, in each zone, to do this activity. My entire zone met in a commercial area, armed with many copies of the Book of Mormon and pass-along cards. For two hours, we were to talk to as many people as possible and find the children of our Heavenly Father who were ready to receive the restored gospel. We talked a little bit about the Book of Mormon and invited everyone to receive a copy of the Book of Mormon free. We noted their addresses to pass later in the week. For all those that didn't want one, we gave a pass-along card showing the number of the church where they could receive a free copy. As you can imagine, it would be a little scary stopping people running to and fro, making purchases, or going to work, just to talk about some strange book that they have never heard of! To be honest, I was a tiny bit scared to begin, but after the first couple contacts, it got much easier and soon, I and my zone, were running around stopping everyone in our sights! Talking with so many people, we received many different responses, some being very good, and some being bad. I had the opportunity to talk to a pastor who was trying to show how the Book of Mormon is false (he couldn't... :) ) and in the end, accepted to receive a copy and follow the promise of reading, pondering, and praying. I talked to one lady who began screaming in fury at me, and then ran away. However, the best of all was the chance to show those that were truly ready to receive the Book of Mormon, in which I had the chance of inviting them to be baptized on the spot, and they accepted. In total, our zone made almost 1100 contacts, receiving around 100 addresses, and 12 people who accepted baptism on the spot. It was such an amazing experience. As you know, the enemy is always working when the Lord is working. As we began this activity, churches close-by began making signs in protest and offering free Bibles. There was even a pastor that came out preaching and passing out fliers. This just strengthened my testimony even more.
I am so grateful for all that I am learning on the mission. There isn't an experience that compares to this-- moments when you feel more close to our Heavenly Father. I am happy happy happy, even in difficult times. :) I hope all is well at home, and know that I am praying for you guys. Stay strong and do what's right, for the Lord always is close to help us in any situation. Love and miss you all!!! Have a wonderful week!
Èlder Steven Bennett