Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Break Forth into Joy!

From: "Heath Tenney" 
Sent: Monday, September 23, 2013 12:00:08 PM

Hey family!
So I left my journal at the apartment today sadly, so this will all be off memory. It has been a crazy week.
So 1st of all, on Tuesday, we had exchanges, so Elder Taylor came with me to St. Marys which was fun. We taught 6 lessons within about 3 hours, so we were busy. We had an amazing lesson with our investigator, Georgia. Georgia is in her 70's, and you will never meet a woman with more faith or more love for the Savior. I love talking with her because she amazes me, when she speaks, you can feel how much she loves the Savior. I want to have that kind of love. Anyways, when we got there, she was excited to tell us about her experience. She said that her son had said some mean things to her, so she was crying, but she saw the Book of Mormon on the table, and she remembered how we told her it was the word of God, so she picked it up and opened it. She opened to Alma 36:3 and read it. It talks about how whoever puts their trust in the Lord will be supported in their afflictions and He will deliver us. She told us in tears how that was exactly what she needed, she felt like God himself was speaking to her, and she could not deny that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It was amazing to hear. The Book of Mormon works miracles. If we can just get anyone to sincerely read it, they will change and draw closer to God. Georgia wasn't feeling very well, so we offered her a blessing, and she was blown away. She said, "You're going to baptize me with the holy spirit in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?!" I replied, "Well, it's not exactly a bapt.." "OH YES! Yes it is!" She said cutting me off. hahaha. So we explained a little more about it and gave her a blessing. She was so honored. She cried as we gave her a blessing, the spirit was so powerful. It amazes me every time I am able to give a blessing how the words just come, and they are not mine. It was such a great night with Georgia.
Later that night, we had a great lesson with Dustin. Dustin is the man. He has a testimony. He knows exactly what he needs to do and what God wants him to do. Now it's just the matter of doing it. So we went into the lesson with the plan of reading the Book of Mormon with him wherever he was at and really encouraging him to act on his faith, because there really is nothing left we, as missionaries can do for him if he isn't acting. So that's what we did. He was in Alma 37, and we encouraged him to write down a question before we started and to pray to receive the answer as we read. His question was something like, "how can I get the money I need to fix my truck?" So we started reading. The Book of Mormon amazes me, it just floods the room with the spirit if we allow it. As we read with him, I felt strongly impressed to promise him something. After we read a verse about the Lord promising something, I said, "Dustin, as a representative of Jesus Christ, I promise you, that if you will exercise your faith and come to church this Sunday, that the Lord will provide a way to get you the $250 you need." I told him I knew he would have to sacrifice, but that if he did it, the Lord will fulfill His promise to him, because it was not me promising him that. The very last verse we read, said something like, "I know the Lord will fulfill all his promises unto His children if they are faithful." It was amazing. The Lord was definitely speaking to Dustin. Anyone in the room could have felt that.
On Thursday, we had a good lesson with Joey. Brother Davis came with us and he was so helpful. Members make the world of a difference in lessons. We talked with Joey, Linda, and Stephanie about the importance of church. They seemed willing and excited to come. The spirit was there. Like I said last week, we really can't do much for them after a certain point if they are not reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church. We can't give them faith. They have to gain that on their own. So they have to come to church to progress.
Sunday. I was praying so much coming up to the Sabbath that Joey, Dustin, and all our investigators and less actives we're working with would come. I was blessing the sacrament, so I was sitting on the stand, and I looked to see if any of our investigators had walked in, but sadly, no one came. Church once again was so nourishing, cleansing, enabling, and such an amazing part of my week. I want that so bad for them. That is one of the hardest parts of serving a mission and loving these people so much: their agency. It is hard when they don't take advantage of this incredible gift God is trying to give them. It's like someone trying to give me a mint cookies and cream shake, and me letting it sit out and melt! But Church is even better than mint cookies and cream shakes!
On the bright side, Lisen and his family and several other Less Active members we had been working with come! So I am so happy they came. I really am so grateful for that tender mercy of the Lord. One thing I am learning that I definitely need to apply more is: joy is not the absence of disappointment, but the presence of blessings to rejoice about! So yes, none of our investigators came to church, which was hard, but we had several families come to church who in the past have not come very often. What an incredible thing! So I rejoice in that. And my rejoicing should overpower any disappointment. I think that is how the Savior was so happy all the time. It is definitely not that He had nothing to be disappointed about (because He had a lot), but He rejoiced more in the blessings He had. I want to become like Him.
I love the words of Isaiah in Isaiah 52:9 "Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted His people, He hath redeemed Jerusalem." We really should break forth into joy. That's not a suggestion, that's a commandment, it is our very purpose in being here. And we have the greatest reason EVER to rejoice, because the Lord has redeemed His people. He is the greatest reason to rejoice. I am so grateful that no matter what disappointments we face, we can always have more to rejoice in through Him. He lives. He is the greatest reason to rejoice. He is the reason I serve. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Have a wonderful week! I love you all so much!
Elder Heath Tenney

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