Well family…it was another week and I will fill you in.
First of all, I wanted to thank you for your letter and for sharing the experiences you are having. I really enjoyed hearing about Arick Christopher and his experiences in the mission. I too am trying to change and be more obedient. I have a testimony that by obeying the mission rules, God blesses us with miracles as well. I know that not only is He more willing to bless us but that we have the spirit in greater abundance as well to teach with power and authority. I know that He really desires that we obey in all things, no matter how small or “insignificant” the rule might seem.
This week we had several very spiritual experiences. We have continued to teach a Catholic family this week that we had previously stopped teaching due to a lack of interest. But upon teaching them again, the interest was rekindled and they are really enjoying the lessons and have come to church twice now as a family and have invited their extended family to listen.
We spent the entire lesson talking about how families can be eternal. It is one of those topics that always brings such awe and amazement. It is one of the truths of the gospel that was lost in the Apostasy and is truly singular to our religion because of the restoration. As we talked about how children in this life aren't temporary but that they can be eternally our children, the mothers in the room (there were three) were truly intrigued and touched. It is as if the truth rung clear and true in their hearts. I have seen in the mission how the truths of the gospel have a way of just feeling right to people, as if they had always known them! It is because they are true. It is because they use to know those things! The spirit helps us remember the truths that we once knew.
As a missionary, one of the sweetest experiences is to know that the spirit is testifying of these truths. I am still an inexperienced and weak missionary, but when I testify of the truth the investigators feel it. I know it because I can see how they listen to my testimony intently. The spirit tells me that it has testified to them that it is true. I testified that my family is eternal and all of us can be eternal if we but live worthily. I testified that the church is really restored along with all of its powers and rights such as the right to seal in the heavens what has been sealed on earth. I said, “for me, Heaven wouldn´t be Heaven if I weren't there with my family.” It is true! I feel so blessed to have the family that I have. Thank you for being an eternal family and I will do my part so that we can all be together forever.
This week I have also learned a valuable lesson about valuing my companion. My companion has many weaknesses and for some time I was so focused on them that I began to judge. I think I fell into a trap laid by Satan so that we would have contention in our companionship. Don't get me wrong…we haven't fought or anything but I have had feelings of resentment towards him from time to time. I have now been shown that I was wrong to ever think badly of him. In silent moments of contemplation, the spirit has shown me how Heavenly Father views him: a child of God and a set apart servant of Him. At one point this week, my companion shared with me an experience of how he had repented after a time of rebellion in the mission. He said, “I am not perfect and I have many weaknesses, but I have tried to do my best and I have made an effort to change for the better.” I was humbled in this moment. That night, I thanked my companion for all of the work he had done in the mission and for all of the things he has taught me up to this point. I realized and testified to him that we were companions for a reason and that I had been helped by his example. He gave a short thank you but the best feeling I had was that the spirit testified to me that I had done rightly in forgiving him and thanking him for his efforts. Satan is the father of contention. Heavenly Father teaches us that we should love everyone, including those who may disagree with you. I hope I can change and apply these things in my future mission and life.
I can truly testify that God loves me and knows my desires as a missionary. I know that I am not perfect and never will be in this life but I work and do my best. I know that the Lord is happy with what I am trying to do and I hope and pray that He will continue to guide and direct me.
May God always give you direction and correction in your life so that you can grow and improve.
The church is true. God lives. He knows us personally.
Elder Grant Russell
P.S. I got the package :-) I liked the food and everything. Thanks! The package arrived in about 2 weeks from when you sent it but sat in the mission office for 3 weeks. Cookies were great! Almost gone…not so good ha ha.