Monday, January 4, 2016

Third pday

Hey Everyone,

Well this week was a good one I'd say. I went on my first companion exchange this week. This is where Elders from proselyting areas which are close switch companions for a day. Elder Seachrest was my companion while Elder Lopp was with my normal companion, Elder Roper. The exchange started out a bit slow, however later that night we got to teach a great family with some members from the local ward being present as well. We were able to teach the father and five children. 

My companion wanted to use this lesson as a 'get to know you' time, however we soon realized they were expecting to be taught so we just started teaching. It is amazing how the Holy Spirit can work through us even when we may not feel prepared as best as we feel we could be. 

Thank you all for your continued support. I'll try to write down some funny moments to share in these weekly updates as well. :)  

Monday, January 4, 2016

We Are Here to Help Others Feel

To the Missionaries of the Great Texas Houston Mission,

What a wonderful year we've had and what a great opportunity we have to now look forward. Elder Holland has said of faith and hope that they are, by their very definitions, forward looking. We hope each of you are filled with hope as you consider the opportunities that await you this year.

One of the challenges each of us face as we become missionaries is how to not only recognize and understand the Spirit, but to teach others do so as well. Many years ago Elder Henry B. Eyring gave a training to gospel teachers and said, "Often we spend too much time trying to explain to people how the Spirit feels. I submit that we ought to spend less time doing explaining it and more time giving them experiences with it so that they can come to recognize it for themselves." These are inspired words.

Everything we do depends on whether we understand the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. It isn't by coincidence that the sequence of the chapters in Preach My Gospel are in the order we find them. We need to understand our purpose, get familiar with the doctrine and create lesson plans and then master them. It is only then that we can be prepared to allow the Spirit to do its job. We invite you to read Ch 4 of PMG this week which is entitled "How do I Recognize and understand the Spirit." Please look up the scriptures and devote time in your companionship study each day to review what you've learned.

There are a few keys to being able to help others feel:

1. We must be worthy of the Spirit ourselves which will happen as we become aligned with the Lord's will and exactly obedient.
2. We must master the content of the lessons so we can be prepared to listen to the promptings and act on them. This means we need to be role playing daily.
3. We need to learn to act on the impressions we receive as we listen. One of the greatest resources to know if we are receiving impressions is found in Moroni 7:16-17.

Most investigators, when asked about their decision to be baptized, will say something along the lines of, "I felt something as the missionaries prayed" or "I felt something as I read the Book of Mormon" or "I felt something when I went to church." The point is, it is the way they are feeling that causes them to want to change and progress and less about what they are understanding.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the material that we need to teach that we forget who the actual teacher is. Elder Ballard has taught, "True conversion comes through the power of the Spirit. When the Spirit touches the heart, hearts are changed. When individuals … feel the Spirit working with them, or when they see the evidence of the Lord’s love and mercy in their lives, they are edified and strengthened spiritually and their faith in Him increases. These experiences with the Spirit follow naturally when a person is willing to experiment upon the word." (PMG p. 93).

We hope you will all feel edified and enlightened as you study the doctrine in chapter 4. It will help us gain greater appreciation for the power of the Spirit in conversion.

We love you and are excited to embark upon this year with you!

President and Sister Mortensen

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