It's hard to believe that as of this Thursday I'll have been in Texas for an entire year! And what a year it's been: pet kangaroos, investigators running away, investigators almost killing each other, investigators running away again, investigators almost killing us... Oh, and Joe, Chris, and Amy getting baptized. It just goes on and on! Last night I was looking at a photo of my MTC district from exactly a year ago and we all look so green! Our shirts are still perfectly white, our faces have the greenie fire look, and we have no idea what's coming. It's been good though. I'm sure we've all experienced things that have changed us for the better with more to come of course.
Well, enough of the cheesy retrospect. This week was quite eventful actually. We got a couple more Bible referrals which we contacted on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was our first zone conference with President Whitney which was a bit of a weird concept at first. It was done a little differently but turned out to be pretty spiritual anyway. I think what I got most out of it was that we should be teaching members more so that we can give them the spiritual experiences they need to share the Gospel. We had a meeting with all our ward councils and the stake president afterward. The stake president shared something that was pretty interesting. He said, "Sometimes people aren't ready for the meat of the Gospel (the doctrine of Christ) so they need an appetizer (the fruit of Gospel)." As missionaries, all we have to offer is the meat so it's the members responsibility to share the fruit, or the blessings that the gospel has brought them. Here's how:
-use gospel language in everyday conversation; spark interest.
-talk about the fruits of the gospel (what it does for you and what it can do for them)
-go where the non-members are. Community events, boards, etc.
-ask them to serve with you
-if religion comes up, ask them what questions they have about God and religion
Apparently only 9% of people on average become interested in the church because of the doctrine so it's stuff like this that leads to the other 91%. Our stake president also said he believes that much of the success had as far as baptisms is due to the efforts of those who don't see the success. So, even if the person you're working with doesn't ever accept the Gospel, your efforts lead to others accepting it. I'm pretty confident in that too because the work here in Denton is moving faster than I could ever make it.
Saturday was also pretty awesome, though pretty exhausting. We started the day by helping a lady in the ward move to another apartment within her complex. About six or seven others were helping but there was so much stuff to move that we ended up being there 4.5 hours. They weren't even done then. Some stuff wasn't packed and there weren't enough boxes for it anyway so we just kinda threw it in trash bags and called it good. It was worth it though because Amy came to help for a bit so we got to do some service with her.
She's so willing to serve and wants so badly for her sons to have what she now has. We were able to teach them shortly after the move. It's amazing to me how she's already beginning to teach her children the Gospel. They both came to church yesterday too which was great. They were a bit shy but hopefully they'll open up about what they're feeling so we can not only set a baptismal date with them, but have them set it with confidence. Tomi and Oyin are also progressing well towards their baptism on Sept. 17th. There's not a whole lot else to tell you there.
Wow, that looks like a long email... Oh well, hope you enjoy it!
Elder O'Brien (the younger)