How exciting about our new stake presidency, they will be sooo good, and just what we all need! We had stake conference this past week and it was really good:) I had the opportunity to speak at it about how members and missionaries can work together to hasten the work and I talked about the 2 keys to success (that I have found while serving), which are first, Faith in Jesus Christ, and second, Working with members!!! The whole meeting was really good-we really do have such incredible members here in Western Australia, they have become some of my greatest hero's! This week has been sooo good because it has been veryyyy hard (haha). Satan has been working really hard on all those we teach and it's been one of the greatest tests of our faith- but I feel like I've learnt so much and grown a lot from it! This week will be another really good one as well, because we have a lot of really exiting lessons with our progressing investigators, as well as Bryan (recent convert from my first area) is going through the temple for his endowments :) and to finish it off Matt is getting baptized!
It really is incredible how much Faith in Jesus Christ can effect the work. Just Friday, Matt experiences some of the most challenging trials of his life, having his family split up being one of them...we thought we had lost him cause he disappeared and we worried he might have fallen back into old habits...but that afternoon, and night we prayed out hearts out! The next morning for personal study I spent it on my knees with my scriptures...I studied Faith in Jesus Christ. I finished personal study and went back to my companion for companionship study...we sang, got on our knees for our opening prayer and then just into our prayer we got a call....Matt had finally come home. we immediately went to see him...wow....my heart just broke as we listened to how he felt, but it was made so whole as I listened to him bear his testimony! He shared in tears with us and also in the addiction class later that day, that he is NOT GOING BACKWARDS! He is determined to move forward because this is the closest he has even been to succeeding and he knows it's because of the Lord and His church. It was so sweet in He expressed how he really felt Satan working on him so much but that he was not going to let him bring him down, but rather "I will keep preparing for my baptism on the 20th". When he shared those things we knew our faithful prayers had ad been answered and we just wept on our knees in prayers of gratitude!
One day this past week we went to see a returning less active man and upon our arrival he told us he had no food and hardly any money. we talked about a few things, and then said a prayer with him. as soon as we said "amen" the spirit opened my mouth and said, 'How are you going paying your tithing?". He went on to tell us he didn't have enough money to pay...we were able to teach him about the miracles and blessings that come as we do show Heavenly Father our love for him by paying an honest tithe. I was grateful the spirit had us ask that because as he pays, we KNOW things will work out for him and it will be much easier in the end- he agreed to start paying:)
Yesterday after stake conference I got to see 3 recent converts get the priesthood...sweetest experience ever!!! And a cool part was, a recent convert Bryan (who is going through the temple this week) was able to give the Melchizedek priesthood to someone else as well. It's just beautiful to see people progress and to see them work towards the potential heavenly Father sees them at. Adams blessing was one of the most incredible ones I've ever heard. he was told he will serve a mission. he will be a leader, and that he was strong in the premortal life. Ahhh, I just cried! I love those we teach so dang much and it's just so special to be with them in those sacred moments!
Matt wasn't the only of our investigators to experience an extremely difficult week....it's really interesting to see that Satan will do anything and everything to get us down, and to keep us from being near the Lord and the truth! But I love being a missionary, and listening to those who ache, as well as help guide them to their Father in Heaven who will bring comfort- I really do have the BEST calling! Life truly is filled with various challenges, some harder than others, but they are here to build us and to turn us to the Lord. I really have found that when I am broken down the most, is when I am the strongest! I am so grateful for my Father in Heaven who does hear each and every one of our individual prayers and WILL send us the strength and the comfort we need. My mission has been the sweetest most sacred experience of my life. Words will never be able to explain it. Yes it's been hard, but i am so much stronger because of it! I trust the Lord and will forever and ever. Yes I am still a natural man, but my fears have greatly diminished because I have HIM on my side. I better understand my purpose on this earth, and how i can more fully keep my covenants! He is the reason I am who I am and I will boast in Him and His strength forever! I have never been happier! I love you guys so much and can't wait to be in the temple with you! (yes that will be the first thing we do:))
We are working so hard...literally exhausted every night, and don't you worry, we aren't slowing down for anything- but please do keep praying for Matt, Les, and Kim! They all need your prayers! :) and us...:) your prayers mean a lot to us!