This is Nate's email for this week...5/9/16
|Face Timing on Mother's Day|
|The Cowboys and Cowgirls|
|Branding the calves|
It was so good to speak with you guys yesterday. Happy birthday and Happy Mother's Day to you, the greatest Mother there is. Thanks for all of the sacrifice and hardship you went through, but thank you also for all the laughs you've shared, all the smiles you've given, and for being the greatest example of the Lord in the lives of me and my sisters. I love you, Mom.
So today's email is going to be a description of all the amazing miracles that have happened this week. We have all been fasting and praying so diligently to be able to see some work come to our area, and the Lord has really come through.
As of right now in our area, we are teaching 13 investigators, 6 of which are on date for baptism. When I got here we had 2 investigators. Elder Owens and I have been working our hardest to try and stimulate some success, but the Lord had other plans, and a lesson to teach us at the same time. Elder Owens and I were working in Kimberley one day this week, and as we were driving back from an appointment with a member, we decided to walk through the Platzl, which is like "downtown" Kimberley. Lots of ski shops and other things there. We honestly just went to kind of explore, but the Lord came through for us. As we came to a corner house at the end of the Platzl, there were four people sitting outside the house having drinks together. They were friendly and came up and talked to us, and we hit it off. We talked with them about the gospel. They all gave us their numbers and agreed to be taught. It was an absolute miracle. The Lord hand-delivered them to us.
Then it gets better. As we were cleaning out some of the junk in our truck the next day, I pulled out a folded up piece of paper that looked to be hanging out of the stack I was holding. I un-folded it and all of a sudden felt like I just HAD to read the whole page. It was an address given by Elder Holland in 1990. I read it, and I'll share a piece of it here:
"How does the 4th section of the Doctrine and Covenants end? I hear some of you muttering it: 'Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.' Do you know how many times that promise is reiterated in scripture? 'Ask and it shall be given; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you' is reiterated 120 times in the scriptures, more than any other scriptural phrase from Genesis to the Pearl of Great Price and more than any other combination of promises in all the scriptures put together. Is it conceivable, my beloved brothers and sisters, is it conceivable that God really means that? After a little while, my brothers and sisters, we need to stop quoting it, and start living it. Now the minute we really believe D&C 4, then I will be the one to sit at your foot and hear you quote it and I'll write every word down and put it in my little treasures of truth and say: 'I heard this from a missionary today who really believed it.' But I am so tired of hearing lip-service. The very thing that the God of heaven and earth decried in the grove that day to the boy-prophet: 'They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They teach for commandments the doctrine of man, having a form of Godliness, but they deny the power thereof.' I believe we have missionaries all over this church yapping D&C 4, who give lip service to that and no heart and who go through a form of delivery and believe nothing of its power."
BOOM. Talk about the rebuke of a lifetime. But I was hit with the spirit so hard. I immediately ran to the other side of the truck and read it to Elder Owens. To top it all off, we shared that same excerpt from Elder Holland's address with our Ward Mission Leader later that night. When he heard it, his eyes filled with tears. He told us that that same section of the talk was the very same one he had shared at the final zone conference of his mission. He had held it dear all his life. He immediately requested a prayer, and standing there in the entry way of his home, we spoke to the Lord and told Him how grateful we were for His gifts. It was incredible. Elder Owens and I were blown away because we were learning a very powerful lesson:
If we are trying our hardest and doing our very best to do the work, it is not possible for us to work harder therefor gaining more investigators. If we could always work harder, we wouldn't really need the Atonement, would we? When we are doing everything that we know how to do, and praying for the gifts that we KNOW the Lord can give, a miracle happens.
We Receive. Just as He promised.
I promise every soul who reads the words I have written: Jesus Christ, our Savior, means the words that He said. If you ask, You WILL receive. If you knock, it WILL be opened unto you. If you seek, You WILL find. All you have to do is do what you can and believe that the Lord will provide.
Jesus Christ has provided miracle after miracle for my companion and me this week after a night of struggle. We have experienced His gifts and blessings first hand. I have a testimony that the day of miracles has not ceased. The Lord is closer to us than He ever has been.
Lastly, I want to share something that the ward mission leader told us as we were walking out of his home that same night. He said this about member missionary work:
"I do massage therapy. I am not a massage therapist. Massage therapy is the thing that I have chosen to do in this life to keep my family alive, but that is definitely not what I plan on doing in the next life. I will not be giving massages in heaven. So if I don't do missionary work now - the only real and worthwhile work there is in this life - then I will not be ready for heaven because all I ended up being was a massage therapist. I will have forgotten that I was a child of God. When we are too caught up in a job or a hobby or a thing, we forget what is actually real. We forget our real identity, and we forget our only real and true work: To help others receive the gospel."
I hope we can all remember our real identity this week. Let's let go of the understanding that work and hobbies and tv and internet are the most important things in life. Let's all remember who we really are:
Sons and Daughters of the Living God who have the truth, surrounded by Sons and Daughters of the Living God who don't.
I love You all! Have an incredible week!