This week was really great!
Before I start, I want to follow up. Has everyone either purchased or began to study in Preach My Gospel? I expect emails back telling me or else I am going to keep pestering! I ask people to do stuff here and and never get any responses, but I am serious this time.
We visited a lot of members this week. We pick a city, find all the contacts the we have for the area, less active members, earlier/former investigators, and active members in the area and we go by all of them. On Tuesday, we went by several members. We went to go visit one little lady who we did not really know. We rang her doorbell downstairs and the Wieses (an older couple from the Branch) poked their heads out. “We aren’t here to visit them and they don’t live here,” I thought. Turns out, Schwester Wiese is the daughter of the lady we went to go visit. The mom is less active because she too old to come to church anymore and cannot make it and misses it so much. She really enjoyed out visit and enjoyed sharing her stories about how her family joined the Church in Zwickau and walked to Church.
Right across the hallway lives another member. She has some difficult problems in her life and, despite what she thinks, I think she is handling them so well – just as Christ would have her do. She married outside of the Church and her husband recently let her go back to Church. She could not raise her children in the Church and, of the three, only her daughter accepted the invitation. She lives far away from her children and needs help as she is older now. I am so grateful that we were able to spontaneously stop by and say hello and encourage her and help her. Sometimes members need help, too. We aren’t perfect.
On Wednesday we had our Zone Training Meeting Chemnitz. I think my favorite part of the Mission are big Missionary functions. They are always so spiritually uplifting and so much fun. It is great to see how other missionaries work and teach and to hear their stories so far. Friends are always made! This last Zone Training Meeting, we learned about the importance of likening the scriptures to us in order to teach them more effectively to others; we can only teach what we already know. We also learn about love and practicing it and looking for opportunities to apply it: with members, investigators, people on the street, or even our companion or ourselves (Revelations 3:19). Elder Smith and Elder Feild (the Chemnitz Zone LEaders) taught this acrnym:
My favorite lesson was from what the Schwarzenberg Sisters were assigned to teach: daily contact. It reminded me of when the Sister Missionaries at home would leave little note cards with scriptures and reminders and stickers on them. I still have them today. It gave me a new perspective on how we should develop relationships with those we teach – with those who we want to be lifelong friends. That is something we are practicing this week and is working wonders! We finally got in contact with one man after calling every day – maybe a few times every day….
Today we went to go visit a mine with a member. “Back in the day” that was the main profession of the area; Erzgebirge means “Ore mountain range.” It was super cool… and wet. We had jackets and helmets. It was so dark in there. I have absolutely NO idea how those people did it all. The mine dated back to the mid-1500s. Super cool to see the technologies and techniques progress as we walked further into the mountain.
As we were walking out, the man said that there were over 50 kilometers of tunnels all in the mountain and that we had only explored a little bit. Naturally, as a missionary and representative of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I compared to the scriptures. Many study only the Holy Bible. They see the Tunnel that was built in the 1500s and 1600s. There is so much more to explore; we just need to go forward a little bit more into the darkness. As we go a little bit further, we find lanterns marking the way every once in a while – enough to see the path so we don’t step into the puddles or hit our heads on the rock. This is the Book of Mormon. Our knowledge of the Holy Bible helps us understand and appreciate the Book of Mormon even more.
But that is not enough! We have to keep going forward! As we go forward, we find even more treasures: stalagmites and old tools and wooden structural pieces. These are the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. These help us know from whence we come and our duties here on the Earth as members of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As continue on and on, what we have learn from the tunnels thus far is quite impressive. We have probably even learned a few new words by this point. But, believe it or not, we can discover yet even more: trickling water, where the miners during the last shift celebrated, more history, and beautiful sights. These are the many study aids that the First Presidency of the Church (the Prophet of God and his two counselors) have approved – which God has approved for our use, study, and spiritual growth on this earth. These are student manuals for all the standard works of scripture, Preach My Gospel, the Hymnal, True to the Faith, For the Strength of the Youth, General Conference talks, and so on. There is an infinite fount of knowledge right at our fingertips.
Just like the person who stands at the entrance of the antique mine, so stand we. Just like this person, so must simply go forward.
President Uchtdorf once described our “descent” into Earth from the Pre-Mortal Life in my most favorite Church talk:
“And so, you took a deep breath…
And a great step forward…
And here you are!
You have, each one of you, embarked on your own wonderful journey back to your heavenly home!”
May each of us, regardless of where or who we are take those steps into the dark, wet, maybe stinky mining cave, for the rewards thereof are not only precious beyond might, but of eternal worth. I know this to be true and invite all who read of this to step forward and try it on.