Monday, November 7, 2016

Teach the Atonement

More Idaho Sky

Dear Family,

Another week gone! It went by so quickly, and I realized this morning that I had no idea what I would share in my email today. Luckily, I have been somewhat consistent with my journal, so I still have some wonderful things that I can share. 

One highlight from this week is that while we were tracting, someone actually let us in and teach the restoration! It was unbelievable, no one does that. But we had about 15 minutes before our appointment so we decided to just knock on a couple of doors, not really expecting much. Thankfully, the Lord has greater expectations for us than we do, because we knocked on S.'s door and she let us in. She is this super sweet lady, all of her children are grown and have a couple of kids of their own. Family is really important to her, and she is a pretty strong Christian, so she was open and receptive to us as representatives of Christ. We taught her the whole restoration, and even though she has lived in Idaho for a many years, she never really knew who Joseph Smith was or what the Book of Mormon is about, so it was cool to introduce her to it all. When we asked if she wanted to learn more, she said she had to talk to her husband about it, but she said we could come back the same time next week. We will follow up with her probably tomorrow, so I will send updates on that. 

Also, we are planning A.'s baptism! The real miracle is that she told her family and they did not get angry or hostile. We have been praying for this a lot, so it is definitely an answer to prayer. They don't support her decision, but they are going to come to the baptism. Please pray that the Spirit will touch their hearts and they can see that this church is not bad, but a glorious blessing from Heavenly Father that He has given to us to return to Him. I feel like we really haven't had a hand at all in A.'s conversion, she has just been so blessed with friends who love her enough to share this message with her. I am just so thankful for this opportunity that we had to teach her the lessons and help her get to baptism, I know the Lord has so much in store for her and that her choice will bless countless lives. 

Another miracle from tracting is T. and M.'s family. When we tracted into them, T. told us we could come back another time and we were like, "We totally will." When we knocked on their door a week later, he was a little surprised that we had come back but invited us to come in anyway. Their whole family was there, just making zucchini bread, and we ended up staying for a really long time, just talking to them and getting to know their family. The zucchini bread was almost finished baking by the time we got to share a message with them. We shared John 3:16-17 and Alma7:11-13 and talked about God's love for us, as manifested by Him sending His Son to save us. M. told us about how she has felt God's love significantly for her, and we felt the Spirit really strong. We were able to leave a Book of Mormon with them and T. committed to read it. We will go back and see how they are doing this week, but we already have such a great love for their family and can see how greatly the gospel will bless their lives.

J. was a huge focus this week.  As she has learned more and more about the church and has come closer to learning and knowing the truth for herself, the adversary has been working really hard on her. People have been trying really hard to keep her away from the church. But, the incredible thing is that all of these bad influences that have popped up since we started meeting with her have only made her believe that this is the true church. I could hardly believe her when she said that. We didn't have to tell her that there is always opposition where the truth and the good is, she already made that connection for herself. And she is just pushing back harder, continuing to meet with us and continuing to learn about the truth.  It was funny because in one of our lessons, she went off on a rant on how we need to stop calling ourselves Mormons because we don't worship Mormon, we worship Jesus Christ and we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We totally agreed with her and said that our leaders have been doing their best to get us to call the church by its real name. She also asks some really hard questions sometimes, and I am just getting a testimony of how we need to let the Spirit teach. If we try and answer all of her questions with our own reasoning and our own words, she is not going to get the truth. But, if we trust that the Spirit is going to teach her, then she will get answers from the only real source of truth, which is Heavenly Father. I love teaching her so much, it is really helping me to rediscover my love for the gospel as I think about what it must be like for her to learn all of these things for the first time. The truths that we have thanks to the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith are so simple but also so profound, they are the answers to some of life's most profound questions. This morning, I read President Uchtdorf's talk, "O How Great the Plan of OurGod!" and it was a little life changing, as President Uchtorf's talks always are. I love how he points out these simple truths of the gospel:

 "We are surrounded by such an astonishing wealth of light and truth that I wonder if we truly appreciate what we have.

Think of those early disciples who walked and talked with the Savior during His earthly ministry. Imagine the thanksgiving and reverence that must have flooded their hearts and filled their minds when they saw Him risen from the tomb, when they felt the wounds in His hands. Their lives would never be the same!
Think of the early Saints of this dispensation who knew the Prophet Joseph Smith and heard him preach the restored gospel. Imagine how they must have felt to know that the veil between heaven and earth had parted again, shedding light and knowledge upon the world from our celestial home above.
But most of all, think of how you felt when for the first time you believed and understood that you are truly a child of God; that Jesus Christ willingly suffered for your sins so that you may be clean again; that priesthood power is real and can bind you to your loved ones for time and for all eternity; that there is a living prophet on the earth today. Isn’t that wonderful and amazing?"
I just have so much love for this, and could never really say it better. Teaching J. has helped me so much to ponder and appreciate the beautiful truths of the gospel and I am so thankful for that. 
One thing that I am seeing as we teach and serve more people, is that I have had very little pain or hardship in my life. And so many of the people that we talk to have a lot of it. While I would never ask for a different life or ask for these hard things to have happened to me, it has been really hard to listen to these people's stories and have no idea what comfort I could give them, because I have no idea what they are going through. They always say that you are prepared for your mission and that there are very specific people that you are supposed to meet and teach. But I felt like I had no preparation for these people. I soon realized after thinking this that there is something infinitely better that we can offer than anything I could ever have. And that is the atonement of Jesus Christ. Christ suffered for all of our sins, pains, sorrows, and afflictions. He knows exactly what these people are feeling and He knows exactly how to comfort and help them. And so its okay, I don't have to know what these people are going through because someone a lot better already does. 
Sister Jensen
I finally decorated my planner.

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