Alright, I'm playing catch up... weeks 2-7 will be up soon!
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Well, in answer to many questions: My ward building is in Jamestown, about 30 minutes away, it became a ward the week before I arrived. Our ward bounderies are a large chunk of the west side of ND! It's crazy big! We have a set of sister missionaries in our ward too, cause it's that big an area! There are about 150 I think? It's smaller than my Provo ward... maybe about the size of Shawnee ward? sorry if I miss some of them.... I'm kinda rushing through so that I still have time!!! Just keep reminding me about them haha!
So, this weeks update!! Lots more missionary work haha! If you haven't noticed, the church bought out the advertisements on youtube and are advertising "He is the Gift". It is amazing. I feel the spirit so strongly every time I watch it! That has been our main focus this week, is introducing that. I invite all of you to share it with friends and family! It's a non-denominational video, so everyone will love it!
So, update on J. He has a firm testimony in the Book of Mormon! We were talking to him about President Thomas S. Monson as being our prophet on the earth today, and he was kind of skeptical. We invited him to pray and ponder about having a prophet on the earth, and he said he would. We set up an appointment with him for the next day, and about 2 hours before, he calls us. Before we could say more than "Hey J" he bursts out and says "I know there is a prophet on the earth today!" He prayed, and decided he would flip open to the scriptures randomly, and the scripture that he opened to was 3 Nephi 8. Somehow that scripture spoke to him and he was sooooooo excited that God had called a prophet today! He said he doesn't quite know who it is yet, but he knows there is one. We're gonna watch some conference talks with him, specificly ones with the Prophet speaking, and see what his reaction is!
Well, each week we get an hour of "media time" which is time to go to the library and use the internet to watch church videos or read talks. pretty much anything on church websites. I was watching a bunch of mormon messages, and one that I absolutely loved was called "men's hearts shall fail them". It was amazing. Absolutely amazing.
In my studies, I've been noticing something that keeps popping up. In the Ensign Dec. issue, there is a talk about "the answer to all the hard questions". The answer to every hard question is a question as well, and that is "Do I trust God more than everyone else?" There are so many rumors spread about the church, and it causes people of great faith to fall away, because they forgot what they believed in and forgot WHO they believed in. This week I was in a lesson with a couple who had a lot of questions, and they were all the crazy ones that are assumptions and half truths. When we explained to the best of our ability, they wouldn't accept the answer. It made me think of what my MTC teacher taught. She drew a stick figure, and had dots on the board, than started to draw circles and it started to look like a solar system. She said that each dot is doctrine. The circles are our level of understanding. We first have to gain a testimony (which is absolutely KEY) of the close dots, which are God and the love he has for all mankind, Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice so that we can live with our Heavenly Father again, and that God loved us enough to restore the church of Jesus Christ on the earth once again through a humble 14 year old boy who had enough faith to do as it says in James, which is to "ask of God". Once we learn, we must pray to know for ourselves, having faith that God will reveal to us the truth of these things. Once we know of these truths, then our understanding widens, and we learn about these other dots. If we try to learn about the dots way off in the distance, if we try to expand our level of understanding prematurely, we will not understand because we don't have that foundational understanding. People talk about "deep doctrine." There is no such thing. Doctrine is basic, but what is basic for one, passes another's understanding. There are things that we won't understand, but there is one who knows everything. When you put your trust in God, and God alone, than nothing else matters, because He will Never, let me say it again, NEVER, lead us astray. Follow president Uchtdorf's counsel, and doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. as we continue to live God's commandments, he continues to bless us. Often times we wont see those blessings till much later. Remember that God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only son, and Abraham didn't question him, but did as commanded. He had no idea why he was commanded to do that, but he trusted the Lord. He was blessed, and was taught, and we are blessed by his example.
Ok, I'm getting off my soap box (for now hehe). Sorry if it was kind of scatter brained XD
So, Christmas devotional?! Yeah?! Wasn't it great?! Now I know why every missionary I've ever talked to says that general Conference is so great, and this wasn't even Conference!!!
Well, gotta go! I would love to hear from everyone! I may not respond very fast, but I will eventually for sure!
I love and miss you all!!!!
Elder Carter V