Monday, September 19, 2016

Don't let knowledge supersede your faith

The experience I had this week is so different than the one that happened last week. We are still having a hard time finding people to teach, Cage our only real lead wasn't there for our appointment, and it rained a ton. But I luckily love to look on the bright side.
We had this appointment we were forced to go to, because were a threesome for the day with an Elder who is usually in a threesome with the Zone Leaders. This pretty much means that we have to do whatever that elder wants to do for the whole day. So we were at this appointment that he had set up and as soon as we walked in I knew that this wasn't a good place to be. It looked like a normal home with a normal large guy and his tiny wife, but there was something off. On the far wall they had some decorative signs that said things like "FAITH" and "LOVE" and all the other good stuff, and even those signs didn't seem right. As we began talking we found out that we were talking with a man that had  his PHD in Theological Studies specializing in the Bible. He use to be the Preacher at a Southern Baptist church.  I thought "wow that's good because he will understand pretty much everything we talk about." Boy was I wrong. 
We started talking and he told us that the whole conversation would be in vain unless we could answer him two questions. The first being "How wide is the path into heaven?" or in other words how far can I go astray and still make it into heaven. His second question was, "What physical evidence do you have about anything you believe?" These questions were something I thought about for a few seconds and knew the answers to. I let the other Elders talk for a solid 40 minutes, in circles, as the man refused to talk about the restoration. I lost my mind and started spouting the gospel in his face. 
I began by asking questions about his beliefs, and that's when I realized that this dude was an Anti- Christ. He was pretty much Korihor. He didn't believe Jesus was a real man, he didn't believe that God is a loving God and he didn't believe that prayers could be answered by God but he still prayed anyway. This guy knew Hebrew and Greek and everything he had read the Bible in multiple languages and chose to not believe a word it said. He then told us that if we rely on faith that he didn't wanna hear about it because he cant trust his feelings. 

I EXPLODED. I went off on how I know. The spirit testified so strong and I even got a little choked up because this man was so far off. He had been lead so far off. Satan had his grasp on him and he did it the same way that he tempted Christ, though quoting scripture and then twisting it. I answered his question simply and plainly. 1. The width of the path into heaven is faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. 2. You have proof that I can hold in my hand -and that is the Book Of Mormon. I know its true. There is nothing anyone on this planet can say that an didn't know what to do because I testified a long time. We left and the man was no closer to the Savior simply because of his belief that he, a mortal man, was smarter than God.

I learned a good lesson that day. Knowledge is a powerful tool and ally as long as it doesn't supersede your faith. Faith is first. "... By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Moroni 10:5  Its by that power alone. I know because I've been told. Not by my mom or dad, or my friends, or by a teacher. I know because the Spirit of God has told me, and NO ONE can tell me I'm wrong. 

Anyway, hahaha i had a fun week. hehe just to let everyone know I'm still a child, and I stacked four beds on top of each other to sleep on and its fun.  hehe
I love and miss you all

Love Elder Brian

PS. if you read the whole thing I am clapping for you right now.
BTW i ate that entire loaf of Banana Bread in less than 10 min

Monday, September 12, 2016

Okay, what a week. Twins!

Okay, what a week.
    Let me tell ya, being set apart as a missionary is so cool. Not a lot of changes in how much tracting we are doing, but i am learning more and more to actually love it. I wrote the first letter that I've written in my whole life and I'm now loving studies. I am no longer afraid to share what i know and love and i honestly can attribute all this good stuff to an experience i had this past week. 
     We have two hospitals in our area and they are absolutely huge. The other day we got a call from a lady who we didn't know who asked us to come and give her daughter a blessing who was pregnant with twins in the hospital. Upon arrival we found out that the pregnant women was a non-member, her husband a less active of over 20 years and they were kinda sorta okay with us being there but the soon to be grandma was the one that called us and she insisted on the blessing. We chatted and i told her about Maddie and how i have a niece and a nephew, and i kept saying this is amazing this is so good and exciting. I think i freaked her out because i just was so happy for her and her soon to be bigger family. We gave the blessing and there was a good spirit in the room. After, i felt overwhelmed to tell her that everything was going to be okay. We found out she is in about 9 weeks early then they were supposed to come and she was very nervous. We left and i was on a cloud and it was so cool. Little did i know that wasn't the end. She had her babies literally the next day. Twin boys who were very early. We got a call a day later and they said they wanted us to come back and hopefully give the babies a blessing. I was so excited to hear that we were going to go back to that family, but then i realized that we were going to be unable to touch the babies due to them being in incubators and under lights and the whole shabam. We called our mission president to see what we should do and he told us to simply be as close as we can. We got there and the now new mother was so so so happy to see us. She had felt the spirit and she knew that this thing we were doing was real and worth while. She took us to the NICU to go see the babies, and as soon as we stepped through the door the whole world changed for me. This was a sacred place. We saw the two tiny little people in those boxes and i almost lost my mind. This was a visual evidence that God is real, that he loves us, and that He works miracles today. We talked and i was without words for a long time, but then out of the muffled sound i heard them say that Elder Tompson could put a drop of oil on the babies heads. (Yes, the same one that practices knife skills was about to touch a brand new baby.) hahaha He dabbed his finger in the oil and lightly touched the first ones head. I was in the clouds again and then everyone looked at me and i was asked to give the blessing. HOLY COW. We couldn't touch the baby so we put our hands on the Incubator. The blessing began and i again, was almost speechless. It felt as if i could feel the baby breathing. There was a tangible force pulsating. The priesthood is remarkable, it is the authority to act for God. It is not my power it is our Heavenly Fathers and it is no doubt real. I felt it quite literally hit me. The exact same experience happened for the next child and by the end i was holding tears back. I looked at the mother and i knew that she recognized the power that was there.  We said thank you and told her that if she needs anything to just let us know. As we walked out, the three of us (we had a Zone Leader with us for the day) all said that we felt the exact same feeling of radiating power of the priesthood.
       Let me tell you, I can say that without a doubt that this church is the true church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. From this one experience alone I'd be willing to say such a statement. I Testify because I know and I've felt for myself that Joseph Smith has to be a Prophet of God because if not, I would not have had that experience in the NICU. Its been restored guys, I know it. 

I'm learning a lot. Im figuring out ways to cope with my companion and trying to enjoy him even. He is goofy but not as bad as ya think. (Im just used to living alone) Im getting good at knocking on doors but i cant quite get my distinct knock down so if anyone has any good knocks let me know. hehe My comp used to tell me that i need to talk more and last night he told me that he feels like he can't say anything anymore because i talk to much. hehehe- my bad. Im loving what I'm doing no matter how hard it gets, because its gonna be so worth it. 

Follow up on Cage: We talked with him some more and he does not believe that he will ever convert because he's already found truth. hehe We shall see about that. We invited him to a baptism but he was getting food with a "politician" so he couldn't come. We meet with him on Saturday for a lesson.

I definitely don't have a six pack. 

Elder Brian

p.s. Okay so here is the scoop. Everyone wants a robe now. I have worn that stupid bath robe like every night and morning and everyone thinks its so funny and cool. hahaha so if you see any robes around, go ahead and send em my way because people are begging me to get them one and asking where I got mine. Also thank you so much for sending that stuff. I loved the pudding and all the Elders got a kick out of it because I'd always offer everyone a "puddin." In our apartment complex there are two other sets of elders - the Zone leaders and the office elders, the senior sisters, and the car people so we always have the elders hangin' at our house at night and I make them laugh and its so fun. One of them really wants to date Aubrey or Ellie and is planning on it when he gets home, that's ELDER BOTT. He's a silly kid. he also wants me to ask you to get him a robe pretty please with a cherry on top.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tracting and testifying

Hey gang. whatsup?
   It is so crazy hot out here. haha. This last week has been a good week. Lots of tracting and trying to find people, but I think that this trial for me is definitely something that is going to help me in the long run. 
 While tracting this past week we knocked on this guys door named Cage. I knew from the moment we saw his house that this was going to be a good person to talk to. They had bumper stickers on their van that said, "God is Real" and other things like that so I knew they were going to be religious. We knock, and a large black man opens the door, smiles and then says, "Boys, you came at a bad time, how about this Saturday at 11 you boys come back and tell me what you have for me?" Then I started to try to say that we were missionaries and then I gave up and just said, "You bet, we will be here at 11. Thanks, and have a good day." It was the first time ever that we knocked on the door and didn't say anything and then were invited back in a few days. Part of me was skeptical and I was thinking that maybe this dude was playing a prank on us or something because we can never get into peoples homes that easy. 
Saturday came and we were there right on time. He opened the door and invited us in and I couldn't believe what happened. Cage was a minister, but he didn't necessarily belong to any denomination. This guy could preach. I had to stop myself a few times while he was talking from saying out loud, "AMEN," because everything he said was so spot on. He talked for a while and literally ended up teaching us the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He finished and said he wasn't going to talk and he wanted to hear what we had to say. We brought out the Book Of Mormon and he was like, "OHH yeah, I've read that thing before!" and my companion and I looked at each other and just started laughing. He couldn't really tell us what went on in the book, but he had listened to it on tape before and based some of his ideas of religion on it. We asked him to read a few things and told him we'd be back to see what he thought and he was excited to read them. I'll keep you posted on Cage - and his baptism and stuff hahaha hopefully.

Okay guys, I've gotta tell you a little something about living with one dude for a while. My companion is insane. I knew it from the beginning but I'm pretty sure its getting worse,. The other night he had some caffeine and it was a terrible mistake. I went in to change out of my proselytizing clothing and when I walked back out he had a knife and was practicing his moves. I was honestly a little scared but he's just a little different and I'm learning to love him. He also likes to tell me that he was a janitor at home and I can tell you folks that he had to be a terrible janitor. hahah (MOM you'd be so proud of me)  I keep everything I have separate from him so nothing gets touched by him. I cleaned the counter and the fridge and the microwave and the stove after he cleaned them and I am pretty sure if I hadn't of done that we would have gotten deathly ill... okay, I may be exaggerating a bit -but yeah...

Throughout this week I know I've seen the Lords hand in my life and in the work. Doing missionary work is so amazing and I know I haven't felt a happiness quite like this before. Its pure joy when you testify of the love of God and because of that love he sent his son Jesus Christ. That joy is something everyone deserves to feel. I encourage everyone who gets this far in this email, be bold and talk about the Gospel with those who don't have it in their lives. To become like Christ we must strive to do as he did, and pretty much all he did was testify to every person he talked to about the truthfulness of the Gospel. Just start talking and the spirit will guide you. I've seen it happen, I have a first hand account. Get after it.

I love you and miss you all.
Love Elder Brian 
With Elder Bott - visiting the Senior Sister missionaries.
 (All of these pictures are from Sister Gore.)

With Elder Havili. Both of them "greenies."
Sister Gore and Sister Kroupa had them over for dinner. (Bless them!)