Got to go to the London Temple and it is so amazing! Pres. Shamo talked about how much he loves finding. There was an elder in the mission who was craaazy...he and his comp, on Friday night, went to the biggest footballing pub in town and walked straight in. The boisterous crowd got dead quiet--the barman said, "Hey, what are you doing here?" Elder Carson walked right up to him and said, "We're here to preach tonight." "What are you preaching?" "Well, if I WERE to preach, this is what I would say..." and he launched into this ten-minute lesson. The barman was amazed and said, "I don't think this is the place for that." Carson and his comp left cheerfully, and got in every single door they knocked the next day because everyone recognized him from the pub. What a guy.
Not that we would ever do that--it's not safe, not even in a sleepy town like Weymouth. We talked about how thousands get baptized because of pure testimony and how much you learn and grow on the mission. It was so great to see all the folks from the MTC again, especially Sister Keogh who was so sick this last week she almost went home. But she's tough, that girl. So help me, we WILL be companions!
The temple was so pretty. It was very calm, even packed with all these missionaries, and we spent an hour in the Celestial Rooms. That's where we want everyone to be. This is not about baptisms, but about seats in the Celestial Kingdom that will be filled or empty based on our work here. It's impossible to measure a mission in two years or eighteen months, the numbers we make, or the stories we tell. Some missionaries come home completely unaffected by their missions because they struggled to give their all and resented the Lord's requirements. But regardless of the numbers we record or what we account, as we give our hearts to the Lord and to His work and PROVE to Him that we love Him, then we are changed. The fruit we gather will be immense. I have faith that the people we teach on the street will remember how they felt and are that much closer to accepting the gospel. Like gardeners or laborers in the vineyard, there are those who plant seeds, water, prune, manure, transport, and gather the fruit at harvest. Those who plant seeds are not less vital to growth than those who pick apples at the end, and we can never look at it that way.
Three Steps to Being a Good Missionary:
1. Be obedient
2. Work hard
3. Love the Lord with all your heart, might, mind, and strength
It's pretty basic. It doesn't mean that life won't suck from time to time. People still have their agency, people will still flog you, and England still needs rain for crops to grow. But on the days when you come in, soaking wet from finding and knocking, you can collapse on your bed and know that you did your utmost and you can have total faith that the Lord will use your efforts to His advantage. It's a great feeling. He won't leave you alone to feel discouraged--sad, maybe, but still hopeful that things will work out for the best.
This week was fantastic. We're seeing miracles all over the place. When we plan at night, we pray for the Spirit and at the times when we need to find, we open the map and choose roads as directed by the Spirit. It's incredible what happens--when we finally recognize that that's exactly the road we should be on, then we pour our hearts into finding and we come home with oodles of other lessons and new investigators who, on that very road, were prepared to listen to us. SO COOL! And we weren't even home half the week. I sure can't wait to see what happens this week. :)
Thanks so much for all the mail! Marnie looks rad in her recital--I hope you like the pics Sister Housley sent!