From Josh - Persecution:
This week was one good week, i loved serving and finding people and teaching the gospel. I would relate that to my scripture reading I have been dedicating myself to my studies in the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon so much because of the great feelings of peace that I get, I have been working on delving into that as well as keeping up my studies of the Doctrine and Covenants and I have been delving currently into the four gospels and learning about the life of Christ, the problem with knowing the New Testament well is that I have been sorely tempted to bash people, because I just don't like it when people are ignorant of everything but a few verses of the bible and then use those verses to attack us... I have been growing my self control though and working on simply testifying. I know that testimony is the most powerful thing, because it isn't I or anyone that can accomplish this work but only the spirit, the Lord is always in the details.
So down to the heading, I have had such a happy week, and in the midst of some not so happy experiences, there were a few people that yelled us off their property, someone yelled at us and cursed at us while they drove by, we got bashed for 25 minutes by this guy who thought we were going to hell for what we believed, we were told that we weren't christians and argued when we said we were, someone tried to use persuasion and logic to explain that there was no true church on the earth (which wasn't too bad because it was kind of refreshing to see someone else had a testimony of the apostasy)
It has been a learning experience because I thought that I was immune to some of the bashing techniques out there, but even then I was kind of shaken by one guy who really was adamant that we were wrong, so i have been really praying and searching for the will of God in what is true, and will be doing that for the rest of my life, "Our testimony today is not strong enough for the trials tomorrow" is a quote I heard from another missionary, that is why we need to dedicate ourselves to our studies, at least a portion of the morning, because we need to sharpen our swords and strengthen our shields.
I have been buying more vegetables to be more healthy, I have been realizing that I have not been having the healthiest food my whole mission, and my companion is a health nut so I am hoping to piggy back off of his healthiness outlook and do better.
One thing I have been enjoying is learning how my trials were for a reason, last year I went through the hardest time of my life, at the beginning of my mission I lost my testimony and went atheist for a little bit, but thanks to the tender mercies of the Lord and those around me I gained a stronger testimony and now I am able to bear it with a stronger conviction. When I first trained I was hit hard with a sense of being overwhelmed, I was so overwhelmed that one Sunday in sacrament meeting I could feel a literal crushing weight in my chest and for a few minutes I couldn't breath, I was nearly lost in doubt and negativity. But i was able to get through it, and now another missionary in the district is training and experiencing exactly the same thing, and I can relate to that and help in ways I couldn't if I hadn't gone through that. Every trial we go through in life is for a reason. Some people struggle to see that.
We have been teaching this less active girl who struggles with her belief in God and the church, she does not understand why bad things happen to good people and why God would allow bad to happen in the world if he loves us why would he let bad things go on? and we have been trying to explain to her the plan of salvation and agency of man and help her to see this is all for a purpose, and also that compared to our life before and our life after our earth life is nothing, it will start and end in a blip compared to our eternal life, I read somewhere in the scriptures that time is only measured by men and not God. That is why it is so important to maintain an eternal perspective.
I love the word "Maintain" because it denotes a cultivation, not just a one time thing.
We have been working a lot with the ward members to help our investigators be fellowshipped into the ward, we are currently teaching one lady that has cerebral palsy in a miner degree and has intense learning issues so we have been slowly working with her and her mom to get ready for baptism on the 23 of September, she struggles to answer the baptismal questions because the way they are worded it is really a struggle for her to comprehend what they are asking. So that is an adventure, the other person we have on date for september 30, her name is Ashleigh Soucy he had brain cancer and can't remember anything we say until the next week, which is a hard problem to work with, the rest of our investigators are not progressing so we need to somehow help them to keep commitments and start coming to church.
I love you all so much, I can't wait to be able to get to know you all... again. Hope that all is well if there is any questions you have send them my way and I will try my best to answer.
1 IT RAINED MID SUMMER!
2 Member from Saugus 3rd ward stopped us when we were walking on the street and gave us sprites
3 From the top of our area
4 Us at the top of the area.