Monday, April 11, 2016

March 28, 2016

From Jen:

Dear Elder Smith,
After church, I sat down on the couch in the foyer with a woman named Cindy Garbot, recently moved into Leduc from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. This is what she told me...
She lived in Dartmouth for 20 years with her husband where they raised their two boys. Her son's eventually moved West looking for work, which they found. They both married and settled in Edmonton. Cindy had been wrestling with the fact that her children were so far away and she knew she needed to move closer to them when her daughter-in-law got pregnant. It was a hard decision to move away from a community that had so many memories and was so comfortable for her. She prayed for many months for confirmation that this was the right thing to do. Finally, on the first Sunday in January, she prayed for Heavenly Father to give her a solid answer, one that she couldn't deny. She got up and went to church. While sitting in church, a new missionary got up to introduce himself... "Hello, everyone. My name is Elder Smith and I am from Leduc, Alberta..." In that moment, the Spirit bore witness to her that her decision to move to Leduc was the right one.
She was telling me about the Easter  Dinner she had with her entire family and new little grandson and how happy she was to live here. The ward has been very welcoming, which helps.
So, you never know, Josh, just how much good you are doing by the simple fact of living right. You may never see the ripple effects of living righteously, by inviting others to partake of the goodness of a loving God, by forgiving naysayers and following the Spirit. I adore your goal of loving the unlovable. They probably need it more than anyone else. My advice is to not take things too personally. Haters hate because they have a back story and if you knew it, would have compassion.
Remember the lessons from How to Win Friends and Influence People. ;)
I love you dearly. Keep going. Keep trying.
Mom :0)

From Josh:

That is so amazing! make sure to say hi to Sister Garbot for me, 

I have been really struggling this week, there has been a lot of times where what people have said have gotten to me in a deep way, with people hounding us what seems like everyday, and bashing on our beliefs, and investigators pulling up a lot of anti, along with the stress of setting up lessons and trying to find people interested, I have felt a huge strain on my testimony, and there have been a lot of doubts in my mind concerning some of the things said to me. it has been a big trial of my faith and I have found myself more and more having to draw upon what I do know, there have been times this week when my doubts have out numbered what I know and it has been really hard, I have devoted a lot of studies into finding out what I don't know. 
But I have found that as I have put my faith in the Lord I have been blessed so after a particularly hard day I just decided to put all my trust in the Lord and on easter Sunday we were able to go over to a members home and share that easter message, and I felt the spirit so strong as I bore my testimony about the atonement, and from that point I have felt continual assuring witnesses and this email was one of them, thank you so much for that mom.

That is something I have found about the teaching methods of Heavenly father, its interesting to know that everything he does is for us to learn but he will not make us learn, but help us learn, in the scriptures the most popular teaching method of Jesus Christ was that of Parables and Questions, He used parables so that his followers would understand plainly and most importantly come to their own understanding, this is the same with questions instead of answering questions asked by others he often asked questions in return, this enabled people to come to their own understanding and thus retaining and internalizing the topic of discussion and often even things not discussed, the same teaching method is used by God, in genesis with Adam, and also by the spirit with Nephi, Questions are the ultimate teaching method, teaching by empowering the individual. 

Heavenly Father uses challenges and trials to help us gain experience and learn by us using our own agency.

I have a personal testimony that God answers prayers, I prayed last week asking for God to grant me more faith, and I think that these challenges are because he wants me to put my trust in him, I needed to experience a trial of my faith before my faith could grow, and I thank God for allowing me to have that blessing of challenges. 

I love you guys so much, and I am so proud of all of you, I wish I could watch Sam's Routines but I know that he did well, and I wish I could have even half his skill, I am so proud of Ben and how he is pursuing his piano with his usual vigor, as well as Abby for her efforts as well in piano, and I am so proud to have a sister like Mia, whenever I need energy and joy and a drive to continue moving forward I think of all of you.

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