Tuesday, July 12, 2016

July 11, 2016

From Mom:

Dear Elder Smith,
We are deep into juggling right now at our house.
1) Cody is over. He's the only one packed for Trek. Dad and the boys are scrambling to find mess kits and bed rolls. We could probably find sleeping bags if,
2) The house was more organized and clean. So, if I clean up and dejunk, we could find all our stuff to....
3) Pack up for traveling to see Grandpa and Grandma. Actually, both sets of grandparents, as...
4) The girls are staying in Glenwood while we're away.
I seem to just be going in circles. So....I'll just write you an email and maybe I will be more productive after that. :)

Mostly, I wanted to share an experience I had last week. I went to pay a speeding ticket at the court house and ended up in a line of 20 people. After about 10 minutes of waiting, I had cleaned out my purse out of boredom, ate some old fruit snacks I found at the bottom, then started to people watch. I noticed a mom come through security with a newborn baby and a young son. Before that, I noticed another mom with two rambunctious children and I thought, "phew! I'm glad those days are over for me," and I didn't feel so bad about having to wait by myself. After a couple more minutes, I could hear one of the moms saying, "would you two stop it?" They were at the back of the slow line and it looked like those kids were just as bored as I was.
I immediately had the thought to trade places with that woman as I was now near the front of the line. But I didn't want to trade, so I sat there arguing with my shoulder angels for a minute or two. Finally I thought, "this might be a gentle nudge by the Spirit to help someone out" and I got really curious as to what might happen. So, I asked the people in line behind me if they would mind if I traded spots. They agreed, so I walked to the back and asked her if she wanted my spot in line. She seriously stared at me in disbelief before she agreed with a very relieved expression on her face.

As I took her spot near the back of the line, I realized I was in front of the other mom with the newborn baby. We chatted a bit, then she told me this was her first time fighting a ticket. She was really nervous. I was able to walk her through the process and minimize her worry, discuss parenting ideas and commiserate on the evils of traffic tickets. Her husband had been out of work for 3 months. She received a 'failing to stop at a stop sign' ticket for $388, and they just didn't have any money to pay it. She said she might have come to a rolling stop once but is a very conscientious driver. She looked to be Mennonite with a longer shirt and hair in a bun. My blood started to boil as to our ridiculous traffic ticket cash cow Albertan government. We discussed how believing in God can help us through difficult times. She wondered if she was a law abiding citizen if she fought the ticket. We talked about accountability and how to have a voice when we feel injustice.

It was a pretty deep conversation and my second round of going through the line again seemed very short. In the end, I paid my ticket and she decided to take hers to trial. She felt good about that decision. As we walked out we saw the other mom sitting with her kids in the waiting area to see the judge. She looked so sad, and I wondered what was going on in her life. We waved and wished her good luck. I felt like 'Mom's of the world. UNITE!' hahaha

Anyway, the point of the story is that Heavenly Father knows what is going on in every person's life and if we follow the Spirit, we can be contributing citizens and help those around us. Never suppress a generous thought because you just never know.

I'm so grateful for the Gospel and the promptings of the Spirit.

Now, if I could just use the power of God to help me get organised for the summer. Hm. Maybe I can.

Love you lots!

Mom

P.S. I got another picture of you from the bishop's wife last night. Soon, I'll have a photo album full of you eating supper with your companions. Lol!

From Josh:

The spirit is truly a wonderful thing and I love its constant companionship it has helped me a lot whenever I am confused or wondering about something.
This week I have been pondering over the role of opposition, just yesterday while in sacrement meeting, I was sitting and listening to some beautiful testimonies, the first councelor is being released and we are getting a new one so Bro Paulson (the former first councelor) gave a wonderful testimony on recieving revelation... but as I was listening I was suddenly overcome for the first time with a feeling of being completely overwhelmed to the point where I could physically feel it, we are supposed to go on splitts with the Elders and High priest in our ward to go to appointments on wednesday and I have to set appointments to fill an hour of time for both me and Elder Postelnicu that feels overwhelming and we are teaching a non member family how to do family home evening, while on top of that I have to plan out our days, give trainings to Elder Postelnicu, finding new people, and also there have been a lot of people really ragging on us about what we believe.
one experience, we were going to visit a inactive member the Bishop wanted us to check on and when we were walking up we heard a voice behind us "Your kind aren't aloud in these parts" turning around we saw a shirtless man who looked to be around 50 glaring at us from the other side of a wall, my first thought I was startled and I would have felt more threatened if 1. he was not on the other side of a wall, and 2. if that line didn't sound like an old western film. 
"I won't have you going around and spreading your lies to my neibors" he said
I asked him if he knew what religion we were
"you are mormon and I need to tell you that you are working for the devil, I don't know how you got into that cult but you need to get out now, because your souls can't be redeemed by Christs redeeming sacrifice if you are working for satin for he is a clever deciever and you need to give up that book of yours and turn back to the bible"
"I do study the bible, in fact I read it just as devoutly as I read the Book of Mormon" I replied, after a couple of seconds he said
"The Book of Mormon is a false book" to which I countered, "have you ever read the book of mormon?"
"Bits and peice but I have read enough about it to know its wrong" an answer that I have begun to get used to.
"Where did you hear it was wrong?"
"I am not going to tell you because you have been trained to counter anything I say"
"I have not been trained in anything but let me ask you this, If I didn't believe that the Bible was true what would you
tell me to do to discover its truth?"
he didn't answer for a couple minutes, "thats a good question... I would tell you to read it and pray about it so that the Holy Ghost will minister to you and tell you it is true"
"All of the bible? or just bits and peices?" I asked refering to his infrequent study of the Book of Mormon
"All of it cover to cover, that is the only way you can discover its truth"
"Then we invite you to do the same with the Book of Mormon"
"No it is false and if you are not going to listen then I can't help you!" and he walked off
this is only one experience of a few that have happened and with this one I had been given in the very moment what I should say, but there have been times where I have not, and those times are discouraging because I always desire the spirit to work through me and I love every time I am given that chance to have the spirit speak through me. 
So all these experiences and duties combined to make me feel so overwhelmed and sad and negative against my ability as a missionary. So after Church we went to our apartment to take lunch and I just said a quiet prayer in my heart and felt like I should read the Ensign and I read the talk "Oposition in all things by Dallin H Oaks" and determined that this is a chance to grow and be stronger for the trials and hardships I will face. That and going and visiting awesome members and eating at the Bishops really helped me to regain a cheerful attitude.
Another experience where we met a basher was a potential investigator visit, he let us in and we sat down and started talking about our message, I said that we had a living prophet today, and he asked for how we knew I told him of the Book of Mormon and as soon as I did I could see from the look on his face that we were in deep, and he started quoting verses from the bible, Revelations 22:18-19 and then asked how many books are in the bible... I replied that I didn't know, he then turned slowly to Elder Postelnicu and asked him if he knew, when he didn't he shook his head and said that there were 66 books in the old and new testiment, then asked if we knew what Jerimiah said, I said I didn't he looked at Elder Postelnicu and asked him if he knew, he said he didn't, he shook his head and said something about in the last days there would be false prophets and by this time I was sick and tired of being treated like an idiot, I didn't have the spirit because I did not like this guy, I was praying that the spirit would tell me to know what to say but I didn't recieve anything, because all I wanted to do was to make this guy look like an idiot. The whole time I was trying to respond and kept stumbling over my words and confusing myself more and more, once he was finished belittling me and smiling at me like the child I was, he looked over at Elder Postelnicu and told him to talk because he had been quiet this whole time and I thought, 'oh no he has only been on his mission for 3 weeks!'
Elder Postelnicu sat there for a little bit in silence then simply and beautifully asked "have you read the Book of Mormon?" he said he had perused it but hadn't read the whole thing.
Elder Postelnicu then bore a simple but glorious testimony of the blessing he had recieved from reading it, he knew it was from God because of the change it had brought in him and invited the guy to read it. The spirit came into the room and I felt so grateful for my companion, who though young as a missionary had the sense to bare a simple sweet testimony in the face of high intelect. We ended up leaving having done nothing but my love for elder Postelnicu grow so much.
I love being a missionary, it is truly an emotional, spiritual and physical roller coster ride and I have grown so much and I also know more then ever of my own nothingness compared to God, I am not the smartest person and neither the strongest, but I have a testimony of this divine work, it is the work of God and we are proclaiming the truth of the fullness of the Gospel.
I love you all and hope you are all staying safe.
Joshua


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