Another week in Van Nuys
It has been a trip so far, Elder Orchard is awesome to be around and it is a great start to the transfer so far, I have had a lot of experiences in this area already, and I am sort of getting comfortable here.
The other day we went to go check on a less active who lives at a halfway house, we rolled up on our nice ten speed bikes to this greasy chain link fence all locked up, inside the fence a few people looked at us, out of everyone in there we were the nicest dressed everyone else had borrowed clothes that hadn't been washed in a week, this tall man walked over to the fence and in a gruff voice asked who we were looking for, we told him we were looking for a member of our church who was staying there for a bit, we gave him his name and he said he had never heard of the guy, by this time a couple more people were giving us sideways glances, this older man walked up and the tall guy walked away to give room for this man, he opened the gate slowly and walked out to talk with us, he had a greasy beard and dirty clothes but he stood with a bit more dignity that the others and I could tell he was one of the leader there, we asked for the less active and he told us he had never heard of the guy in his life... the interesting thing was that this was the guy that told us that this less active lived there a couple days ago, he probably thought we were out to get him, or this less active had been murdered and they were covering it all up... which was a real possibility in the area we were... in the dark... so we quickly excused ourselves and went on our merry way.
Luckily the less active came to church the next week so our murder speculation was out the window.
I was reading in the doctrine and covenants recently and was reading section 84, in verses 45-73, it describes first what the light of the truth is, then what we need to do with it, I would suggest you all read it. Our responsibility as members of this church is to proclaim the Gospel to the World, in verse 61 it says we must be faithful and steadfast in what we believe and make sure to bare testimony to all on what we receive, with General conference coming up we have the opportunity to hear from our Prophet and Apostles and leaders of the church, words of wisdom and guidance, now it is our privilege to hear and live the things we learn, but it is also our privilege to share it with those who did not have the chance to hear from living Apostles, serving in Van Nuys I have seen the spiritual hunger in people, a nation starving perishing for lack of truth and for want of the living bread of Jesus Christ and his gospel, we are commanded to feed the hungry, to cloth the naked, to befriend the friendless, to impart of our substances, that includes feeding the hungry in spirit, to cloth the ones exposed to the elements of Satan's shafts in the whirlwind, to befriend those who are not of our faith and love them into the Gospel. Sam you have opportunities at work and to go out with the missionaries, Ben you have opportunities at school to befriend and share the Gospel, Abby you have opportunities in your classes outside of the church, Mia you have opportunities everywhere, and we all have opportunities to at least strengthen our faith and foundations in the Gospel, we all have opportunities to grow. Abby and Mia don't be afraid to share what you believe even to adults and older people who don't come to church, because you have a power, when someone older tries to tell someone else who is their age what they believe, then they will debate and discuss and will probably not listen, but you have power because in our world today people think that it is impossible for people as young as you two to know anything about religion, but it is up to you to show the world that you have a testimony of the Gospel, and in order to do that for real you actually need a real testimony, so get to work right now and read the Book of Mormon, and every night ask for chances to grow your testimony, ask God your you to feel the spirit when you read the Book of Mormon, and don't only read the Book of Mormon as a family, even though that is important, take time on your own to discover the truths of the Gospel, you have both been baptized and have received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and that means that as long as you are doing what you should you have full access to the spirit of God and it will let you know that this Gospel is True, People think we are brainwashed just blindly following our leaders, but that is not true, in this church we must find out for ourselves the truth, through prayer and study, ask questions, find answers, pray with all your heart to learn the truth. Take the Council of Moroni in Moroni 10:3-5 and follow the council in 2 Nephi 32:3,5, never lose faith, if you don't think you have a testimony determine first what you absolutely believe then build off that.
I love you all so much and hope you are building your testimonies daily.