I would venture to say that my favorite part of being a missionary is teaching about the Restoration and Book of Mormon. The Spirit that comes from teaching people about a true Restoration definitely cuts people to the heart. We were lucky enough to be able to share theRestoration video with Russ Gaynor this past Friday. My favorite part in that movie is after Joseph Smith had the first vision, he tried to tell a preacher about it. The preacher told him not to speak of it anymore and that it didn't happen. What Joseph said afterwards is, "I knew it, and I knew that God knew it." That just gets me good! I feel the same way about the Restoration of the gospel. I know it's true because I have prayed to God and asked if the Book of Mormon is true scripture. I got an answer and I KNOW it is true! Now I can say, "I know it, and I know that God knows it."
The thing I love about our missionary work is that we never force people to believe. We always invite people to pray and ask God to find out for themselves it is true. In Preach My Gospel it says, "Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke of the power of the Spirit: 'True conversion comes through the power of the Spirit. When the Spirit touches the heart, hearts are changed. When individuals . . . feel the Spirit working with them, or when they see the evidence of the Lord’s love and mercy in their lives, they are edified and strengthened spiritually and their faith in Him increases. These experiences with the Spirit follow naturally when a person is willing to experiment upon the word. This is how we come to feel the gospel is true' (“Now Is the Time,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 75)." Our main focus as missionaries is to lead people to an experience where they can feel the Spirit of God witness the truth to them. If that doesn't happen then people just go off the word of two eighteen to twenty year old young men or women and never really have a testimony planted in their heart.
But back to Russ, having a baby has really opened his heart to the gospel. Their little baby Andrew is so cute! But after watching the Restoration video with them Russ mentioned to us that he feels it is true but wants to really find out in his heart, so we invited him to pray, obviously! He said he would and we gave him a Book of Mormon to read and pray about. Good stuff!
The more we get to know this area the better it gets. We are still struggling to really reach out to everyone we can and finding it hard to help people progress but the harder we work the better it'll get! We are still really lucky to have so many wonderful people who have us over for dinner. We get by pretty well. Elder Cardon goes to the MTC next Tuesday! I still don't know what will happen, if I'll get a new companion or be put in a trio but whatever happens I'm sure it'll be good.
Good things are happening!
Love you all :)
-Elder Ethan Howard