Monday, August 17, 2015

Ft. Lauderdale West 8-17-2015


What a great day to be alive! It was so good to hear about all of your adventures on your last week of summer! I can't believe summer is already over!!! Have fun in school everybody!!!

This week I learned some super valuable lessons that I would like to share with all of you: 

#1: the Book of Mormon can truly change people's hearts and lives. We have this investigator her name is Shanice. She was really cool from the very first time we met her. But 2 weeks ago she came to church, and at church she was asking all these dumb anti questions that she had looked up on the internet the night before. We answered them all, but it didn't seem like it was enough for her. I don't know what it has been, but I have never encountered so many people being anti-ed as I have here in Ft. Laud. I'm so sick of it! But anyway, at church we promised her that if she would read the book of Mormon every night that week her questions would be answered. But we left church still feeling a little bit unsure as to what she was going to decide. Then on tuesday we go over again and follow-up with her reading. She then tells us about how she had read all of the introduction testimonies of the witnesses and from 1 Nephi 1 to 1 Nephi 20 in 1 day! Our jaws about hit the floor! The best part about it was that she could tell us everything that she read in full detail! One quote that she said was, "Nephi's Brothers, laman and Lemuel, man those dudes are bums! They complain about everything" Haha it was amazing! She did a complete 180, she went from almost dropping us to now accepting everything that we teach her. She's gone from smoking 1 pack of cigarettes a day, to now smoking none, in just 5 days! It all just came because she actually took the time to not just read, but STUDY from the Book of Mormon. Now she's in 2 Nephi 9. She came to Stake conference this past weekend, loved it, and should be getting baptized this Saturday!

Just like with Shanice it was the same with me. I look back to before my mission, and no real change or preparation for my mission happened until I actually started to study the book of Mormon. I'm so grateful for it, and for the changes it has helped me make in my life! I know it is true, and that it can help us all change if we just do our part! 

Alright, Lesson #2: All we have to do is just be obedient!   

 So in Personal Study I was reading in Jacob 4, and I learned something important from verse 14. It says, "But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble." The part that stands out to me is that it says the Jews, "looked beyond the mark", and because they looked beyond the mark, they fell and became confused. It was literally just too simple for them to understand!! They were looking for some giant sign or miraculous appearance of the Messiah when He was right in front of their faces! I related this back to myself because I think sometimes I do the same thing. There is a scripture in Mosiah 2 that says something along the lines of, "all that God asks of you is too Obey." Sometimes as missionary I get caught up in trying to look, "beyond the mark". Maybe it's trying to look for some secret to a finding approach. Or looking for a secret to teaching skills. When in reality none of that matters at all. ALL that God asks of US is to OBEY. To be EXACTLY Obedient. I remember at the beginning of my mission I was always trying to improve my teaching skills, or my people skills, and stuff like that. Then one day I went on an exchange with the assistants. I was with E. Ovard. I really looked up to him, and I thought he was some "Super Star Legendary Missionary" that knew how to teach perfectly and just baptized everyone. And while we were on the exchange working, it hit me. There's nothing that E. Ovard does that I couldn't do. His spanish wasn't perfect. He got tired at times too. He didn't always know how to best help people, or what to do in certain situations. But the reason why he was so successful as a missionary was because he was obedient. That was it! And now here I am in his same spot and I look back to that day, and I can honestly say that not much has changed in my missionary skills! My spanish still isn't perfect. I still struggle to make perfect plans. I still struggle knowing what to say in certain situations. Yes, I have improved in a lot of aspects, but none of that ever would of came had I not first been as Obedient as possible. I'm still just as immature as I was at the beginning of my mission, but I know that I've been able to see so many miracles just from Obedience. 

I know it is the same for all of us. We all can see miracles in our lives if we will just be obedient! I'm so grateful for my mission and the lessons that I have learned. I know that Jesus Christ died for us. That He lives today, and can truly bless us with peace if we will just come unto Him. Have a blessed week! Love you all!
Elder Nielsen 

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