Hey everyone! So another long week in the MTC but at the same time I feel like i haven't been here that long! It's a strange time warp thingy I'm in here. There is a lot of snow and it is very cold here. My Cambodian is improving immensely every day. The Lord is truly blessing me. I've gone into many lessons having prepared as much as I could, praying for the investigator, trusting in the Lord and when I'm in there He gives me all the words I need to say in Cambodian. Even if I only saw the word once or twice! When I can't say a certain phrase the Lord helps me to say it a different way with the words I do know.
I have this certain investigator that one of our teachers is playing named Adam. We committed him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. He thinks the Book of Mormon is good and that what we're saying is good but he doesn't understand why he needs to pray, he's a smart guy and he can figure out whats wrong or right by himself. He believes God gave him a brain in order to figure truth out by himself. So on our next lesson with him we told Adam that no man can know the mysteries of God save God shall reveal it unto him. Jacob 4:8-11 You can study it out all you want but unless you ask God, you cannot know for an assurance that these things are true. I then asked Adam why he thinks he is on earth. He said he doesn't know and so I told him that I know why I am on earth because I learned about the plan of salvation. I related to him the Plan of Salvation and told Adam that I prayed to God asking him: Is this why I am here? And He told me it was through the spirit. I promised Adam that if he would pray and ask God this question, he too would be answered through the spirit which testifies of truth.
I learned through my studies this week and through the spirit that God has given us many blessings and particularly as a missionary He has given me many tools. But it is up to me to decide what to do with them. God will help guide me, but if I choose not to use the tools I've been given, or not to use them properly or to their full extent then they profit me nothing.
The Cantonese speaking district in our Zone left the MTC on Monday morning and one of them was a Zone leader so we had to have new Zone leaders called. My companion Elder Eppley and I were given the call to be Zone leaders so we accepted! We have a lot of responsibility as Zone leaders to take care of and minister to the needs of the Missionaries in our Zone so every night I pray for guidance and help concerning each of the Missionaries in our Zone. We get three new Cantonese speaking Elders coming in today and one of them is from the Philippines! We as Zone leaders have the responsibility to make them feel welcome and show them around a bit.
On Monday our investigator Robert told us he went to church with his family on Sunday but on the way home he got a flat tire and he was really angry. He asked us why he wasn't protected if he was trying to do the right thing. We explained to him that when we are trying to do the right thing then sometimes life will get harder for a bit but we shared with him the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 122:7-8 which says that all these trials which shall come upon you shall give thee experience and be for thy good. Then in verse 8 it says "The Son of man [Jesus Christ] hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?" I then told him about how Christ had suffered to take away all these burdens and sins for us and in order for us to reap the benefits of this, we must follow his perfect example by being baptized. I asked him if he would be baptized but instead of saying yes or no he asked us how our church was different or so special from all the other churches. Elder Eppley then related the Apostasy and the Restoration and Joseph Smith's first vision. We invited him to pray about the restoration and Jospeh Smith and he said he would! So that got us really excited and we teach him again tonight!
And now for the biggest surprise this week! For our Tuesday night devotional last night we had Elder Quentin L. Cook come and speak to us! Also I sat the closest anyone could to where he was sitting on the stand by some lucky chance. I was probably 30 feet from him. His wife spoke first about a little girl named Janna who was super excited to be in her nativity play. Her mom thought she for sure had a main role because of how excited Janna was. When her mom arrived at the play Janna was sitting in a chair off the stage. As the play began, the narrator told the story of how Joseph and Mary had a son who they named Jesus who was the Son of God. On His birth a star appeared above the stable. At this point Janna got up, walked up onto the stage, picked up a large tin foil covered star, and held it up as high as she could. The shepherds came, the wise men came, and the play was over. Afterward Janna ran up to her mom and said, "Mom wasn't that awesome?! I had the main part!"
Her mother answered back, "You did?"
Janna then said, "Yes! I showed everyone the way to find Jesus!"
As a Missionary I am to be that Star. I too have the main part. It is my purpose to show everyone the way to find Christ. Elder Cook then taught us to be Humble and the Lord will lead us as in D&C 112:10. He taught us that we will have more spiritual experiences when we are seeking to bless the lives of others. How we need to see all of God's children the way that he does. See their potential to receive this message. He told us to be warm and friendly missionaries. The kind that when the members see us they will want to refer all their friends to us. He told us that when we enter a Ward or Branch we should have and end-goal that when we leave that Branch it will be better, stronger, more faithful, and larger than when we got there. Elder Cook quoted Gordon B. Hinckley from when they were working on writing Preach My Gospel. "Tell the Missionaries if they have more faith, they will have more success."
Elder Cook closed with his testimony and witness of Christ saying, "I know the Savior's voice. He guides and directs our efforts. We are serving the Master." I know that Elder Cook is an Apostle of the Lord. I have felt the spirit of what he said and know of a surety that it is true.
I love this work and I get more and more excited every day to teach God's children of the redeeming love of Jesus Christ and His atonement for us. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.