Monday, November 18, 2013

                                           Elder Szendre's investigator family; 11/15/2013
I love this work, it's the purest expression of love for God that I've yet found. My diligence increases as my love for the Lord has.

The greatest lesson that I relearned this week is to be honest in every minute detail. Our integrity was tested last Sunday, when we contacted this nonmember husband of an active woman. On our way in one of us scratched the car with our bike. We resolved to tell them about it, but forgot in the conversation. I realized that we had and then we went back and told him about the mistake. He remarked that the last person to scratch his wife's car had paid $500 to get it fixed. He went on to describe the incident, how someone had done it and then drove off. She got the driver from a camera and then the insurance companies fought between each other and it was just a mess. We have yet to get a call from Sister Lester about it but we're glad we did, he would have had a very very bad opinion of missionaries had we given in to the fear of apologizing for the injury we had caused. Instead he now knows that he can trust missionaries, because no matter how good of friends a member is with someone we teach, they must learn to trust us.

Things I appreciate about my mission:
-My relationship with Jesus Christ, as far as I'm willing to sacrifice in this great work he's willing to bless me. 
-Consecrated service brings spiritual experiences that you can't speak of.
-The ability to put on the name tag every day. "By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ." We are inspired often as we talk with and teach nonmembers, what to say often just comes.
-The Book of Mormon, I'm able to witness it's truth every day. I see patterns in the people that are frequently depicted in the Book of Mormon. People who are compelled to be humbled are generally more willing to listen to the unique message that we have to offer the world.
-The Gift of the Holy Ghost. There is nothing more sweet than to be filled with the Spirit throughout the day. Before my mission my obedience and desire to enjoy the gifts of the Spirit was there but much weaker. There is so much to enjoy on your mission, the triumph and joy in faithful service is so much greater than the minor losses and sorrows that life can bring.

"The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
The latter-day glory begins to come forth
The visions and blessings of old are expanding,
And angels are coming to visit the earth.
The Lord is extending the Saints' understanding,
Restoring their judges and all as at first.
The knowledge and power of God are expanding;
The veil o'er the earth is beginning to burst.
We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!"
(The Spirit of God, hymn number 2)

The blessings of my mission have been incredible. Nevertheless it is just the smallest scratch of the temple blessings that have yet to come in my mission, life and in eternity.
I am forever thankful to the Lord for this opportunity to serve the Lord in this marvelous capacity. There's so much to learn about what Jesus Christ would do if he were serving in my shoes, so don't think I've nearly got this all down yet.  
My Commission, by Elder Bruce R. McConkie
"I am called of God. My authority is above that of the Kings of the earth. By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my master, and He has chosen me to represent him, stand in his place, to say and do what he himself would say and do if he personally was ministering to the very people to whom he has sent me. My words are his words, my acts are his acts, my words are his words and my acts are his acts. My commission is to do what he wants done, to say what he wants said, to be a living modern witness in word and deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous latter-day work."
The work is true! God speaks in our day. I know it, and literally anyone that reads the Book of Mormon honestly and prays about it will know it too. It may take time like Lehi after he prayed to be delivered from the darkness that surrounded him, for he only partook of the fruit of the tree of life after he prayed and strove to reach the tree clinging to the iron rod, or word of God. My knowledge of the Atonement has grown and my desire to share the Everlasting Gospel with everyone has grown with it. God's blessings are coming, I promise you that. If you feel that God's covered now, move on, repent of the sins and transgressions we're prone to and hold on! I love the Lord and pray for you daily.
Much Love,
Elder Szendre

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week 17

This has been a very fulfilling week, a light has metaphorically turned on in my mission and I'm much more focused and aware of how to go about this work better, I absolutely love it.

In two days two Christian investigators dropped us, I knew it was coming, but it just showed so strongly the principle that we need to go through members to teach and establish the truth of the Gospel.

"For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it" D&C 123:12

They simply were not willing to act on our message and read the Book of Mormon with our testimonies alone. If only they would look, they would see the truth of our cause!

Michael just recently made bail with a miracle, that a different judge came in right before the bond hearing and reduced his bail to $5000, making it affordable. I wrote him a letter while he was there, and related the effects of sin to the confinement he was experiencing, "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and call things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (2 Nephi 2:25) It was really fulfilling to hear him thank me and tell me how meaningful it was to him, he shared it with one of the inmates there who found great meaning in it. It was an incredible lesson that we should do many good things of our own free will,

"For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward." (D&C 58:26-28)

It reminds me of Our Search for Happiness, Elder Ballard wrote that he would respond to anyone's letters and gave his home address. We ran into a guy who wrote many times with Elder Ballard and that was the reason why he was active after going through the military. I've learned to look for things that need to be done and then do it.

We had an incredible miracle yesterday. A mom married to a Catholic ran out of sacrament meeting with a panic attack, she's been so stressed. We used to do family home evenings with their family every Sunday until 6 weeks ago she and her husband became very busy with work. We had planned to come check in on her family yesterday, and a few minutes after they decided to do family home evening we knocked on their door. It was a very good family home evening, and at the end we asked if there was anything we could do for their family. She asked for a priesthood blessing. It was given, and a deeply spiritual experience followed. We both felt like we weren't alone that during that blessing.

Our one investigator, Thomas is doing well, I think he felt pressured to be baptized earlier and it just wasn't right for him. We're teaching him and his family now. His father has already read half of the Book of Mormon. The mother went through a very difficult loss of a one year old baby and has not been able to be reconciled with God since. We're not quite sure what she needs to hear yet, but the fact that she gathered her husband and children for the lesson and then attended it was quite a miracle.

I'll leave you with this, "The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." I've felt the Spirit so incredibly strongly while pondering this, it's true and will be fulfilled. I love you all, this work is true and is hastening.

Stay true!
Elder Szendre

Monday, November 4, 2013

Things are going very well here in Boise. We've gotten good results here this last week, there's three unbaptized children that we set a date with for this Saturday. It probably won't happen, there's too much to do before then.

A recently reactivated man came to Church last Sunday with his nonmember wife and kids. She committed to baptism, but wouldn't set a date last Tuesday. We were able to come just at the right moment, the day he lost his job before it started. They were under such an incredible strain from the fear and impending loss of their house. He just wasn't himself for a while. We taught them the principle of fasting and committed them to living it last Sunday. I felt such incredible joy come over me when I saw them in Church. The Spirit taught me then that it was because of my efforts they came. Truly temple worship and mission service is the "manner of happiness" that the Nephites found. (2 Nephi 5)

We succeed when we invite. It's really important now for all of us to love and serve those around us, inviting them to learn more of the restored gospel. We can do it through family history, the importance of the family, simply referring to the Church in conversation, or through the plan of salvation when they're experiencing difficult problems in their life or when they've had a recent birth in the family. There is so many blessings that await us for our service in this great effort. Our bishop slams his fist (well almost slams) on the pulpit and exclaims, "We do missionary work!" I love it.

In one of the talks a high councilor in one of our wards came up and shared a dream where he was hacking through this dense forest with a machete with all of his might, all the while the Savior was standing behind him on a pulpit watching what was coming his way, ensuring that nothing too tough for him came his way. I've encountered some pretty tough adversity this last week, but in my toughest moments I could feel his love and strength. He won't leave us alone! 

"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5, see also Alma 7:11-12, Mosiah 3)

If you really want a good read, I'd try 2 Nephi 6-11, what's going to happen when Jews believe in Jesus Christ? You can really see the power of the Book of Mormon in convincing the Jews that Jesus is the Christ, although the New Testament should have done it already... I was able to give a Book of Mormon to a Jewish woman last month, it was a pretty cool experience and I felt the Spirit to an incredible degree.

I love you all, thanks for the letters and support. This work is true! I would be a friend to every man and woman and seek their welfare and happiness, inviting in word and deed to learn more of why we are so happy. Granted, life is extremely difficult, with the power of the Atonement powering us forward by worthily partaking of the sacrament, repenting of our daily shortcomings, and setting goals to progress I promise you that will be able to overcome, or bear everything put before you. Things are good! Only once before has man had better news than now, we are not spiritual orphans. It is my testimony that God has restored his Church through a modern prophet, gotta go, but with all my love,

Elder Szendre