Monday, April 21, 2014

Hola mi familia! This last week has been a very good week, pretty slow, but we're continuing to work effectively, give service and talk with people whenever possible.

It's almost like football, where it lasts for 3 hours with only 11 minutes of execution time. That's Church and teaching appointments which is around the same ratio. We've got time for preparation, study and planning and all that for those times when you're face to face with an investigator and you've got to teach with power and authority by the Spirit and invite them to live the gospel.

We had a very good Easter. There was an Easter concert on Saturday that was very well put on and thought out, the Spirit was so strong there. Sunday services were incredible, there was so much there. We spent the day riding around trying to talk with referrals and people on the street, with little success. Ultimately we were able to talk with a part member family, share messages with members and cheer up an older single man that doesn't have a whole lot going for him in his life right now.

It was incredible to me to ponder the Atonement at this time, because I've realized how much it's blessed my life. I'm only the person I am today because of it, it would not be possible for me to repent and make the decisions I've made without it (Alma 34:9). My doc tried increasing some medications again (only half as much as before) when I was pretty much ok to begin with and had terrible trials for about a week. (There's been research that has supported that dosage) 0I felt like a "broken vessel" (see Elder Holland, General Conference October 2013) But now I've experienced the "renewing of [my body]" that has been promised, as a shadow of the Resurrection. Not only that but to see the growth that came from that painful experience spiritually, physically and mentally. Through His grace I've been able to put off the natural man that much more and receive tremendous blessings because of it (D&C 130:20-21). There's no way I could qualify for those blessings without His grace, no matter how hard I try, "for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." (2 Nephi 25:23, particularly Bible Dictionary, grace).

We had an incredible leadership training about goals from President Winder. It was great because that was one of the questions that I had going into conference, was how to better set goals and accomplish them. I had all of my questions answered by conference. Evidently only around 3% of the population sets goals, which is really a shame because a study at BYU (I wish I had the source) cited that people write down goals they make more money and are happier.

"I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.

I added two goals recently
1. To be a good steward over the gifts I've been given.
-Over my agency
-Over my area
-Over my relationship with God
-Over my family relationships that I have
-Over the testimony I've been given (Alma 32:41)
-Over friendships
-Over the physical possessions I have to enable me to complete my mission. 

2. To magnify my talents
-Skill as a missionary
-My familiarity with the scriptures
-Language as my Mission President allows

I made some progress on the organ in college, learning to play hymns and bach preludes. I didn't make as much progress as I would have liked, but I still volunteered to play Christ Lag in Todesbanden ("In death's grasp the Savior Lay", BWV 629?) and practiced on P-day. It went super well! And not only that, but I felt like I could sing out super well for all the songs that the congregation participated in. It was night and day with my normal singing voice. Because I had magnified and not hid my talent, I received more. (Matthew 25:14-30) It's like Solomon, if we ask for the right gift we get the rest. (1 Kings 6 I think)

Also the other day I thought about how many times we're commanded to ask for the blessings that we stand in need of, I set a goal one day to apply my heart to understanding, "Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise" (Mosiah 12:27) I felt God's love and compassion for others almost the whole day, and received other blessings that weren't even essential to my progression.

Thanks for all your support, living the Gospel is worth it even while in this life. May we all rely on the Savior to get us through these last days and to become the Sons and Daughters of God that we were and will yet be through our "faith and repentance" (Alma 13:10, describing those who receive the blessings of the Priesthood). The Gospel's been restored! I'll see many of you this Mother's day!

Much love!
Elder Szendre

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