This week I have been doing some deep studying, especially concerning spiritual gifts, and spiritual awareness. I feel that it has already shown to have payed off even faster than I would have expected since I had some unique but still miraculous experiences this week that would not have accrued had I not undergone this intense studying. Thankfully for me, I can study very rigorously when it is on subjects that I have a strong interest in, which made studying I did more fun than not which made it that much more productive and worthwhile. Now the primary scriptures and content that I have studied are 1 Corinthians 12, Doctrine and Covenants 46, and Moroni 10. These 3 chapters in the standard works all cover the same topic, being spiritual gifts, from the words of 3 different servants of the Lord. The apostle Paul, the Prophet Moroni from the Book Of Mormon, and the Prophet of the restoration Joseph Smith. Each account on the same subject are very similarly worded but still have slight differences that give useful insights on the information and spiritual gifts written of. I have also been closely listening to the Truman G. Madsen lectures on Joseph Smith to better understand what kind of person the Lord had called upon to restore the Gospel and his Church to the Earth. And the other 2 primary sections of scripture that I studied were 2 Nephi 2 and Doctrine and Covenants 121 along with the Institute manuals on all of these areas in the scriptures. I have learned a lot of interesting things and gained some very useful insights this week.
So one of the things that I gained from all of this studying was a more sensitive awareness towards promptings from the Spirit. On Thursday, my companion and I were traveling to a person that we were going to be trying by that afternoon and I had a prompting that we should go to this place near Gresham Oregon called “The Gorge.” It is a beautiful scenic view that goes on for miles along the side of the Columbia River directly across from Vancouver. Basically a place that would be a near complete waste of time for any Missionaries to choose to travel down during proselyting time. Now for a moment I did not trust this prompting. It made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Receiving a promoting to go down a long long road with just trees and bikers and cars sounded very useless for the missionary work in my area, especially even more so for a Spanish Area. As the promoting intensified over the space of about 2 minutes, we got closer and closer to the street that we would be turning onto for the person we were going to visit and I knew that the moment we made the turn, I was going to disregard the prompting completely. The prompting hit its climax about 30 feet before the turn which is when I told my companion to just keep driving on and to head towards The Gorge. He laughed at me and questioned my intentions but was fine with it and just said ok with excitement and drove onward towards The Gorge. I told him to keep his mind focused on listening to any additional promptings to the spirit with me so that we could figure out why I felt that we needed to go to The Gorge. Nearly 2 hours had passed by the time we finally left The Gorge and no form of Missionary work was accomplished and it was now time to go to dinner. So we drove to dinner and I now felt down about having listened to that prompting and lost confidence in my ability to recognize the spirit since whatever it is that I felt couldn’t have been the spirit, I thought. The Hermanas asked us how our day had gone since I just looked a little more melancholy than usual, and I just told them that we had wasted 2 hours of our mission to go for a pretty drive that didn’t seem to have accomplished anything because of a false prompting that I had felt. So after dinner, Elder Grasinger and I went back out to work but right before a lesson we had planned, Elder Grasinger and I started a conversation just outside of the person’s house that we were going to be trying to visit – that lasted about an hour. My companion has been having some troubles lately because of some serious medical concerns that he has. He told me that had we not gone through The Gorge that day and that had he not been able to just take that good long and relaxing drive that we had taken, he would have had an emotional break down that could have caused him to make some rash decisions. The conversation we had was very good for him and put us on the same page for a lot of things. Although I had already known how he was feeling and why he had been feeling that way, I did not realize how close he was to an emotional and mental break down. So after having that conversation with him, I was reaffirmed that the prompting I had had, had been from the Spirit and that it was an extremely good thing that I had acted on it instead of disregarding it like I nearly did.
My Mission President also sent an email last week that had made following that prompting easier. He had told the mission that it is perfectly OK to take a breather every once in awhile, especially for the sake of our physical health, and even more so for our mental health. And he explained that this was not just in regard to missionaries but in all aspects of life. That there are just times when a break Needs to be taken and that it is not a sign of weakness for taking one or expressing to others that you need to take one. Taking breaks is not in my nature when working or doing something that has good purpose behind it, Missionary Work for example, so taking breaks is not something I ever consider. But I am working on that since I know breaks and breathers can be very useful when used sparingly and with wisdom.
And after last week’s massive numbers and the decision of working towards more quality over quantity of work, we did see the fruits of our labors. There were just a few more noticeable times throughout the week while street contacting, sharing spiritual messages at dinner appointments, lessons with investigators, etc. where it was more apparent that the people we were teaching could feel the spirit powerfully, specifically more often. And the expressions that they gave to us looked more sincere and receptive towards the information we were sharing with them than usually even on the big main streets where people are often much less pleasant. It was a fulfilling week for me.
I hope everyone else is able to have a temporally and spiritually fulfilling week.
Elder Adam R. F. Scoville