To start this week’s email, I am going to share how an exchange I went on this past Wednesday went. So originally, this exchange with my District leader and his companion was supposed to take place on Tuesday. But I felt, or more so thought that the exchange should be moved to Thursday because of some logical reasons that came to my mind the day before regarding the exchange. To describe the situation, i knew that on Tuesday, there were some meetings that I specifically needed to attend in my own area, one being Missionary Correlation Meeting, and our Book Of Mormon class to support the Hermanas since they were teaching it that day and has asked us to be in attendance to help them if they needed it. On Wednesday, my companion had set 4 return appointments for the evening for new investigators that he had found in our area the last week when we had gone in exchanges and I wanted to be sure to be there so that I would be able to meet them and establish a relationship before they had already been taught 2 lessons without me being present. And on Thursday, I knew that my District Leader and his companion had a very important lesson scheduled with a very strong investigator who I mention in a previous email. She is the black woman who I taught in their area 2 weeks ago. I knew that it would be useful for me to attend that lesson because the topic of the lesson was going to be the Priesthood and that the woman had told them ahead of time that she was going to have some questions and concerns regarding Black people and the Priesthood and all that happened back then that stopped them from having the Priesthood until the Manifesto. This combination of plans just made it make sense to me that the exchange would probably be more productive if done in Thursday instead of Tuesday. So I explained this to my District Leader and he approved for the exchange to be moved. But then on Tuesday evening, he called us back and told us that the exchange needed to happen that evening and he only gave a us a 1 hour notice. He explained to us that he had just had a prompting to do the exchange that night instead and that he didn’t really have any logical reason why aside from that. So now that the exchange had started an evening early, I was just confused and focussed the majority of my thoughts on why and what was going to end up happening on both ends of the areas to make the exchange happening early better. So the blessings that I have taken note of as the rest of the week has passed from my District Leader’s decision to following that prompting are:
My Companion – He gained a lot of needed confidence in his Spanish since I was not around for the day in our area. He also learned some useful things by observing how our District Leader works. He just overall had a very good and fulfilling day.
Myself – I was able to attend the Tongan Ward’s Youth activity and teach a very spiritually powerful lesson to about 30 preparing missionaries on what exactly the Holy Ghost is and everything that that entails. I was also able to meet, teach, and answer many of the questions of a young Boy Scout who attends the Tongan Ward youth activities solely for the scouting program even though he is a Jehovah’s Witness. He approached me specifically and asked me to re-explain what I had taught in the lesson to all of the youth and to explain how the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father are all separate beings. He was very intrigued by it and decided that he now wants to learn a lot more concerning our Church and that although he has had some minor interest before, he would actually like to begin seriously investigating the LDS Faith. He was smart and asked very productive questions for answers that really mattered instead of trying to find fault or cause of accusation like nearly all Jehovah’s Witnesses that I have encountered do.
On top of that, on the following day being Thursday, the day I had hoped to have the exchange on, I was able to attend a dinner in my area that I think I really needed to attend. Now I really love teaching. Teaching is seriously my favorite thing to do out here in the Mission Field. And teaching in unique situations often makes things even more fun for myself. At this dinner, it was 1 of their Hermanas turn to share the Spiritual thought (since we always eat dinner together with them at members homes) and the thought she gave lead to an inspired question from the member to us regarding trials and her expressed lack of understanding towards some of the trials that she was currently being given and how she felt about these trials when she compared her circumstances to others around her, both members and non-members. Now although I do not remember the exact phraseology of each of the Hermanas in response to her question, I do remember them both being profound. Their responses were both about having Trust in God and just remembering the basics and how holding onto those basic principles in the Gospel is worth so much more than instead always looking so deeply into things and trying, while more often than not most certainly failing to fully comprehend our Heavenly Father’s perspective, to understand the “Why” of each of our individual trials. I added, with their permission since it was their spiritual thought, something I often do when being faced with an aggravating trial that I literally just don’t want to deal with. I told her, strangely, the exact opposite of what the Hermanas had both so perfectly just explained by telling her that if she wants a trial to just pass, then it would possibly do her some good to try and understand why her Heavenly Father was giving her this trial, even if that would require some deeper contemplation and thought. I explained to her how I go through this mental process almost every single time I am face with a trial now that I cannot solve on my own within a few moments. I take a mental step back, look at the situation from a spiritual perspective, sometimes through prayer and doctrinal study (Scriptures, Institute Manuals, Conference Talks, etc.), and ask myself, “What is Heavenly Father trying to teach me with this,” since I am confident that once I learn or gain the experience that he wants me to gain, the trial will pass. I explained to her through some personal examples in my life how this is just a pattern that I have noticed in my life and the lives of others. After this, there was a moment of silence where the Spirit was definitely confirming to this Sister the things that had just been expressed to her by myself and the Hermanas. She told us that the things we had just said had really helped her a lot and had perfectly answered her question and that she was going to take from both of our answers. By having greater Trust in Heavenly Father while relying more on the basic principles of the Gospel and also taking a mental step back and doing a personal inventory to figure out what it was that she needed to learn and gain from her current trial(s). This spiritual thought needed to happen the way it did and would not have had I been on exchanges in another area eating dinner with another family.
I think it was pretty cool to just be able to understand, at least a portion of why my District Leader had that unclear prompting to move exchanges a day earlier, because a lot of the blessing were very apparent once the whole set of events were closely examined from a spiritual perspective.
Legion Lady Story
– While on exchanges this past week and 3 weeks ago, myself and another missionary named Elder Jung came across a probably possessed woman in the streets while street contacting. She would not make eye contact with us and yet her eyes were very focussed on something around her as she would periodically move her head around in a strange manner. She wasn’t high from marijuana or drunk, but may have been on some sort of drug(s). The terrifying aspect about her was her voice. When she spoke, she sounded as though she had numerous other voices overlapping her’s. Both male and female. The first time I met her I literally felt fear just from being in her presence and especially after hearing her voice. She was sitting on the ground the first time I saw and attempted to talk to her as well. Everything about her just reminded me of Legion from the New Testament. Her demeanor, her voice, the things she said regarding God(s) and other religions and basically anything good. The second time we came across her I wasn’t as scared or intimidated, but was still at a loss for what we could do. Just being in her presence literally lowers my spiritual confidence which is very strange. Both experiences just showed me that I obviously have many more things to learn since situations like that still cause me to feel genuine Fear which is the absolute contrary opposite to Faith, meaning I need to get to the point where the emotion of genuine Fear no longer exists within me since my Testimony will just be to strong for Fear to ever have any place in me again.
Elder Grasinger and I just also had some extremely spiritual lessons this week. There were just a lot of lessons where we walked out feeling pristine satisfaction with how the lessons had just gone and how confident we were in the people we taught having felt the Spirit Testify to them of the truthfulness of what we had shared with them. We even had a lesson yesterday on Sunday with a Less-Active who has been being visited by Missionaries for over 2 years and has never once willing offered to pray in front of them. Yesterday she did and it was amazing. I, along with many other missionaries, have heard her pray before but we have always had to persuade her and work hard to get to her to even be willing to pray. So having her volunteer without us getting the chance to ask her to first was very rewarding, and it was a good strong and sincere prayer as well.
This was just another good week in the Mission Field. I hope everyone has a good Labor Day.
Elder Adam R. F. Scoville