Monday, July 30, 2012

Letter from July 30, 2012


Well once again it was another productive and phenomenal week here in the 'Dell. It's crazy how fast time passes - my companion goes home in 17 days and my Zone Leader leaves in 9. Needless to say, it has been hard to stay focused, but we are doing our best and seeing success as we do so. This week all of the crazy rain went away and was replaced with ridiculous heat and humidity. The weather in the South is bi-polar.

Things have continued moving along with our Cajun investigator, and we taught her the entire Plan of Salvation yesterday and she loved it. There wasn't a single doctrinal hangup, which was truly great for us. It was frustrating, however, because she missed our appointment on Saturday so she didn't come to church. She is just the funniest little lady - always making fun of us, giving us cooking tips, and marital advice. It really is so much fun teaching her, and it is a perfect example to me of what charity is, because I cannot feel anything but love for her. We have another appointment this week, and hopefully she progresses towards making covenants with our Heavenly Father.

In terrible news, the man that I have written about in the past who was struggling with cancer might be terminal with only 3 - 6 months to live. His quick slide from health to sickness has really reminded me that life is truly fragile and precious. But, as I have previously said, the Plan of Salvation is one of the greatest blessings in our lives - the ability to have a sure hope that we will be united again as families. I just hope that he can find peace, comfort, and joy in the remaining months.

 We did have an amazing experience with our recent convert, Joey, who has demonstrated remarkable change over the last two weeks. His whole demeanor has changed, and we have been able to see a deeper and clearer understanding of the principles of the gospel within him. He and his wife have found true joy together as they have committed themselves to follow the example of our Savior, and it has strengthened my testimony that the gospel truly does bless not only individuals, but families as well. Through the knowledge it brings we can find the capacity to forgive the unforgivable, apply the balm of Gilead to our wounds, and find true healing from the pains of this mortal life. Boy, I just love this gospel so much.

 As a whole, this week has been a great learning experience for me in how to answer our accusers in the Savior's way. We had a guy yell at us about Mitt Romney at a door approach and slam the door in our faces. The next day a woman started laughing at us as we taught her the restoration. Others won't even bother to say a word to us, but rather point away and direct us to leave.To quote Elder Hales,

 "When we do not retaliate—when we turn the other cheek and resist feelings of anger—we too stand with the Savior. We show forth His love, which is the only power that can subdue the adversary and answer our accusers without accusing them in return. That is not weakness. That is Christian courage."

I have truly learned that this week. Overcoming the natural reaction of anger and demonstrating Christlike love to those who would confront us takes self-mastery, but rewards us with a feeling of peace and the knowledge that we overcame the natural man and stood shoulder to shoulder with the Savior. We demonstrated Christian courage and will be blessed accordingly. What a blessing it has been for me to learn and apply this lesson in my everyday life as a missionary! The church is true, and the gospel blesses lives if we but live it, so to pull the most cliche quote possible, just do it.


Elder Joshua Thomas

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