There is a cool scripture in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 that says, “...our gospel came not by word only, but by power.” It really emphasizes how real the Spirit is, that we don't learn just from reading the words and piecing the information together, but we learn by the Spirit that touches our hearts. That’s why we need to teach with the Spirit, so that it can touch the hearts of the people and teach them the truth. I have realized there is great opposition in this world to righteousness. People feel that it doesn't matter what they do, so the main thing is getting people to care.
This last week we had instruction from the Zone Leaders about there being many things we can't control, and we have no need to worry over those things, or let them effect us in a negative way. The things we can't control are our companions, people we teach, ward members. Things we can control are how we react. The key is to act and not be acted upon (2 Nephi 2). We always have our freedom to choose, and even when we decide not to choose, we are making a decision. So that is something I have been thinking about. Like I said, we are definitely up against opposition, but really it gives us an opportunity! Sometimes it helps me to look at it that way. It is an opportunity to show faith in the Lord, to ask for strength to overcome the challenges that arise. Sometimes you feel in a bad mood and forget to call on the Lord, you lose hope and just say, this day is done, nothing good will happen.
We went to this referral's house we got this last week, and this guy with oxygen tubes in his nose answered the door. He said go away, I don't want to buy anything. I said (with a big smile), "Oh, we aren't selling you anything! We actually came"...then he interrupts and starts yelling, and says to get off the porch, and won't listen to anything we say. I asked, "Is Catherine there?" (name of referral). He won't listen because he is yelling, and I try to tell him we were actually requested to come here! So eventually, we just had to leave, but that type of thing never leaves you feeling good. Maybe later we will try again, and hope the person we were looking for answers the door. But in times like those, you really need to pray, and we didn't, and I really wish we did. But we need to pray always, and remember who is behind us.
So, we have had a couple experiences like that, of people saying we preach false doctrine and stuff, but it has really strengthened me. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16)." I used to hate when people yell at me, now I love it!! Just kidding, I still hate it, but I have learned to take it. And I don't mean I take it and stare at the floor, I listen to what they are saying, but I am still working on it not affecting me. I think feelings of discouragement and temptation goes back to one thing, to get us to forget who we are. We are really just tempted to forget we are sons and daughters of Heavenly Father, but if we can remember that, not just the words, but remember what it means, then we don't need to be discouraged. We can be given peace in times of trial, not as the world gives it, but as the Son of God gives it (John 14:27).
I know we are sons and daughters of God, and He loves us much more than we can understand. We can begin to understand and know the mysteries of God through obedience and diligence, service, patience, and as we strive to live the Gospel. As we learn what He has prepared for us, how much God has entrusted us with, we can be strengthened in our faith and love towards Him. I know that is true. I always think of when Jesus asked Peter, "do you love me?" (John 21:17). I picture Jesus asking me the same thing.
I love being here. We have a miracle everyday! Yesterday an investigator that missed the first lesson with us two weeks ago was home! So we have tried her a bunch of times, and her grandparents answer and say she will call us. So that rarely happens, but we had no way of getting a hold of her. Then yesterday she answered the door! She said she didn't have our number! But she said she wants to learn something new each time we come over. We were like, that's great! That’s perfect! You are awesome! So, she said yesterday during the lesson that she was thinking the same question Joseph Smith had, that she didn't know which church was true. She doesn't like the churches where people shake and things like that, but she wants to go to a church. So, she said she was wondering that for a while, then we walk up to her car while she was cleaning it. She was like, yeah it was pretty crazy that you guys showed up! She is 19 years old and has a lot of ambition for college and everything. We are excited to teach her again today!
So, things are going well! I really enjoy receiving letters from you all. It is a huge strength to me for the rest of my week. It definitely encourages me to know that my family is supporting me and loves me. Some people don't have that, and I realize it is a huge strength and blessing. I love you all so much. I am so thankful for your examples. I think about you all often! I really am grateful for the packages too, I am excited to get them!