Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Testimony

Hello!

How are things going for everyone? Things out here are good. The past week went by SO FAST! It's crazy!

One of the blessings of living in Hawaii is that they have a lot of GOOD fruit! There is a mango tree on the grounds of our church, so Sister Ieremia and I definitely picked up all the mangos that fell off the tree. They were delicious. Even better are the papayas. YUM!! Our landlord also has a banana tree and has given us some bunches of bananas. It's great. This last week our ward members have been feeding us lots of "mainland" type foods. It's been SO NICE. Hawaiian food isn't very word of wisdom friendly. Instead of eating whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, and limited meat....well, they eat meat, meat, meat, meat, rice, rice, soy sauce, and dessert. Last Monday we had enchiladas though. They weren't nearly as good as Mom's, but they made me feel a little closer to home.

Missionary work in Hawaii Kai is moving along, just very SLOWLY. We have a investigator, who I think will be baptized eventually. She just needs more time to understand everything and exercise her faith. It could take a LONG time, probably longer than I'll stay in this area, but hopefully it'll happen before I return to Utah! She's a strong lady and I've truly developed great love for her.

Other than that, we have a few other people we're teaching, but I'm not sure how things will work out. They flake out on appointments a lot and I'm just impatient. I need to have more faith though. These people are all children of God and will greatly benefit from the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I need to keep an eye single to the glory of God if I want to see success. We also have quite a few members in our ward with potential referrals who have already inquired about the church. None of them will let them meet with us though because they're "not ready" to have the lessons yet. I don't understand that part. They haven't even asked if they want to meet with missionaries! For all they know, their friends could want to but don't think they're allowed to or are afraid to ask or don't even know that meeting with missionaries is the first step to become a member of this church. The worst that can happen is they say no!

Still, our ward members are pretty great. There are a few families in particular that really look out for us as missionaries and are kind of like our families away from home.

But I never realized how easy it is to introduce friends to the gospel. So many of my friends that aren't members have been writing me during my mission and its so cool to be able to talk to them about this stuff. One of them is actually reading the Book of Mormon right now and said he'd love to have missionaries come visit him. He just moved back to Florida and said that he wanted to go look at the Orlando Temple, just to see it from the outside. There are so many friends that I never talked to about the gospel because I didn't want it to change our friendship by them thinking I wanted to convert them or something. But now I realize that all you have to do is make sure they know you're willing to teach them more if they're interested, and make sure they know how much you love the church and want it to help their lives. In preach my gospel, it states that our purpose as missionaries is to "INVITE others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." It all comes down to extending the invitation.

One other thing that's really stood out to me during these first 3 months of my mission is how true the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really is. I used to always believe the church is true or say that I knew, but now i KNOW. I've never studied the scriptures before the way I do now. I absolutely LOVE studying the scriptures now. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon together. They're so complete. Each day I learn and understand a little bit more. It's so exciting. This really is the same church that Christ established during His ministry and abiding by His teachings will really bring us HAPPINESS and we WILL live with God again after this life.

Something cool, and a little overwhelming, I learned this last week was about interpreting prophecies and revelations. Particularly Isaiah and Revelations in the Bible. Sometimes we try to read things too literally and other times not literally enough. We need to place ourselves in their shoes and compare their revelations to world we live in today and everything is so clear. In Revelations chapter 9, it talks about a crazy looking locust that will come in the last days and there will be a 5 month war and it will be the "first woe" after the "seventh seal" has been opened. I was talking to a ward member who is in the Air Force who was talking about the connection between this 5 month war and Desert Storm/Gulf War one. Maybe this crazy looking locust (read the chapter--it's short) is a helicopter and maybe the "first woe" already passed in 1992. The scriptures are so hardcore!!

Haha, anyway, my time is up but I hope to hear from all of you soon. Keep emailing, send letters if you can. I will ALWAYS write back!

Love,
Sister Smith

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