Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"Get Off My Cloud" Email from May 25, 2016. Elder Adam Younce

These past two weeks have reminded me of a scripture from the Book of
Mormon that I memorized in Sister Despain's seminary class (thanks to
a catchy tune). In Ether 12:6 it says "And now I, Moroni, would speak
somewhat concerning these things. I would show unto the world that
faith is things which are hoped for and not seen. Wherefore, dispute
not because he see not for he receive no witness until after the trial
of your faith." Last week was absolutely brutal to us and I started to
lose hope in my ability to fulfill the Lord's errand but we tried to
exercise faith by taking steps with investigators towards baptism and
by shifting our efforts from some people who need to do some more
personal preparation for baptism to the exhausting process of finding
people to teach. In this area we had just about given up on "finding"
because, at least while I've been here, we haven't had any success.
However, we felt impressed that instead of wasting our time on people
who are not ready to listen to us, we needed to make an effort to find
the people that the Lord has already prepared for us. Because we
exercised our faith in something that we hoped for but could not see,
the Lord decided to bless us tremendously. My companion says that he
has never had success in "finding" the way that we have this week. The
miracles were not limited to just finding though. One time, we had an
appointment with our new convert, Anthony, and he didn't show up and
wasn't answering his phone. We were worried about him but it wasn't
the first time this had happened so we forgot about it. Anyways,
afterwards we were about to head to la stazione centrale for a lesson
with someone but when we called to confirm with him he was not
answering. In the past he has been super flaky even when we were able
to get ahold of him and he hasn't ever come when we have not gotten
through. As the metro came my companion turned to me to make a
decision about whether we should go or not. At this point I was about
97% sure that he wouldn't show up and even if he did, he was one of
the people that we were going to drop considering he isn't progressing
at all and even if he was, he couldn't be baptized because he lives in
a refugee camp, it wouldn't be a big deal if we blew him off to get
some awesome finding work in. In addition, we hate going to centrale
so in essence, there were about zero reasons for us to go to the
appointment. If I were to follow my own logic and desires, I would
choose to go looking for people to talk to in a beautiful park on a
gorgeous Italian spring day. However, I was moved on by the Spirit to
go to the appointment so we hopped on the metro. It just seemed like
the logical thing to do even if it really wasn't. Immediately when I
got on the metro I was regretting the decision and thought that my
companion would soon be teasing me gently for wasting the Lord's time.
When we got to centrale we decide to walk around and look for our guy
and then if he wasn't there, go back. While looking, we found Anthony
sitting next to a friend of his. We started to teach Anthony and his
friend listened in as we talked about eternal family and he seemed
really interested so after the lesson we exchanged numbers and will
see him sometime soon! There were many other miracles that happened
this week that I do not have the time to write but you get the
picture. By exercising faith we leave room for God to work miracles.

Yesterday was one of the best days I've had on the mission so far. It
started out with us going to the church early so that we could unlock
it and set it up for the new missionary training conference. About 25
minutes before we left Michele, one of our beloved investigators,
called us and told us to meet him at the metro station so he could
show us something. When we got there he took us to this little hole in
the wall pasticceria that has super cheap and super good dolce. On the
way there and back we were talking about his life and his experiences
with investigating the church in the past. He has really grown to love
and trust us and we live vet him in return. He is definitely someone
who I will miss and who I will tell people about when I get home.
After that little adventure we were at the church where I got to see
President Dibb, probably for the last time, and all the new Sorelle
who I saw at the MTC before I left. We did some catching up but soon
left because they had the training to do and we had work to do. At the
church we picked up an Anziano who had just come back from the States
for some surgery and for the next 5 hours until his companion could
pick him up, he was with us. It was awesome having him with us because
I learned a lot and he is a pretty cool guy. After we handed him off
to his companion, we went to the house of an investigator of ours
named Prince. He is from Africa and he is very involved with some
ministries up here so he is very interesting to talk to. He reminds me
of some of the people I would talk about religion to in high school
because he always tries to tempt us into a Bible bash. My companion
let me sort of take over the lesson because I have a lot of experience
talking to people like that, growing up in the south. It was actually
very fun because he had many very complex questions that he wanted
answered that could be answered with simple principles of the gospel.
I don't think I've ever met a man that is as curious as he is. His
questions are not designed to try to trip is up. Rather, he wants to
know more about what we believe and why and we try to find common
ground but when we can't find any, we bear testimony and give
scriptural evidence. The problem with appealing to the Bible for
answers or any other scripture by itself, for that matter, is that
there are many ways to interpret it and just about every scripture
from the bible we used he turned around the other way. That is the
reason that the Book of Mormon and modern day revelation is so
necessary, though. There are infinite interpretations of any one
scripture but with two witnesses, the Book of Mormon and the Bible, we
can gain a clear picture of what God wants for us. Unfortunately,
Prince only takes the Book of Mormon to be a study of our religion and
not to be the word of God yet but that is what we are working on with
him.

I may have had an awesome week and I may be on cloud 9 right now but
that doesn't mean that I will always be there. Even now I still feel
the pull of Satan into thoughts that would bring me down from this
wonderful state. Thoughts of self worthlessness are always from him so
never let him pull you down that way. He wants you to remember the
imperfect person you used to be, even though you have changed. He
wants you to think about the shortcomings you have now, even though
you are trying your best to be better. He wants you to lose all hope
for the future by reminding you of what you weren't and aren't, even
though your potential is infinite. He does this because his past,
present, and future are pitiful. He is the lowest of the low and he
can't improve so he wants you to feel the way that he does. I bear
witness that God loves everyone on this earth and that He wants
everything that is good for you. My favorite thing about being a
missionary and thus a representative of Jesus Christ is that I just
get a glimpse of that love that He has for people. On the days where I
feel like I'm going to pass out from exhaustion, that love that I feel
and all that potential that I see is what motivates me. It motivates
me to try to show people what I see. Never let Satan pull you off your
cloud. You have been born for better things than that.

Alla prossima settimana, vi voglio bene!

Anziano Younce

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