Sunday, June 26, 2011

Living the Gospel Brings a Living Testimony

There have slowly been signs popping up that I am turning into an "old" missionary... yikes! This morning when I went to unlock my bike I noticed that one of the latches on my box on the back of my bike had fallen off. Many of the companions I've worked with have had to use bungee cords to keep their boxes closed for that reason... I thought that would never happen to me! Ahhh! Hahaha :) I can't believe how long I've been here already, and yet I still feel like a baby missionary! However, I've taken some time this week to look back and reflect on the things I've learned so far while being on a mission. It's been a sweet experience to realize just how much I've learned and grown, and that even though I've gone through some of the hardest, most faith-trying experiences in my life, it has all been for my good, and I've seen so many blessings and miracles because of it.

This week was really special as Sister Brownell and I were able to find lots of unplanned teaching moments where we were able to share our testimonies in informal teaching settings. Lately we've been fond of a noodle place where you can choose what vegetables/other stuff you want inside and then they stew it up for you in a delicious broth. There's all sorts of things to choose from including animal innards, all sorts of substances that I have no idea what they are, about 5 different kinds of tofu, etc... but I like to stick with the vegetables like broccoli, pumpkin slices, and green peppers :) Oh yeah, and because Sister Brownell is vegetarian I've decided to try it out and be vegetarian with her! It's been really awesome and we've been eating a lot of yummmmy food (thank goodness that Taiwan is really accommodating to vegetarians), although I must say I haven't been 100% dedicated. I've been about 98% though! That's pretty good, for me :)

Anyway, back to the story. Early on in the week we went to that noodle shop for dinner and as we were waiting for our noodles, two girls sitting at the next table over decided to talk to us in English. They were two students majoring in English and saw the opportunity to talk to two foreigners, and it was perfect because when everyone noodles came we naturally wanted to say a prayer before we began eating, and so we invited them to join with us. They loved it and the rest of the meal was a wonderful conversation about life, God, and what the gospel means to Sister Brownell and I. We invited them to English class as well, which they were really excited about! The only sad thing was that they were both going home to other cities for the summer, but we were able to refer them to those areas and they said they'd attend English and meet with the missionaries there. :)

A few days later when we went back to the noodle shop one of the ladies that works there struck up a conversation too and noticed that all of the missionaries or members of our church she's ever seen have been so nice and beautiful and that she was wondering why. I testified that it was because we follow Christ, and that as anyone chooses to do the same they can radiate the same light and become a better, more beautiful person every day. That's the power of the gospel! Sister Brownell and I continued to share our testimonies as we waited for the noodles to cook, and a few people around us joined the conversation too. I just love being able to share my testimony is such natural ways and share the light that I've been blessed with. It's such a huge blessing to be a missionary!

Perhaps my favorite moment of the week was yesterday in between our two different wards' church meetings. We had just finished the first block of meetings (which finished late) and we only had a little bit of time to quickly eat some lunch before we had to run to ward council meeting for one ward and ward correlation for the other ward before the next block of meetings started at 1:30. We were some of the last to leave the chapel, and right as we were rushing out to get our lunch I noticed that one of the Elders' investigators was still there. Just the day before we had seen him right after he had finished his baptismal interview (for the 5th time, I think is what he said) and he just had a really sad, confused look on his face. We were worried about him so we asked what was on his mind and he said that he's been meeting with the missionaries and coming to church for a long time and has had several baptismal interviews, but he still wasn't sure if he wanted to get baptized. My heart ached for him as I could see the sadness in his eyes. Just then our investigator walked in the door to meet with us so we didn't get the chance to continue our conversation with him, but as I saw him still in the chapel with most everyone gone I felt the urge to go talk to him and share our testimonies about the Book of Mormon. I made the suggestion to Sister Brownell, who at first was concerned we wouldn't have enough time to eat, but when I insisted, she agreed we should. As we approached him we told him that we'd been pondering about his concern, which really touched him. We then asked how his Book of Mormon reading has been going lately, and he said, "I haven't been reading it very much." I was filled with the Spirit as I pulled out my own copy of the Book of Mormon and testified that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion and that he'd get his answer if he carefully read it. I told him that "If the Book of Mormon is true, then you'll know that this is the true church and that you should get baptized. If it's not, everything we've been teaching is false and our church is no different than any other." I don't know exactly what else we said, but the Spirit was strong and I appreciated Sister Brownell's sweet testimony, too.

I know without a doubt that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored gospel on the earth today. It was restored because of the humble prayer of an honest seeker of truth, the prophet Joseph Smith. I know we have a living prophet today that leads and guides this church and I am so grateful to have the secure knowledge that as I follow the prophets words, I'm following Jesus Christ. Sister Brownell asked me last night how I know the gospel is true, and I responded simply with the words, "Because I live it." As I said those words it was all re-confirmed to me and many experiences throughout my childhood, teenage years and time at college were brought to my memory of how living the gospel has transformed into a living testimony. I know that as anyone faithfully obeys the commandments and lives in accordance with the teachings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, they will, in the Lord's time, be blessed with a living testimony, too.

I love the gospel. I love the Lord. I love being in his service as a missionary. I love each of you so much and think of you often. Thank you so much for your faithful examples and testimonies. They have been such a strength to me. I know of no better way to find happiness, success and fulfillment in life than by living the gospel in its fullness. Please continue in faith and righteousness, and be willing to make changes and sacrifices to be even more obedient. I promise that you will find more peace and lasting happiness as you do so. I promise.

All my love,
Sister Morey <3

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