Monday, November 28, 2016

Scriptural Insights

Friends and Family, 

First off, late Happy Thanksgiving! I ate a total of three Thanksgiving dinners that day, #missionarylife. Still eating leftovers from members and loving it.

Over the past week I've been studying gratitude a lot due to the holiday season, and I've been directed time and time again to the story of the 10 lepers. My Dad shared something that stood out to me a lot. Ten were healed, but only one came back to return and give thanks. I think sometimes we think the other nine must have been bad guys or something, I know I used to think that way. In reality, they were probably just overwhelmed and distracted with being healed and the new life that they were going to be able to live. We too can easily get distracted from offering thanks. It's not that we are not thankful, we just don't set aside the time to express our thanks and make a habit of it. How often do we offer thanks for the little things, as well as the big miracles, that we have in our life?

Another scriptural insight from this past week came from zone conference as we were reciting D&C 4. Verse 4 stood out to me for whatever reason, especially the last little phrase. "...the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul" That verse talks about how white and ready for harvest the field is, something that almost every missionary knows. Most of the time, at least for me, I've always related this to the fact that we as missionaries can bring salvation to all of the souls out in the field who are white and ready to harvest. Never has it truly occurred to me the promise here that when we thrust in our sickle with all our might, we also bring salvation to our own soul! I don't know how I've missed this for so long. Really changed my perspective on a lot of things, especially all of the things that can sometimes get a missionary down. 

To close, I'll share a scripture that stood out to me this past week. 
"And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen." (Alma 42:31)

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King

P.S. Zone Conference was this past week, and even though Hermana Hull is now serving in the same branch and district as me we had to take a longhorn picture. Shouts outs to the only other fellow longhorn here in the WYM \m/

Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths

Friends and Family, 

One of my weaknesses that Heavenly Father has blessed me with is a poor sense of direction. I get lost in hotels trying to find my hotel room and coming out of grocery stores trying to find a car. Unless I've taken a route about a hundred times and know exactly where I'm going, I'm always directional confused. Thanks to modern technology and GPS, I get lost a little bit less. 

Late one night this week, Elder Kiser and I were out in the streets of Yakima knocking doors. I felt impressed to go up a couple streets and try and find a former investigator that I taught a couple of months ago who was on date and progressing towards baptism. As we were walking out in the dark, cold night air, I realized after a block of so that we had been walking in the complete opposite direction that we needed to be going. I looked at Elder Kiser and started to laugh, and told him that we are nowhere near close where we were supposed to be going, however there must be some reason why Heavenly Father gave me this weakness. Perhaps it is so that I could be more easily lead to where He truly needed us to be. 

We stopped on the street corner we were at and saw a house with lights on across the road. Like moths to the flame, we flew over to knock the door. A shorter gentleman opened right up and said, "Dios les bendiga, pasanse." He welcomed us right in and had us talk with his wife and his children and sat us down. We asked him a couple questions about his religious beliefs and background, and learned that he is very good friends with some recent-converts up in Tieton and has spoken with missionaries a while back before he moved. Since the move, they haven't been back since. As we shared the Restoration with him and his family, as he said the closing prayer tears filled the eyes of him and his wife. The Spirit was strong, and they knew we were sent from God. 

As I've reflected upon this experience, along with many others, I have learned to view weaknesses as blessings from a loving Heavenly Father. It is very very easy to have a perspective that our weaknesses are what are holding us back from what our Heavenly Father needs us to be. I used to view them in this manner, but I no longer view them as burdens, rather as blessings. Heavenly Father gives us our weaknesses so that we can humble ourselves and turn ourselves to Him. If we turn to Him and humbly offer ourselves and work with faith and patience, we can turn our weaknesses into strengths. 

"Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things." (Jacob 4:7)

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Friends and Family, 

Transfers have come, and I am now serving with my new companion Elder Kiser. He was in the MTC with me, and served around me up when I was in Wenatchee. He's already served in the Engelwood Branch for 6 months, so all of the members already know him. It was hilarious seeing everyone's reaction when they all found out that he would be my new companion! He's about the same height as I am too, which makes two giant trees every Sunday as we make our way through the crowd of small Hispanic people in the branch. 

We've been really really busy with a ton of administrative stuff this past week. Making sure that missionaries are where they are supposed to be with transfers and orienting the district leaders in the zone, exchanges with new missionaries, so Elder Kiser has only spent one hour tracting in our area so far. 

I've had a little more time because I've been staying in the area for exchanges since I know the area. Last Tuesday I was able to do what we call 'fear busting' and take the brand new missionaries out into the missionary world for the first time. My new missionary and I went to this trailer park in our area and said a prayer asking for success in our efforts. The very first door we knocked opened right up, and welcomed us in. It was a nice feeling, something that hasn't happened for a couple of weeks now! We sat down in his living room and talked with him. He told us that his name was Santiago and that his wife had met with missionaries before back when she was living in Mexico and that he has heard stories about missionaries and wanted to see what our message was. We taught him about the restoration and invited him to be baptized. He said he wanted to come to church a couple times first before he does something like that.

Elder Kiser were able to go by and talk with both him and his wife the other night, and she is also very kind and friendly with missionaries. She told us that she had some member friends back in Mexico that were very very kind to her, and that she became very good friends with missionaries down there. Such good friends that her young daughter cried when one of the Elders got transferred!

It got me thinking about why it took all the way until now for us to find a nice family like this to teach. Why now? Why couldn't Heavenly Father help us to find these people sooner? Many things in the mission, in the zone, in the area, and personally have lead me to this scripture.

"...wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:6)

One thing I have learned so far on my mission is trust in the Lord and trust in His timing. There are times in each of our lives where we may find ourselves asking the same type of questions. Why now? Why didn't the blessing come sooner? The answer is "Because." Our Father in Heaven has a reason for each thing that happens in our lives, good or bad. He knows what will benefit us the most in the long run. Just like a young child looking up to a parent and asking "Why?", at times our Father in Heaven looks down at us and responds with the parental response of "Because I said so."

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ode to Elder Wilson II

Friends and Family, 

Well, the time has come. Elder Wilson has brought me into this world, and now it's time I take him out of it. Almost a year ago, after he was emergency transferred away I wrote a letter titled 'Ode to Elder Wilson'. Little did I know then that I would have the pleasure of serving with him once more. The title for this week's letter was only fitting. When I first got the call in Moses Lake that I would be serving with him again, I was less than excited because I had only been serving in Moses Lake for one transfer and was absolutely loving it there. Hindsight being 20/20, as it always is, the gratitude I have for these past two transfers with Elder Wilson is indescribable. 

My new companion will be... Elder Kiser! He was in the MTC with me, part of the lost tribe of Mexico that was stranded at the Yakima Airport a little over a year ago. He's from Seattle and I've served around him a little bit when I was up in Wenatchee, and I'm super stoked to have him as my companion. 

This past week was filled with a lot of preparing Elder Wilson to return back into the world, so we worked a ton with the members and less actives this past week. Not too much to update on, so this week's email will be a little shorter than others. To close, I'll share a scripture that stood out to me from my personal study this week. 

"Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted." (Alma 26:5)

When I read this scripture, I thought of the talk from this past General Conference 'Serve' by Elder Carl B. Cook.  I thought about the fact that most of the time, while we are out in the field thrusting in our sickle and reaping with all our might, it's pretty hard to see the number of sheaves that will soon be upon our backs. Know that wherever you are and with whatever calling you have, from home teacher to Stake President, our efforts to magnify our callings and to serve are noted and bless our own lives as well as the lives of others. 

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King