Another awesome week has just flown by here in virginia!! Can't believe how fast the time is going! The work is going pretty slow right now but we are working like crazy and i know we will be blessed for our hard work, there must be opposition in all things! Otherwise there would be no growth in this work. There is a reason people say that missions are the hardest but the best thing. One thing i know for a fact is that there are people who are being prepared, who are ready to hear the gospel and seeking for the truth here in virginia.... but the only way that i will be led to them is if i am doing all i can to find them! And i am, i am doing the very best i can and i know my companions and i will be led to them! Our best is what the Lord expects from me and what he expects from all of us and as long as we are doing the very best we can we will be blessed for it! So we have an investigator named Chris, he is 19 and just so awesome!! We had an amazing lesson with him this week and for the first time i could tell that he was actually feeling the spirit and feeling something different and recognizing the importance of the gospel and that our church is the one true church here on the earth. He is really starting to gain a testimony and progress! He is all about finding out for himself and searching the scriptures and he really just wants to know before he sets a baptism date and rushes into anything which is understandable. He is so great though and its so awesome to watch someone go through this conversion process and see their improvement and be able to recognize when and how they were able to get that seed of faith in them! So Chris was actually a referral from sisters in richmond... they ran into him downtown and he didn't want to give them the time of day. He wasnt interested at all and was pretty set in his ways, but after talking to him for a minute he started to seem interested and he actually lives here in charlottesville so we get to teach him! He works a lot so we have a hard time meeting with him often and we have been teaching him for about over a month but have only met a couple times. He wants to meet more often though and you can tell he is really wanting to learn more and that desire is there and he just wants to know for himself! it is so sweet. So i had someone ask me this week how we, as missionaries, go about teaching others how to have faith in jesus christ. I've been thinking about it a lot this week and just feel like i should share what i learned especially since the church is really pushing on member missionary work. So the only way that faith gets kindled in the heart of people is by hearing the testimony of those who have faith. As we are an example to those around us and live the gospel and share what we know to be true to our friends that is what first plants that seed of faith in their hearts. Also, joseph smith taught that faith cant be exercised unless others know the character of God. Everyone wants to be loved right? When others hear and recognize that they have a heavenly father who knows them and loves them so much and when they hear that you know heavenly father loves them then it gives them the desire to come to know and come closer to the person that truly knows their every need, desire, or fear. I talked to a recent convert named Harriett about this, she was baptized about a month ago and she said the biggest thing that helped her gain her faith was hearing and seeing the testimonies of those that she was surrounded by... friends, missionaries, etc. One of her friends who is a member of the church told her to just try and live the word of wisdom and to just see if her life got any better if she started to live it.... and so she did. and after she recognized the blessings from it she didn't want to go back and so she picked another commandment to try and live and continued to recognize blessings and could see how her life was improving and getting better by the experiment she was performing. Eventually this led to her interest in the gospel and she knew that she had been blessed by living just a couple principles of the gospel and she wanted to receive even greater blessings by learning more about the church and striving to live all of the commandments! Faith requires action, but before others can act, they must hear and feel the powerful testimony of someone else. The coolest thing about this gospel is that we don't expect anyone to take our word for it... i'm not here on a mission to try and convince anyone of anything. I'm here to guide them along the path, to believe in them, and encourage them to experiment upon the word of god and find out for themselves if this church is true. A huge thing i learned about this week is how important love is toward others. Love is what softens someones heart toward the gospel. When people recognize that you truly love and care for them, then they trust you and they will have the desire to know what you know and live how you live. Even out here in the mission field when people tell us they aren't interested (in a nice way) then we continue to go back and visit them and continue to serve them in any way that we can to show that we truly care for them. We are all brothers and sisters here on earth... unfortunately some have gotten lost along the way but as members of the church it is our duty to not only live the gospel but to teach it. I know that the lord prepares people in his own time and even though people may not accept right away, they will remember the impact of love that we as members of the church left on them and they will have that desire to either come back or know more. Everyone is always welcome into the church with open arms no matter what their past may be. We all have such huge potential to bring others to the church and we can be a light and example to everyone around us.... but we need to act and if our actions are motivated by love then we will help rescue a spritual son or daughter of our heavenly father. We are here to assist in the work, there is no script to follow on how the work should be done... as long as we will be in tune with the spirit then our mouths will be filled with what the lord would have us do or say! i know this church is true with all my heart! i know why i am here and i recognize the importance of my calling not just as a missionary but as a member of the church as well! I'm so happy to be serving here in virginia and i know it is where the lord called me and needs me to be! Thanks so much for all your love and support, i've got the best support around by far! Keep being amazing and working hard, and never forget that you are good enough :) LOVE YOU ALL XOXO
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