North Carolina Charlotte Mission

Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are your brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee. -Alma 31:35

Thursday, February 21, 2013

1/28/13 "Marsupials in Madagascar"

Well, Jacob, I guess you didn't make your first flight from the premortal life.  It's mind-boggling to me that you're headed off on your mission already. Seems like just a few months ago we were wishing Samuel farewell. Time flies, eh?

And speaking of time flying, as of last Friday I am 1/4 of my way through my mission.


Disclaimer: I am not counting down the days here. Running 7 miles (63 laps) three days a week made me the sort of person who keeps track of fractions. End disclaimer.

But it's been a pretty good first six months. This last week has been particularly great. Elder Shumway and I have had to learn a lot of things. First, we had to learn to talk to everyone. Once we got that down, we had to learn how to plan effectively. After that, we had to learn how to find people effectively, and now we're working on teaching effectively. Thankfully, the Spirit helps and guides, all the time.

There is a finding technique that President Craven has been teaching, called the Savior's Peace and Blessing. You see, when a missionary knocks on the door, there may be some preliminary chit-chat, but eventually you get to this: "Can we share this message with you?" And they either say yes or no. (Generally no.)

But the Savior's Peace and Blessing is slightly different. You instead offer to bless their home, praying with them and their family. Hopefully they invite you in, you call the family into the room, you ask for who you can pray for, and you leave a blessing with them. It is not a prayer, it is a blessing. You do not begin "Dear Heavenly Father," but "In the name of Jesus Christ," just like you would with any Melchizedek Priesthood blessing.
There are a few advantages to this. First, "May we leave this blessing with you?" sounds a lot less threatening than "May we give this message to you?" It also sounds like it goes more quickly, so the pressed on time are more willing to go with it. Secondly, people are most likely to listen when they feel the Spirit testify to them, and leaving a blessing can be a very powerful witness from the Spirit. After you finish leaving the blessing, you can usually segway into teaching a lesson.

However, there's a catch. In order to for this to work, you have to be a good missionary. You have to be diligent, you have to be obedient, you have to have a testimony, and you have to be clean. In short, you have to have the Spirit with you if you're going to be able to leave a blessing with any sort of power. If you are slacking off in any way, your blessing will just be words, and these people won't feel anything. Any bum with a name tag can ask "Can we share a message with you?" but only a devoted witness of the Lord Jesus Christ can leave a blessing.

This week, Elder Shumway and I used the Savior's Peace and Blessing in our finding activities. Every time we left a blessing with someone who it was possible for us to teach, we taught a lesson afterward. (Can't go in the home if it's a single lady, but you can bless the home anyway.) So, to put this in simpler terms: people felt the Spirit, and wanted more. It's incredible -- both Elder Shumway and I have been prompted to say things in these blessings which could only have been given to us by the Spirit.

Using this blessing, for example, we were able to teach the Wickware family: a mom of four kids and her sister. We've since taught them twice, and they came with us on a church tour, attended church, and went to lunch with the Vailahi family (more on the Vailahi's in a second.) We're teaching them again on Tuesday. The oldest boy's going to play basketball with the priests on Wednesday, too. So hopefully we'll be seeing some real growth before too long!
Again, feeling extremely blessed.

Two quick stories:

1. I was on exchange with my District Leader Elder Merrell this week. As we were biking out of an apartment complex, we hear a man shout, "My Mormon brothers!"
"What'd you say?" I ask.
The following conversation went something like this:
"Hey guys! I'm one of you! I joined the Church in the 90's! Elder Orchard and Elder Kilpatrick!"
"That's awesome! What's your name?"
"Can we talk with you?"
"Ah, no. Not right now."
"'Cuz I'm high."
"On what?"
"Now now, Maurice, you know you're not supposed to do that."
"Now we're going to come back tomorrow at 3. You're going to be sober when we come back, right?"
I love being a missionary.

2. The Vailahis are a family from Tonga. (To the Lynn McMurray family: did you ever know a Patriarch Vailahi Tonga? They asked me to ask you.) Brother Vailahi is a professional wrestler. You know, the fake wrestling. He is HUGE. His wrestling name is The Barbarian, and he and his partner Warlord make up the Powers of Pain. One of the times he had us over to his house for dinner, he told us about what he did. In his own words, he is a "bad guy," or "heel," and it is his job to beat up the "good guy," or "baby face," and then lose. He's still doing it, about thirty years or so. He's even in some video games, where his special move is a boot to the head. Awesome? You'd better believe it!
Well, I've gone and run out of time again. I'll tell you more next week. I love my companion, I love my mission, and I love you all!
Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

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