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, March 7, 2013

3/4/13 "And he prays"

Big news first:
Due to all the missionaries coming in because of the age change announcement, the MTC has shortened its training period by a third. So, while I was at the MTC for three-ish weeks, all English-speaking missionaries henceforth will be there two weeks; medium-difficulty language missionaries will be there for six, and the hard language missionaries will be there for eight, I believe.
(This brings up an interesting observation that a member told me: English-speaking missionaries come back scriptorians. Latin-speaking missionaries come back fluent. Everyone else just kinda survives for two years.)

The first batch of 2-week missionaries comes in today. (Our mission will have received about 40 new missionaries by the end of this week.) Transfers were shortened by a week to account for this change. What all this means is that my mission just got one week shorter. So it's very probable that I will not have served a full two years by the end of my mission. Crazy, huh?
The other crazy thing was that President Craven asked me to be the trainer of one of these missionaries. I just finished two transfers with Elder Shumway, so he's completed his training. President Craven told me that he generally doesn't have his missionaries train twice back-to-back, but he trusts me, so here I go again. I'm most likely going to be here in Pineville for another two transfers (three months). I'm feeling much better about being a trainer this time around. I'm so glad that Elder Shumway has been such a patient and teachable companion.
Well, this last week has been one of those weeks. Elder Shumway and I spent hours and hours each day trying to find people to teach. Didn't get all that much success in a numbers sense, but this week has been chock-full of little miracles and fun stories all over the place. On Friday we helped some nonmembers move in, which included getting a washer, a dryer, and one of those fold-out beds up into their second-floor apartment. On Sunday we helped an Iranian couple with their yard work on the spur of the moment; they were extremely impressed that we were fasting at the time and made us dinner afterwards.

Whoever is in charge of the weather here must be watching YouTube while he's on the job, because it's been jumping all over the place. Not that I'm ever hot or cold, it's just that it's irksome to be switching coats on and off all the time.
I was thinking a lot about repentance this week. Repentance is the most essential aspect of the Gospel of Christ. We have faith so we will repent; we get baptized to commit to repent; we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost to help us repent; and the phrase "endure to the end" just means "keep repenting." Repentance is the process of changing our view of everything so that it aligns with Heavenly Father's view of everything. If we have low self-esteem, well, we need to repent, because Heavenly Father knows that we are of infinite worth. If we don't feel like being obedient, we need to repent. If we do something wrong, we need to repent. It is all part of the crucial sanctification process.
I was reading about Alma the Younger's conversion experience in Mosiah. I always thought it was interesting that he describes himself as "snatched" from endless misery. "Snatched" is a very unique way of putting it. It puts in my mind the thought of a person falling off a cliff and someone diving to catch their hand at the last second, saving them. So frequently the Savior is referred to as the Good Shepherd. It came to me that so often we, as the sheep of His flock, wander away from the safe pastures into forbidden paths. However, the Shepherd cannot forget His sheep. He was aware the second we strayed away, and He was already moving to our rescue that very instant. If we fall off a cliff, we can rest assured that He will be there to catch us and pull us back to safety.

That is such a comforting thought to me; if we ever feel that we are trapped, or cannot escape, or that things are getting too hard, or that we cannot ever possibly repent or be forgiven -- just remember, that the Shepherd is on His way. He has not forgotten you. He knows exactly where you are, and how you feel, and He will not rest or stop until He has returned you safely home. And He doesn't mind just how many times He has to do it. That was His promise. The Shepherd loves you, and He will never forget you. He cannot; we are, after all, engraved upon the palms of His hands.
Jesus Christ lives. I've said it many a time, but that's because it's true. The Church is true, and I love all of you. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher 

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