"Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof." - Alma 32:39
This was a week of many strange occurrences. Elder Dedrick and I survived transfers, for one thing, so he will be my fourth companion to last for more than a transfer. We will remain together in Newton-Conover.
One such strange occurrence was Elder Dedrick and I doing service for a nonmember lady. There was a MOUNTAIN of soda cans in her backyard, the acquired Sundrops of ages piled up as a monument to the glory of caffeine, that we had the great pleasure of bagging so that it could be taken to the recycling place and handed over in exchange for a nice green Ben Franklin in the hand. Afterwards we taught her about the Restoration.
Or the zone conference on Tuesday with President Craven. Last zone conference he told all of the zone to prepare a talk on Moroni 10:32 so that he could call on a few of us at random to speak. He got me to speak at that conference, so when we were told to prepare another talk for this meeting, this time on a General Conference talk, I prepared one but was fairly certain that I would be safe. Not so. President called me to speak again.
I used President Uchtdorf's priesthood session talk, "Sleeping through the Restoration," but instead twisted it to talk about "Sleeping through your mission." I originally spelled out a ton of do's and don'ts while preparing it, but I decided instead to just ask the zone a lot of questions to consider: In what ways am I selfish? In what ways do I try to avoid being obedient, or diligent, or selfless? What competing priorities do I have?
Usually for zone conferences President gives a training the last few hours or so on some practical principle, like finding or something. Not so with this one. In front of the assembled Hickory zone he went into some deep doctrine about grace and resurrection. Partway through, he asks the audience, "When you are resurrected, what age will you be resurrected to?"
A timid voice replies, "Your prime?"
"Your prime?" President says. He rotates on his heels to look at me and says, "ElderFisher, you just barely turned 21 today; is that your prime?"
I paused and said, "Well, I had been hoping that my prime would be a bit thinner."
We have seen many highs and lows this week and much activity. I accompanied a musical number at zone conference ("Lead Thou Me On") another musical number at a baptism ("Beautiful Savior") and sang a solo of "This is the Christ" in sacrament meeting. It was hard for me, because I wish I had the kind of voice that could fully express my testimony through that song, but hopefully the effort I showed sufficed.
We see all different kinds of levels of faith here. This week a learned man we had taught for weeks told us that he had to stop meeting with us. Why? Because instead of reading the Book of Mormon to get his answers like we had invited him to do -- and like he'd promised he would do -- he instead looked up a whole bunch of anti-Mormon rubbish and believed it. On the other hand, we had a powerful experience with another man, Charles, because he actually had read when we asked him to, reciting to us the story of Alma and Korihor, Helaman 13:37-39 and quoting Moroni 7:11.
There are so many people and so many stories I could share, because this week seemed to be crammed full of more events and happenings than should be possible with a regular timeline. But I can't tell you about all of them.
Let me just say that it is so important to have faith. I have complete, 100% certainty that if people will read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, they WILL know that it is true. It is a spiritual constant. Reading + Prayer = Answer of Truth. If people do not get that answer, it is not because the Book of Mormon is not true or that the seed was bad; it was because they would not nourish the tree.
How important it is to even just try. Jesus told the Pharisee that if they would onlytry what he taught, they would know for themselves if what he taught was true.
I've only got three months left. I have no intention of sleeping through my mission. Now is the time to work harder than ever before and be even more sanctified than I've ever been. The day is drawing to a close. It's time to go and harvest!
Love you all. Hurrah for Israel!