This past Thursday has been the best day of my mission so far! Studies were amazing, and the spirit taught both of us some great ways we could improve our teaching. We realized we don't let the spirit teach enough. That was made evident on Sunday when we tried teaching the Restoration to a new investigator, and we basically shot her with a doctrine shotgun. She participated very little, because we were to busy talking, and we ignored the promptings that told us that she didn't need to know the Restoration yet. She barely had a faith in Christ, and here we were teaching about the great apostasy and why prophets are so important. We even lost the members who were there. They actually fell asleep. In essence, it was a total train wreck. When we left, we both felt awful, and knew something had to change. Teaching people and not lessons became very real for me that night. We came up with a new way to teach. The missionary should only open there mouths for 4 reasons:
1.Ask a question
2.Teach a simple doctrine
3.Read a scripture
4.Testify of a simple truth
We felt that this would allow the investigator a better opportunity to ponder and think about what the spirit is telling them, and help them understand the principles better. It also helps us teach by the spirit, and something Ive learned is that if you aren't feeling the spirit, then its time to shut up haha We put that to the test and it is amazing what the Lord has done with our teaching.
Our first lesson was with Yevonne, and we felt that the best thing we could do with her was just read the Book of Mormon. We prayed about what chapter would be best, and we felt that Ether 12 was a good one. We started reading and it was talking about faith, and she stopped and said, "I am so happy this brought that up!" She started telling us all about what she is going through, and how faith can help her. We taught very simply through lots of questions, and the spirit started teaching her from there. When it was time to leave, I noticed a change in the room. I felt that a sense of peace had come over the room. I asked "can you feel that?", and she said, "yea... what is that?" I said, "that is the Holy Ghost telling you that all these things are true." She could not stop smiling! She is getting closer! I can feel it!
We taught a lady named Simone. She is a former Seventh Day Adventist who is seeking to find God more fully in her life. She is SO PREPARED!!! We taught her the Restoration and she was SO excited to start reading the Book of Mormon. She had all kinds of questions, and all of them could be answered with the Book of Mormon. I was so excited I was like shaking and falling out of my chair, and Elder Yates had to put his hand on my knee to calm me down ahah. I am so excited to teach her again! She is so gold!!
The craziest lesson we taught this week was definitely Grant. We had an initial goal to teach him covenants to subtly help him understand why Baptism is so important, but he saw right through that. He went to Jacques baptism, and one of the speakers mentioned that baptism was just the beginning. He was rather offended by the idea that all he had done was worthless without baptism. He expressed that he had been following Christ his whole life, and if his life and belief wasn't good enough for heaven, he didn't want to go. At this point, I was like "Holy crap... How are we ever going to recover from this..." and I said I silent prayer in my heart that the spirit would tell us what to do. Afterwards, Elder Yates told me that he had a simple thought, "Lets look to the mortal Christ" and he turned to Luke 2. I wasn't sure where he was going with that, because I felt prompted to turn to another scripture, but as he started reading, I realized he had the better idea. He read about all the great things Jesus did growing up before he was baptized, and the spirit prompted me to know where to go from there. I asked, "Did Jesus getting baptized cancel out all the good he had ever done before that? No, it allowed him to do more." We testified that God doesn't ask us to be baptized because we aren't good enough. He asks us do it because we can do even more when we are baptized. We pled with him to not settle for good enough, we asked him to go for incredible. I don't think I have had a more powerful experience in any other lesson I have been in. He was silent for awhile, and he said, "You know, that makes sense, thank you for that." The spirit TOTALLY made all that happen. I don't know how that lesson was successful, save it were divine intervention.
We have been learning so much. I have never felt closer to the spirit in my life. A scripture that keeps running through my mind is in John 8, when the Savior says that he only does the things that please his father. If it didn't please the Father, he didn't do it. Period. I feel that that needs to be all of our mindsets. As I have come to understand that scripture more fully, I am starting to get over my perfectionist attitude, and I am starting to stop caring about what anyone else thinks, because the only opinion that even matters is God's anyways. Who cares what others think about you? Who cares if they love or hate you? As long as you are pleasing your father, it really doesn't matter what anyone else may think. As I am developing this mindset, I am starting to feel the spirit more, because I am not worried about impressing others, and as a result, I am not being so hyper critical of my own shortcomings. Life is so much better when you get out of your own way, and just please the father. As long as you do that, there is no reason to ever feel upset or frustrated. Happiness really is a choice, so when you think to groan, choose to laugh, and the spirit will testify that you have great cause to rejoice, for you are being faithful!
Life is good!! Love you all!