Hello everyone. It's been a great week this week. I have learned one of the greatest lessons of my life and I am so happy to have received the opportunity to know more fully how much Christ loves each of us individually and how ready and willing he is able to give us help if we humble ourselves, accept His help, and resolve to act upon it.
We taught the stop smoking 15 step program to brother Kidwell this week and he has cut back substantially. Sister Dietz has also stopped smoking as a result of illness. She was glad that the Lord has helped her through the sickness and took the opportunity to finally quit. She looked a lot better as a result as she came to church. She also asked us for ways to keep it that way. So we told her to pray, rely on the Lord and take lots of vitamin C within the recommended safety levels.
We also located all of the different churches here in Marshall. There are 20 different Christian churches including ours. We are taking the Zone Leader's advice and will eventually show the pastors the Mormons Next Door presentation to help the community understand us better and also ask them if they would like us to show it to their congregations. We also had the opportunity to see Brother Kidwell gain the willpower to crush his cigarettes that he had rolled himself. He has a lot of faith and has a strong desire to re-enter the temple in the future. We have started the process of volunteering at the Avera Hospital here in town. So we will finish the application on Tuesday and hopefully start volunteering next week.
Saturday was a very good day. I learned that Satan slowly works at us to move away from good habits and spiritual growth until we eventually become blinded to the truth and are unsure of our confidence. I learned that the only antidote for this poison is humility and trusting in the Lord. We need to accept His loving help after which "He doth immediately bless us." When I chose to honestly look at myself and how I was doing spiritually, I was shocked and I needed the Savior's help at overcoming weaknesses that I didn't recognize within myself. I was painfully made aware of these shortcomings. As soon as I tried with all my heart to call for deliverance, as soon as I was sincere, the spirit testified to me that I need not worry anymore. That God is in control and that he will help me. I am grateful for this experience. Satan slowly works people away through cunning devices and then leads them to believe there is no way back. But there is always a way back. We need to heed the Savior's call to "Come and be perfected". We can "take His yoke" upon us daily. As we do so, our "burdens will be made light." It is interesting to see the contrast between God and Satan. As we turn to God he doth "immediately bless us." (Mosiah 2:41) The Spirit immediately comes back into our lives as we constantly strive to do the right things, stay in the right habits, and accept God's will in all things.
Sunday was a great day. We were blessed to have five Less Active Members show up for church. One of them even agreed to give the invocation. (Opening Prayer). Many have told us how great they feel in returning to the church and how much they appreciate the opportunity to partake of the Sacrament again. It shows forth in their countenances. There is definitely a recognizable difference in how happy they are. The entire church block was focused on what is called the Call to Spiritual Nourishment. It was given by inspiration from the Sioux Falls South Dakota Stake to its members. 1. Read and ponder the scriptures daily 2. Have heartfelt kneeling prayers each day 3. Give Christ like Service 4. Live worthy of a Current Temple Recommend. It was a very inspiring meeting. The Branch also started a twelve week challenge to implement these four steps and further the work of salvation in the branch.
After Church we had an amazing lesson with the McDonalds. Brother McDonald testified of how the Sacrament has helped him and how thankful he was at receiving it again. His wife Karen once again felt the spirit as we testified of the role of the Sacrament. As we read from the Book of Mormon, she continued reading silently to herself as if she was searching and excited for more. She felt the spirit and was "hungering and thirsting after righteousness" she continually wanted to learn more. Thus we took the opportunity to testify of the Book of Mormon and being able to pray over anything to see if it is true. They both decided to pray to know if the verses we had read in 3 Nephi 18 about the Sacrament were true.
After the McDonald's, we saw Sister Heather Dougherty. We needed her help as a Graphic Design student to make a flyer for our Bible Study class we will be starting on October 8th. The flyer turned out great, but even better it gave her an assignment and developed a connection to the church again. We will be seeing her next week and her husband Sheriff has only had good experiences with our church since he has been investigating with previous missionaries. It's been such a relief to be able to rely on Christ and see Him accomplish His work. We are lucky enough to be a part of this great work. I am glad to be serving here. I'm excited for the future. I hope everything is going well back home. Have a great week and I love you all.
With love,Elder Davis