This week marked Elder Peterson's one year mark on August 6 and my two year mark on the 7th so we celebrated. They were both excellent days and we had some great experiences. In our weekly planning session we were able to bounce ideas off of each other and use our tools we have been given in unity. Elder Peterson put in the plans for the people we discussed while I called and set up appointments and entered them into the area book planner app on the iPad. Later on the day we were blessed with the opportunity to find for some time.One of our appointments fell through so we decided to go tract an area we had been wanting to tract earlier but had not gotten around to it. Once we got there we were able to talk to a few people about
the gospel. One of them we shared the “Because He Lives” video. She said that it made her day and we were able to talk with her about the Book of Mormon and how it could bless her life. Ultimately she agreed to let us come by again, but said that she didn't want to commit to anything. But the spirit was very strong in the lesson and it helped if only for that moment. It was definitely a seed that was planted. Hopefully as we come back she will be more interested in learning more and the spirit will touch her.
Friday was a great day. The best part was being able to teach Steve a lesson. It was the first discussion with him and we brought a member friend who had previously given him a copy of the Book of Mormon. The lesson went really well. He had already been reading from the Book of Mormon before we got there and agreed to be baptized when he found out that it was true. He has a lot of real intent and understands the purpose of our visits. It is from this and other visits that I have learned the power of not just teaching a lesson, but teaching to the people and their needs, adapting the lesson to have significance in their lives. I have also found the how to begin teaching points in preach my gospel chapter 10 to be an effective way of drawing out their testimonies and questions and concerns. It really makes it easier to adapt to their circumstances if at first we get to know what their expectations are and how they need to be taught.
Another powerful lesson was with a less active named Alvin. He knows the church is true, but wants to overcome things that have been weighing him down. This time as we taught the restoration it was different. Instead of merely asking a few questions and lecturing, we were able to adapt. We helped him see that God loves him no matter what and want him to be a strong example for his family and that it is possible to change ingrained habits through the study of the scriptures and church attendance. We showed him the relevance of receiving personal revelation in his life and being an example for his family by being a righteous priesthood holder.
We talked about how the savior gave the priesthood to his apostles to cast out demons and have power over unclean spirits and how that he could have power over his weakness if he built upon the foundation stone of Jesus Christ. We taught how that sometimes we are in a state of darkness just as the world was before the time of Joseph smith, but that if we do as he did, ask of God sincerely and with real intent we can be brought back to the true fold of God and the light of the gospel. We told how the Book of Mormon was key to building that faith and keeping it strengthened. We committed him to daily reading of the scriptures, not to know if it was true, but to provide protection for himself and his family. That lesson was completely guided by the spirit. It would not have gone that way if Elder Peterson were so concerned about teaching a lesson and leaving that we were not able to feel the still small prompting a of the spirit. From these two lessons I have learned the importance of not rushing through principles to teach, but applying principles as we listen to the needs of those we teach. The latter is much more satisfying and effective. It has been a great week.
Earlier today Elder Peterson taught me how to put spin on a bowling ball. It was much more effective that way than simply chucking the ball down the alley and missing the pins altogether. But we had a lot of fun. Hope everyone is doing well. I love each of you. I am thankful to be able to write to you.
Elder Jaden Davis