That's what this week has been! A mind-plosion. Like an explosion, but of the mind. Like... my mind has exploded. Get the picture? Literally every single personal study I've had this week has had weight and significance to it. A little while back I was starting to study just random "deep doctrine" crap that has nothing to do with missionary work or salvation. So recently, I decided to go back to the very basics. Faith. Repentance. Our relationship with God, etc. It's amazing how much new perspective you can get just studying the basics. I realized that we so often take for granted how easy it is to maintain a relationship with God and maintain happiness. Of course the primary answers: Read, pray, go to church. The basics. I realized that even though these things are so easy (most of the time...), they can stamp such valid testimonies to our souls. I guess for myself, I was just thinking myself to be at a much higher spiritual plan of existence that simply reading, praying, and taking the sacrament couldn't possibly help me progress any more. I need to have way bigger stuff happen in order to further my testimony. FALSE. I'm ranting again, but it's all truth. Reading, praying, going to church, faith, repentance, baptism, the holy ghost, etc. etc. It's all true.
Another thing: Agency. When I first came out on my mission I remember saying that I wish I could just take people's agency away so that they'd be baptized and just accept the blessings of the gospel. More recently, while we were fulfilling our assignment as zone leaders, we had the opportunity to learn quite a bit about agency. We started applying the principle of leadership that Joseph Smith taught: "Teach [people] true principles, and let them govern themselves." It's so true! We had the opportunity to apply that this week several times, and it was such a learning experience. I realized that if we just tell people what to do, they really aren't going to learn anything from it. We just told them what we think, taught them, and invited them to act, or use their agency. I realized even more, that my parents are geniuses (geni? Genies?) because that's exactly how they raised me. "Hey Dad, can I go to my friend's house even though it's Sunday?"
"What do you think?"
But as I realized this I understood so much more why it's important. I wouldn't learn anything if you would have just said "Yes" or "No". I dunno. I understand it a lot better in my head than I can express over an email, but it's still SICK.
Even though we haven't really taught many lessons this week, and our teaching pool is pretty much evaporated with the scorching heat of summer semester at ASU, this week was still a super dope learning experience. Most of it just dealt with leadership and helping others in our zone to have converting experiences. Something I realized is that I'm on a mission to convert investigators, yes, but also myself, my companion, and other missionaries. That's been our focus as we've been trying to find more people to teach. We want to help our zone members have converting experiences that will help them be converted throughout their lives.
A cool miracle that happened this week! We were walking through an apartment complex looking for a member's apartment. There's a guy hangin' out at the pool and he says, "Hey, you guys lost?"
My thoughts: "Oh freak, we're about to get shot."
Nah, just kidding, it was a totally non-threatening situation. Anyway, so this guy tells us that he needs a good influence in his life. Well perfect sir, we happen to know some representatives of Jesus Christ that can help you find peace in this life and eternal joy in the life to come. It's us. So we sat with this guy and just listened to his problems. He had separated from his wife who was living in the same apartment complex he did, and he had been drinking and wanted to go see his kids. He asked our advice on whether or not he should go over there, and we told him that it'd probably be better if he went home and slept for the night and went and saw them later. Anyway, we were able to teach this guy about the Gospel and it was cool and stuff.
Thanks for all the support and prayers and stuff! My testimony is booming! The Atonement is real! I love being a missionary! I love my family! Have a great week!