It's great to hear how you all are doing. After hearing about some of your experiences from this past week. It just makes me think about how thankful I am to have all of you in my life. I truly have been blessed to have been raised where I was.
This week has been pretty amazing. We have been able to teach a lot more lessons than usual, and even got to go on some crazy exchanges. On Tuesday night, I had the chance to go on splits with the high priests in the ward. We went to visit one of our investigators who just so happened to be standing out in front of his house working on his car (and smoking a cigarette...). We were able to have a good discussion about the First Vision and how we can receive answers from God. He and his son are non-denominational Christians who have very Catholic views in regards to doctrine. He told us how he believed in the Trinity, and had questions about our view of the Godhead. It was a wonderful conversation, and said that he still really wanted to meet with us. Hopefully we can find another time to meet with him (he has a crazy work schedule).
On Thursday, I went on exchanges with the two other greenies in my district. All three of us were put together because our trainers all had to go to a leadership meeting. I was the only one with driving privileges, so I got to drive (don't worry Dad; I didn't drive too fast ;) ) One of the lessons we taught was to a man who "really wants to find the truth". He had been dropped by other missionaries about a year and a half ago because he couldn't make a decision about baptism. We taught him about the Restoration, and he actually remembered quite a lot. I even extended the baptismal invitation to him at the end of the lesson, but he told us that he wanted to know for sure before he agreed. I can kind of see why he was dropped before, but hopefully the Spirit is able to touch his heart because he really is a receptive, golden investigator. He was quite thankful that we invited him to baptism, though.
One thing that has been on my mind a lot recently is the Atonement. We learn that the Atonement is the only thing that can change us, that we can't become like our Heavenly Father without it; but how can we more fully utilize it? The answer: live and learn the Doctrine of Christ.
The Doctrine of Christ is the most important thing that we can learn about. It teaches us to have faith in Christ, to repent, to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to endure to the end. The only way we can internalize this doctrine is by having faith unto repentance. One scripture I read today really stood out to me:
1 And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.
2 And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
3 And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them.
I would hope that we all learn to have that faith and desire, because Christ is the only way we can improve. One of my MTC teachers said that "Christ is the answer to everything, including your French toast".
I love you all and hope you all have a great week! Keep in touch.