Trying to enjoy the MTC while I can
Then next experience I would like to relate is on the power of fasting and prayer. As my mom can attest, I have had some pretty remarkable experiences with fasting in my lifetime, and my testimony was already strong to begin with on this subject. This Sunday, me and my companion Elder Cook decided to fast so that we could receive extra strength and help. I can't say that our answer came in some amazing way, but I can say that it did come. We were able to be more focused and get more done in the last couple days and I know it is a result of that fast. I know that this is the way many of our requests to the Lord are answered. Not in miraculous or amazing ways, but in simple, effective ways that both answer our prayer, and allow us to receive the blessing of recognizing God's hand in our lives.
I can't believe its already another P-day! It is true what they say about the MTC; the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. So many things have happened this week as always, but I suppose I will start with the departure of the Danish and the Icelandic missionaries. Both have been great Elders to be around, and the Icelandic have especially been great examples of hard work, diligence, and humility. Just a word or two more on them, it has been really cool being around them not just for their example, but because they are truly a rare breed of missionaries. There are only 8 total Icelandic missionaries in the world and we happened to have gone through the MTC 3 of them. (Nearly half of all of them in the world!) Mom, Dad, do you remember that Brother Brockman went to Iceland? [Jacob Brockman, who lived in the 36th ward for about a year and a half ago with his wife, Amanda.] He was truly a rarity and so it is really crazy that I have come across so many who have been called there in my life-time.
|Zone before the Danish missionaries left. (Snagged picture from Zuster Voss blog)|
I would also like to relate an experience that me and Elder Cook had during one of our practice investigator discussions. During this discussion, we were visiting with a sister that we had already taught a couple times before, so when we came in we decided not to try and give her a specific lesson, but to ask her what she desired from God, now that we had taught her about Him, and the restoration, and the plan of salvation. She related to us that she desired help from Him to quit drinking as smoking, and she just wanted Him to help. Upon hearing this I cannot describe the feeling that came over me. No longer was this just a practice lesson or anything like that, I felt such a love and desire to help her that it was overwhelming. I knew without a doubt what she needed, and I tried with every fiber of my being to relate the love and words of my heart to her. As I began, I related to her that her desires were in fact righteous, and that she was going to be ok now. I told her God knew that she and all other people on this earth would experience difficulties like hers in this life, and that he had graciously provided a way for us to overcome these slip-ups and downfalls. That way is Jesus Christ. I felt as if I was burning with the spirit as I told her that he had suffered for our sins, and that through him, not only could she be forgiven of her sins, but that as she would ask with real intent to change, he would be able to strengthen her, and change her desires. I cannot describe how good and how right it felt to tell her these things. I felt like in that moment I could relate to Elder Holland's description of how he felt baring testimony of the Savior a couple conferences ago, because in that moment I was more sure that Jesus is the Christ, and that He loves and wants to help us, than I was of that fact that we were in that room, sitting and teaching a lesson that day. It was a sacred, even holy experience for me, and it wasn't until later that I realized that I hadn't even had to think about the Dutch. I hadn't used any words that I did not previously know, but every word that I did need was brought to back to my memory in that moment.
Yesterday, this Tuesday we had a great devotional. James B. Martino of Seventy and his wife came to speak. He had a few things to say, and I will relate a few of them to all of you now. The first applies mostly just to missionaries, the second I think could be important to all. The first thing he reminded/taught us about was the fact that we are called servants of our Lord, and that it is our duty to challenge and promise our investigators that if they will do something, they will receive a blessing. He says that many of us probably get that, and that we understand that the investigator must act in faith on what you have told them to obtain a blessing. But what he taught me, at least, was that we must also have faith, and pray, and plead to our Heavenly Father that the promise we have made He will make valid. It is in this way that we stay humble, and continually realize that the blessings we are promising truly are coming from God and not us. The second thing he taught us is that as missionaries and people, the Lord does not expect us to always meet our goals. He related a story to us about a diver. This diver came to a competition very sure of himself and with only one goal in mind - to not fail. As the competition started, he was fairly early on in the competition. He got up, completed his dive flawlessly, and came up out of the water to see that he had received nearly all perfect scores of 10's and 9.5's. He was thrilled and decided that he would stay through the competition to see how the other divers did and to receive his medal at the end. As the meet went on, no other divers came even close to his perfect scores. Most only got 5's and 6's with the occasional diver getting a 7. At the end of the competition, the diver was definately feeling confident and proud of himself for having been so perfect in his dive. As the awards were handed out though, the diver was shocked to find that he had not won, in fact, he had taken dead last. He was taken aback, thinking that surely there had to have been some mistake. As he talked to the judges, they kindly explained to him that although his dive was nearly perfect in every way, it had only had a degree of difficulty of 1.0. His swan dive was nearly perfect, but the other divers had done dives of much greater degrees of difficulty, some even reached as high as 5.5 time harder then his own dive. Their dives may have not been perfect, but their scores had been multiplied by their degree of difficulty, putting them far ahead of those other divers who had stayed well within their comfort zone. Brother Martino related this to our missions and to our lives. The Lord would much rather that we set goals for ourselves and strive for things that we know are a little out of our reach and fall a little short. He will not judge us for failing, he will always account into our score the degree of difficulty of the challenges placed before us. This was such a comfort and an inspiring thought to me.
Well my time is all up for this week, I didn't get anywhere close to telling all the things that I wanted to but I hope that all of you know that I love you and pray for you, and that this work is true! This church is the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today.
Just a reminder that I would love to hear from all! Letters and emails are so uplifting and inspiring!
Elder Hayden L. Lott
ps Mom, Do you know when you may be sending the gortex jacket? if you already have it from David, send it whenever.
pps Dad, thank you so much for finding a way I can play music. Elder Reese has something similar to what you described and it has been such a blessing for us to listen to spiritualy uplifting music. Put on all motab, and if you have any Christ-centered Christmas music that would be good too. Thanks! [If any you have music suggestions that fit Elder Lott's request, please let Michael or me know - Thanks, Anastasia]