Monday, 24 March 2014

Month 6: Bearing Testimony of Faith, Testimony and Conversion

Well this week was definitely a major highlight of my mission! I had a once in an mission life time opportunity. This Saturday we were able to attend a mission conference where Elder David A. Bednar would be instructing us. It was sooooo sweet! We also had 3 general authorities grace us with their presence, Elder Fauster, Elder Suarres, and the presiding bishopric counselor Dean M. Davies. We were asked to prepare by studying three talks about Faith, Testimony, and Conversion. Elder Bednar, even as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, is so humble! He is also So down to earth. He knows his stuff, but he still recognizes how much he needs to learn. He told us a little about what he would do to learn from the scriptures. He goes and re reads a paperback copy of the Book of Mormon where he asks a question, and highlights every thing that relates to a word in the questions or an answer to the question. After he finishes the Book of Mormon he will write a one page summary on the answers to the question he learned from reading the Book of Mormon! This is one of the best ideas ever! I am definitely going to start my own collection when I get back home. He made a joke how his kids wanted to steal his books and read them. But he said that they could not, he would with his last breath strike a match and watch every last book burn before he would pass on from this word. He is so much more personable and friendly as he went on through the meeting. He appeared a lot different from the times he talked on General Conference.
A common theme throughout the entire conference was Go and Do! Many times we pray for something to happen or for some miracle to occur, but we need to pray for the strength to go and do it Now! And to go do it. Faith is a principle of action of going and doing. Many time people will say "If I only had enough faith I would have more success" He says that Faith is not us changing the Lord's will to our will but us Changing our will to follow the Lord! The will of the Lord will happen either way! It was Eye opening for understanding and for ways I can improve myself!
 His first thing he says is "Don't Write down Anything That I say" He goes on and on about Mormon Culture,  or traditions where people write down what the speaker says and not what the speaker means. He explained that he thought it was not the greatest idea. He established something very interesting from the get go. We were to read 3 talks before hand about Faith, testimony, and conversion. Then he let it go around with missionaries raising their hand and speaking about what they were able to learn from the talk. Afterward he would speak about what they said, and summarize it and then expand upon the points he spoke to us about! And Repeat! This was the tone for the rest of the meeting. He talked about the pattern for teaching which he was taking us through. 

He had us prepare and study then he asked us these questions about what we learned from the talks or the material we gave him. Than he would talk about that and expound adding bits of doctrine to it and his own testimony. He would invite us to answer a question of his after we told our insight or our revelation we received. One of my favorite tidbits I learned was that "Faith is action and fear is the opposite to faith and is inaction". This process continued throughout the whole meeting. He asked us what we were learning about how this process worked and then the last hour was on our questions we had for him and the other seventies. This conference focus was on faith and using our faith to be agents and act rather than be acted upon. He would never make us do something we did not want to nor did he make any other person answering the question do it. He invited them to do it making them agents for themselves. This is exactly what we need to do in all our situations we are in whether it be parenting, teaching investigators, or teaching a class. We must have the students become agents rather than objects waiting to be acted upon. I would encourage you all to read these talks and than to strive to apply this process of teaching! He also talked about playing the "dopey guessing game". Another part of Mormon culture is where in class you play guess what is in my mind and you have the class or person try to give an answer that you have already formed. He encouraged us to repent and never to do this again :

) I would encourage all of you to get away from this "foolish tradition" and help to make all in your classes agents! I will strive to do my best to not to too anymore!
Faith: Music With a Message

This conference was something amazing and very influential. I learned A TON! It is truly the Spirit that is the one who teaches us all and the Spirit definitely did edify us! The cool thing about the Spirit was that it carries the truth unto our hearts rather than into our hearts. We must accept and be willing to act on those impressions we receive. Oh man! There was just so much I learned. I can say to you all and to the people of Ontario without a doubt in my mind. We are truly lead by men of God and there are 15 men who are called of God to be Prophet, seers, and revelators. I know they lead us where we need to go and I know that God would never let them lead us astray. I have met these men and I know that they are inspired men of God who can commune and receive revelation directly from God. I am so grateful for them and they knowledge and counsel they impart to us! No one can tell me these men are not of God. I also got to shake hands with and stand face to face to Bednar. It was some of the coolest moments I will treasure forever. After the conference we went and had a huge missionary luncheon and than we took a posterity pictures. It was awesome to see missionaries I had not seen since the beginning of my mission. The drive back was not to bad and pretty great! 
So this past week was good. We now have 3 progressing invs. Meggaen, Janus, and Velma! It was awesome to see these amazing people exercise their faith to start to make covenants with our Heavenly Father. Meggaen is still reading and learning like crazy! We are so excited to be able to help her in learning more about her Father in Heaven and helping her to receive answers from Him. It is so awesome to see investigators take the invitation to pray and ask with so much desire and than to have the experience where He does answer them. Janus is our Chinese friend. He has been living in Canada for 2 years now and is still learning English even though we think he speaks it pretty dang good! We got to take him on a church tour this week and he LOVED our church and the pictures. He also loved the idea of finally being able to be baptized and whipped out his phone and set a date for himself to be baptized on Apirl 20! We were super excited! Than Velma too is working towards her date! She is down to smoking only a few a day and we are excited to help her with the quit smoking program! This program is a missionary program and I have seen it work to help so many people to overcome this harmful addiction. Velma is so happy to be able to quit and work towards quitting for her own health and the Baby. It has been a great week being able to help them learn more and to help them to recognize the Spirit more easily in their lives. 
This week was another awesome one as we hit SOE again! I am so grateful for the Lord making it possible for us to see so much success these past two weeks. We had a ton of Dinner appts this past week which helped the week go by quicker! Monday night we of course do our weekly dinner at the Poulins! It was of course another great time! I got made fun of for spilling the spaghetti sauce on my collar after saying I have yet to do it. We got to celebrate St Pattys day by eating a very green supper! It was for sure an evening of fun! I think this is the one night I always look forward to the most! There's not to many other times during the week where I laugh as hard as I do on Mondays. 
So something funny that I have been doing since it has been snowing her a ton but now I cannot since the snow is gone is parking on huge snow banks and making Elder Lowry climb over them. He always gets a good laugh out of it as I continue to do it sometimes and make him work to get out. 
Other times I have been easier on him and let him out before we park. Just a funny side note. On Sunday we got to have Stake Conference in Hamilton! We drove up with the Poulin's to it. We had Bishop Dean Davies come to speak to us there. It was a super good meeting and awesome because we had people there! The ride up to Hamilton was great as we discussed what we all learned from Elder Bednar the previous day and other affairs.  It was kinda squishy but a fun ride. Ian is pretty awesome! We just talked the whole time coming back about his many adventures. Its fun to be with that family as there is never any quiet time. That evening I decided to make supper for my companion and man was it ever good! We finished off the week with some amazing food! It was one of the better fun filled weeks of my mission! Well this is our week sorry it is all over the place but it was a sweet one! Love you all and have an awesome week! 

Love Elder Sopal! 

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