Monday, August 31, 2015

New investigators, a new bike and Faith

August 31, 2015

Elder Christensen and Elder Oxspring at Salthill beach
(Sent from Sister Holbrook who we met while walking)
 Wow another week has already come and passed! I can't believe that September is already beginning tomorrow; I never knew the weeks could go by so fast. This last week was wonderful!

Elder Reimers (senior couple) was ill on Tuesday, so he let us borrow the car for the day. And Tuesday was district meeting, so I got to drive down to Limerick and Elder Christensen drove back. Our new district seems like it will be pretty fun. There is a new Elder in Limerick who just got out of the MTC, Elder Wall from England. So it's weird that I am not even the youngest missionary in my district anymore. And Elder Dewsbery seems to be a great district leader as well. It was nice to have the car for the rest of Tuesday because it poured hard the whole afternoon. Plus my bike's chain fell off and one of the gears shattered so we were able to take our bikes in the car to get them fixed. Oh and good news! We have been in contact with the mission home, and we are going to be getting new bikes this week!! Elder Christensen couldn't stand his bike anymore (the bike I had last transfer) so he has been working hard to get new bikes. We took all 4 of our bikes into the shop and it was estimated that it would cost almost €1000 to get them all completely repaired, so we talked a lot with the mission home last week and we are going to trade our old bikes in this week and get new ones. The manager of the bike shop knows us pretty well because we have been there so many times, so he gave us a good deal.

We had quite a few lessons with investigators this week, so I was happy that we got to do plenty of teaching. I have found that the hardest part about working with investigators here in Galway is getting them to come to church. It is amazing how many people here don't have cars! There are so many people who just walk, bike, or bus everywhere. And on Sunday the buses do not start going until much later, so that makes it difficult. And all the members usually live way out of Galway city or have cars that are full and cannot bring investigators with them. So that has probably been the biggest struggle for us. 

I went on exchanges with Elder Dewsbery on Friday and we found so many new people who were willing to meet up sometime so that we can teach them. We found 7 people who gave us their numbers so we can call and schedule a time to meet up-  if you want to know how diverse Galway is, these are the nationalities of the 7 people: 2 Irish, 1 Chinese, 1 Czech, 1 Nigerian, 1 Brazilian, and 1 Polish. So it was great finding so many good people. 

On Saturday we were out walking at Salthill (beach) just talking to people and we ran into a former missionary that was just visiting here with his family. His name is Elder Holbrook and we talked with him for a good while. He was actually trained here in Galway too, and I had seen his name on some of the teaching records so it was cool to meet him. There are so many members on vacation that we meet here in Galway.

So I was given a few assignments at church on Sunday. Since the other Elder Christensen is gone now, I am going to be the new Young men's President. It isn't too difficult of a task because there aren't very many young men; it should be a good experience for me. Oh and I was also given the assignment of being primary pianist because I guess they want to do a small primary program in December with the few kids that they have, so I will be in primary playing the music so the kids can practice. And this is all in addition to being the ward pianist half the time and teaching gospel principles when we have investigators there. I don't know what they would do in this branch without missionaries.

I have been studying a lot about faith recently and how essential it is to gaining a strong testimony. Faith is the first principle of the gospel and it is the foundation upon we must build. No proof, evidence, or miracle can start a testimony. In the Book of Mormon, if you look at all the prophecies given by Samuel the Lamanite concerning Christ's birth, you can see that so many people gained a belief solely because the signs predicted by Samuel came true (3 Nephi 1: 15-18). However, all these people later became wicked, hardened their hearts, and forgot the signs that had been given to them (3 Nephi 2:1-3). In the New Testament we see that Simon (Peter) was blessed and called as an apostle not because he had faith of Jesus Christ by seeing Him in the flesh, but because he received confirmation from Heavenly Father (Matt. 15: 13-17). We need to have faith and pray and receive a witness from Heavenly Father in order to gain a testimony of truth. It is the only way! From Doctrine and Covenants we learn that the Lord does not reveal signs to those who ask. We must first have faith, and then we will receive signs and witnesses as confirmation that we are following the right path. Signs do not come by the will of man, but only by the will of God (D&C 63: 9-12). There is a reason why the golden plates are not on the Earth today or concrete proof of the truthfulness of the gospel are available for the world to see. It would be too easy if there was, and people would join the church based on logic and evidence, not by faith and testimony. However, all those who do act in faith will receive their own personal manifestations of truth.

The work in Galway is wonderful and I am so excited for this upcoming week. I am traveling to Dublin this Wednesday for an All-Ireland conference for all the missionaries currently in Ireland. It's going to be sweet! I cannot wait for all the amazing opportunities this week. I love missionary work!
Rockin Joe's- an American diner in Galway

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