Wow 5 weeks already. The weeks fly by here. It feels like I was just back in Boston at school. The time flies because I am enjoying the time and learning so much so quickly. There is never a minute break here. Every minute is booked and planned. It's a lot but I like it. Like you all know, I am a fan of the grind. Besides if you aren't trying to go somewhere in life then what are you doing with your time.
Nothing physically spectacular has happened this week like last week did when I performed or anything but I learned a lot.
Me and my companion have struggled a lot with teaching over the past few weeks. It wasn't that we weren't teaching the doctrine well, but it was the fact that we weren't teaching the people. When you don't understand what your investigator is saying you tend to not worry about their needs. But that was our problem. Everytime we taught we wouldn't listen to what the investigator would say. Thus, the spirit was never present. But now, part in fact because we understand the language better and part in fact because we are trying to actually listen to the people we teach the lessons are going much much better. And by that I mean that the spirit is present and the investigators are actually making progress, growing spiritually and keeping their commitments. We had barely had any progress with our investigators before. Listening as a teacher is so important and we learned that lesson the hard way.
Also on Wednesday we were hosts for the new missionaries and so I got to see all the crying parents as they left their kids for two years. Some parents wouldn't let their kids go for like 7 minutes while balling the entire time while other parents would give their kid one hug and would be gone in less than 30 seconds without a tear. It was sweet but honestly pretty interesting.
On Tuesday, Elder Anderson, one of the Twelve apostles came and spoke to us. It is awesome to get to hear from all these general authorities while here. One of my favorite quotes from his talk was a quote he quoted from Joseph Smith which said: "Write things down that seem possibly from God. Then go back a few days later and you will know if it is from God or it just happened." I really like this because if we receive inspiration and don't know if it is from God or not we can just write it down and then come back later and if we still don't know then we can ask God like it says in D&C 50:31.
Another thing that Elder Anderson said in his talk on the Holy Spirit was that "We as missionaries and members are emissaries of things not seen." We really are because we testify of things that are felt. Jesus Christ who will come again some day and Joseph Smith who has passed from this earth.
One thing that we are trying to apply to our teaching and praying is as Elder Anderson said "I'm not afraid of silence." It is often in the quietest moments in life that we are taught truths and inspired through the Spirit. So in our lessons and our prayers me and my companion have been working on letting there be moments of silence when it feels right. It has really made a difference in the lessons.
This Sunday the director of operations here at the MTC spoke. He spoke about charity. I have never really thought about Charity. But I love Moroni 7:48 which tells us that we cannot have the trait without praying for it. We can't have charity just by working at it really hard. This is something that I have always thought if I worked hard enough then I could get anything. But obviously this is wrong although hard work is neccessary.
This quote applies directly to that thought: The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ would take slums out of people, and then they would take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who change their environment. The world would shape human behavior but Christ can shape human nature." -President Benson
Another thing from his comments. Instead of the common question of "What would Jesus Do?" maybe we can ask ourselves.."What would Jesus feel?" This is getting down to our human nature instead of our human behavior.
Last but not least I want to leave you with ten points on the Spirit that Elder Anderson talked about. I don't have time to go into what he said about each but I will let you guys ponder over them and try to apply them as you listen from the promptings of the Holy Ghost in your lives.
1. Both Intellect and Emotion
2. Heart must be believing, anticipating.
3. Direction without explanation with specific words in mind.
4. Helps connect doctrine to personal life.
5. Strengthens as our desires are educated.
6. Extends power of conscience.
7. Is confirmed by priesthood leadership.
8. Cannot be forced: must await in patience.
9. Comes at times "line upon line" leaving some answers until later.
10. Often comes as you speak or write.
Wo ai nimen.
-Ping Zhang Lao