|On exchanges with Elder Webb|
February 22, 2016
Dear Alley Family and Friends,
Wow! Is it time to e-mail you again? Man, it really feels like I just e-mailed you guys yesterday. Before we all know it, I'll be home to tell you about my missionary adventures in person. How crazy is that?!
Well, this week was a busy week because of zone conference and exchanges. This zone conference was awesome because we talked a lot about finding families and teaching them the gospel. There were also some personal revelations given to me from the Holy Ghost, but for now let it suffice to say that I learned a lot from that meeting. The exchange was also good. Elder Tunnell and Elder Webb, who serve in Oakland, Maryland, are great missionaries who work hard to serve the Lord. As soon as I can find a computer that will let me upload pictures, I'll send you the picture of my district so that you know what they all look like. I promise ;) Other than that, it was just another week out here in the mission field.
My insight for you guys this week comes from Ether 12 in the Book of Mormon. This chapter stood out to me this week because, during the exchanges, I worked with Elder Webb in Oakland and we were tracting around this neighborhood and there were many people that were just rude to us. They either said or yelled at us, "I don't want to talk to you", "Go away", or "I'm not interested". Luckily, it was just in that neighborhood and everyone else we met were more pleasant to us.
However, looking back at this experience and all my past experiences of trying to find people to teach or trying to teach them about the restored gospel, I remembered how I stumbled on my words when trying to say something about the gospel. It just feels like my words don't come out the way I want them to. To me, this is embarrassing. During this time, I was asking myself these questions: "Why can't I convey exactly how I feel about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ? Why am I so terrible at talking about it? What am I doing wrong?" It just seems like I'm better at writing about the gospel than I am at speaking about it. I wish I could speak about the gospel with same power as Elder Holland, the kind of power that could singe people's eyebrows ;) (reference to "Stay Within the Lines" Mormon message) or as Ammon who brought many Lamanites to the truth. I wish I could teach clearly and simply as Jesus Christ did when he was among the Jews and the Nephites. Why am I not like them?
Well, on Sunday morning before church, I brought these questions up to Heavenly Father in prayer. I remember asking Him, "Heavenly Father, please help me answer these questions either through the scriptures, a feeling or thought from the Holy Ghost, or whatever method that thou seest fit to give me." I also thought in my mind and heart, "I don't want a sign. I just want to know what thou seest in me." Not long after the prayer, I thought about Ether 12 and how Moroni told the Lord that he was worried that the Gentiles would mock the records on the gold plates because he felt that he, and others before him, were not "mighty in writing".
As I read it, the Holy Ghost, in my mind, replaced the words "writing" with "speaking". Before I knew it, it felt as though Moroni's words were my words. Then I read in Ether 12:26, "And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;". This verse helped me see that the Lord will always help his weak servants and, if there are those that mock them for their weakness, the Lord bring justice to those people in His own time. Ether 12:37 then teaches us, "And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they [those that mock weak servants] have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father."
For me, this is the Lord's way of promising me that everything will work out and that He knows that I'm doing my best and that He is pleased with my efforts. While I may not be the best speaker, I'm glad that my e-mails are doing some good and I hope they continue to do so.
Take care everyone. I love you all and miss you all.
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Michael Alley