February 8, 2016
Dear Alley crew,
How's it going y'all? Man, sounds like everyone has been busy back at home. I'm glad you all did. That should keep you out of trouble right? ;) Ha ha. Keep up the good work guys.
To answer Mom's questions:
1) Yes, I did get the Missionary Mall socks. My zone leaders got them from the mission office and then they gave it to me after our zone meeting.
2) No, I would not have recognized Anton with that bleached hair. Yowza! Nice hairdo, man. ;)
Well, the work here in Masontown was very challenging for me. However, after reading Max's e-mail, I think I got the better end of the deal. This week was challenging for me because Elder Bean and I tracted into this lady and, later that week, finally met one of our current investigators but we were not able to teach them much about the restored gospel. Why? Because these two people just completely dominated the conversations. I think Elder Bean and I got two, maybe three, sentences in during the entire meeting. By the time they were done talking, we had to leave because 1) teaching appointments should not last for more than 45 minutes (according to the Missionary Handbook and Preach My Gospel) and 2) the Spirit was no longer there to testify of truth because no one was listening to the Holy Ghost. One of my biggest frustrations is dealing with people who do not seem to know when to let other people speak. So, needless to say, I was really agitated when we came back to our apartment. Luckily for me, Elder Bean is a really laid-back guy so talking to him was helpful.
However, I couldn't help but think to myself, "How are we suppose to teach people the gospel if the only thing they're interested in is hearing themselves talk? We have an important message to share with them and it's the most important message that they'll ever hear! So, why can't they just stop talking for one second and listen to us?!"
As I thought about these questions, I felt impressed by the Spirit to read the Savior's parable about the prodigal son in Luke 15. The verse that stood out to me was when it said that when the son was yet a great distance away (I'm paraphrasing because I don't have my quad scriptures with me), his father saw him, had compassion on him, and fell on his neck and kissed him. The Bible video of this parable shows the father actually running to where his son was and hugged him, even though he was a great ways off. I then remembered the counsel that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave that is recorded in chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel under the section of "Listen". He said that we must remember that the people we meet with "are not lifeless objects disguised as baptismal statistics. They are children of God, our brothers and sisters." The Holy Ghost reminded me that we, as missionaries, are out here to help God's children to return home, not just teach them a lesson and be done with it. We, as missionaries, must be like the father in the Savior's parable and go to where our investigators are at on their spiritual journey and walk with them during the process, not impatiently dragging them back to our Heavenly Father. Keeping this lesson from the Holy Ghost in the forefront of my mind is not easy, but it must be done if I'm going to do the Lord's work His way. It was definitely a much needed lesson.
Well, that's my report for the week. This week may have been tough but I've come to know that the Lord always shows His disciples His tender mercies, even during the rough times. For that, I will always be grateful. I hope you all have a good week and have a Happy Valentine's Day.
I love you all and miss you all.
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Michael Alley