Another week, more learning.
The recent convert's mother that Elder Kowalk and I were teaching a couple months ago, and eventually Elder Smith was teaching as well, is getting her family together as often as she
can for scripture study. Now THAT'S a miracle, and we're so happy for her. She knows it's true. We know she knows it. We're so happy she's brought this choice into her life to study these words for herself, and make her family the center of it. We read with her the other day, and she loved what we read (Mosiah 4, it's a good one for talking about how to have a good home). As we left, she asked us for more scriptures for her to read later. She's not just nibbling at this. She's feasting. We're excited. So yeah, there's my dynamite experience for the week.
It's really hard to find something else new to talk about nowadays because no one seems to be progressing. Not that we aren't spending time with them, but no one is closer to baptism or anything like that. I guess today I can focus on what I've learned in my studies.
There's a quote from a general authority towards the back of Preach my Gospel that encourages missionaries to read fom the Book of Mormon and New Testament in the morning. I finished the Book of Mormon, and go back to study particular chapters every so often, but my project that
I've been tackling lately is reading and completing the New Testament. This is my first time I've read through it from front to back. I can't believe how much easier it's made my mission to help teach the people that eat, drink and live New Testament scripture around here. I shoulda realized this before, but it's been a blessing to understand all the passages of the New Testament so plainly with the Holy Ghost as my guide.
I recently finished 2 Corinthians. The first 4 Gospels are a breeze to get through, and Acts totally backs up the structure and procedures of the church, but the Pauline letters are a struggle. Paul has the most difficult writing voice ever. No wonder there are so many different religions. I can't wait until I get to Peter and James and all them. That's not to say I don't get anything out of Paul's writings, though. I once backed up all sorts of doctrine strictly from 1 Corinthians, because that was fresh in my mind. Luckily, my companion backed THOSE up with Book of Mormon scriptures, so that was cool. It reminds me of Moroni's words,
9 For behold, this is written for the intent that ye may believe that;
and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe
this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous
works which were wrought by the power of God among them.
I think we proved it all true in that lesson, and we'll continue to do it. I'll go back to talking about Acts. I don't know how more simple in the Gospel you can get to understanding certain ordinances and gifts of the Spirit after reading Acts. Laying on of hands is referenced at least 5 times; to give the gift of the Holy Ghost, to heal others, and to set people apart to serve in different areas. Apostles went around and had authority to set straight the doctrines that people were already messing up.
I also don't understand how people can accept closed-canon scripture (i.e. The Bible is the Bible, and that's all the scripture we'll get). Studying the New Testament has totally built my faith in continuous revelation. Satan is a real guy, making folks read silly things from the Bible. I don't get it.
I guess the events of this past week can be summarized with a scripture from Jacob (my favorite book in the Book of Mormon :D ).
5 And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many
revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these
things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me.
And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very
word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken.
People have been trying to shake me of my faith. This has only made me study more about the particular doctrine they're unsure about. Satan tries to get me down, but I flip it around and take the opportunity to solidify that belief.
And I mean "flip around". I've drawn out a diagram of the Plan of Salvation and written scriptures next to every single step in the plan. My studies can get intense.
Of course, I'm still a missionary, and I need to help others come to Christ, make covenants and go to the temple. As I look for the soul that is ready to make commitments and changes, I'll strengthen my
knowledge, both in the simple and complex aspects of the Gospel, so that I can be prepared for whatever comes my way. West Memphis has been a very difficult area for me, both as a missionary and as Matthew Staib. But I can't let a town I'm a stranger to bring me down. I have to be the light set on a hill, a Christ-like example.
Well, my sister got married on Thursday, so that's all sorts of weird, but congrats to her! Alex Newey is leaving on his mission soon, so good luck to ya! I haven't heard from Stephen or Micah for a bit, so
get on that! Tyler Haws is back home, so GO COUGARS! I hear we're 2-0 so far for football. GOOD. :3
Well, I love you all. Thank you for your prayers and letters. We're spending our P-Day with 3 other companionships, I think, so we'll have a good day ahead of us, as well. I'm still pushing along! ONLY A MONTH AWAY FROM A YEAR. Freaky. I was thinking today, 'Man, Jordan Bingham hit a year a couple months ago...' Blows my mind! I haven't heard from him for a bit, either. I'll send him a letter.
Anyway, good luck with schooling, whoever is in school, and have a good week!
ONE MORE THOUGHT IT'S FINALLY COOLING DOWN I'M SO HAPPY.