Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Aug. 22nd

Hello again family and friends!

Another week has come and gone. I love having P-day on Wednesdays because between Wednesday and Sunday the week is broken up nicely.

Elder Hayward is in my zone now. He is from Mesa, AZ and I actually sat next to him the day I flew to Utah to enter the MTC.  Dad he was the one you called and told me about.

We see a lot of funny and odd things here in the Bronx. One of the things that made me laugh this last week was when we were passing all the people that hangout in the street on the evenings. There are always a lot of people chilling on 197th and Briggs Ave. Anyhow, the other day when we were heading back to our apartment we saw a man sitting in a stroller! Haha they usually have chairs, even a couch, but I was not expecting the baby stroller to be the newest addition of their furniture collection.

Saturday was awesome because we went tracting in a new area. I truly believe no other missionaries have been in that area because it it on the very edge of our border and tucked away. It was beautiful! The day we went the weather felt like San Fransisco. The duplexes were raised up and there was a lovely breeze coming in from the Harlem River. We had a lot of success in the people we talked to.

Sunday I had a very spiritual conversation with one of the elders recent converts. She is someone near and dear to my heart.  

Shout out
Thank you Tristan for the beautiful letter!

I love you!

Sister E. Johnson

Ok, I promised to tell my search and rescue metaphor
This is the BREAK DOWN
When I think of a child lost camping i focus on how scared, cold, sad, or lonely they must feel. Thinking about their situation leads me to brainstorm effective methods of finding [ward member finds-rescue team, not one person]
Then we put into action how we can work together to find.  There is a mutual concern for the lost
[action=ward mission plan]
When we find them we rejoice. It's a boost of faith (new investigators) They are not home yet but are close.
When we bring them back to the family (or part of the fold) we rejoice!
[Baptism. Joining the ward family. Celebrate with food! lol]
When we see everyone as CHILDREN of God our hearts are softened. We are filled with love and compassion. We stop at no cost to bring them safely home.

One thing I noticed at our ward picnic a few weeks ago was how much love our ward members have for the children in the different families.  I love the children in our ward. If any of them were to get lost (in the trees at Van Courtland Park or in the streets of the Bronx) I would be one of the first people to stop at no cost to seeing them safely home. I love each of them so much! I would sacrifice whatever was needed to do my part in bringing them safely home.  They are children: innocent, loving, selfless, honest... and we know how dark, scary, and evil the world can be.

So why then is there a disconnect with bringing the Lord's children out of the evil/dark world?  Physically they may look like experienced campers who enjoy and want to stay in the world.  But what we can't see is that each and everyone of them spiritually is another child in our ward family but is lost and crying out for help in the wilderness.

Sometimes it's easy to put off sharing the gospel, but if we remember the worth of a soul to the Lord we will find that our priorities shift.
For example there is a family in my ward who I love with a four year old named Baily. Her dad works on Wall Street. I bet if Baily went missing he wouldn't say, "Oh I want to help find Baily but I am just really bust on Wall Street right now. I'll look later."
That's not good enough. It could be too late later.
It becomes a "Family Emergency" I know the ward family would pull together and do everything that they could to give and help despite their busy lives.
That's because when we have charity we are acting on the pure love of Christ.  When we act on it we invite the spirit into our lives to give us extra strength and the physical ability to do what is required of us.
And on top of all that we NEVER regret it. We never look back on the time spent to see a family with distraught/worried parents reunited with their children. That kind of peace and joy brings satisfaction. That satisfaction is the kind that comes from missionary work as well. It comes from seeing our siblings taking that step of baptism to be on the path that leads back to our Heavenly Father. What a beautiful and uplifting thing to witness!

I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's true church.  With all the knowledge that we have gained from the restoration it is our duty and obligation to FIND the Lord's children. They are suppose to be with us, but they are lost.

I'm raising my voice and warning to our ward out here in Kingsbridge, but it applies everywhere.  We have a FAMILY EMERGENCY. Our children are missing. They are scared and lonely. We need to find them.

One by one (one at a time-not overwhelming)
 Effective Finding (Gordon B. Hinckley quote below)
Making plan-ward mission plan
All of us doing our part
Prioritize, Worth of the soul
Stop at no cost
We are given the Strength from the Lord
The reward/end result will be more satisfying or joyful than anything else you could ever imagine

“So many of us look upon missionary work as simply
tracting. Everyone who is familiar with this work
knows there is a better way. That way is through
the members of the Church. Whenever there is a
member who introduces an investigator, there is
an immediate support system. The member bears
testimony of the truth of the work. He is anxious
for the happiness of his investigator friend. He
becomes excited as that friend makes progress in
learning the gospel.
The process of bringing new people into the Church is not the
responsibility alone of the missionaries.
They succeed best when members become the source from 
which new investigators are found” (Ensign,May 1999, 105–6).

I will be BOLD but LOVING in saying We Need Your Help.
The effectiveness and the strength of missionary work lies within each of you.  We need to coordinate efforts through the ward mission plan, be unified together, and finally seek the Lord individually about how you can better help find those he is preparing for you.
I promise you if we each step up our efforts to find and teach our brothers and sisters about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ we will not only have the extra strength given to us to do everything on our plate, we will feel the satisfaction and joy of doing the Lord's work in rich abundance.

This all flowed into my head as I sat down to write the break down. i had been saying a really meaningful prayer when I thought of the concept of us being a search and rescue team. I feel like the Holy Ghost uses this tactic where he'll give you the thought or concept, but we wont actually get the depth of what we are suppose to learn unless we decide to crack it open.
The concept/idea is like an egg. When we write down/crack open when has already been given to us on a surface level, the goop of the egg spills forth like the inspiration yoke that ran into my brain! haha

As I thought more about this analogy, this work is very time sensitive. We need to find these children. There are a lot of harmful and bad things that could reach them before we do and it could be too late.

I feel like the Lord has revealed to me a fragment of the urgency he feels towards his work and the importance of acting now.
I was also reminded of this last General Conference when Jeffery R. Holland shared about Labors in the Vineyard about how there is still time, but to hurry because it's getting late.
"It is never too late so long as the Master of the vineyard says there is time. Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the fellowship of His labor. Don’t delay. It’s getting late."

I'm so grateful my humble and honest prayer yielded such beautiful insight. The Lord promises to reveal line upon line. This evening when I had all of this come to me he gave me 12 pages! (in my small spiritual notebook) haha =) So if we want it more than a line at a time he will give us more. But we have to want it. I've found that the Lord is really able to teach me things as I am writing them down and digging deeper.
I received these things during my evening prayers. Then during the following day I was studying in my personal study in Matthew 13:11 when the disciples ask the Savior why he speaks in parables. He tells them, "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."
This helped me understand that the way I will come to know more about the mysteries of God will most likely be through parables, metaphors, and analogies.
Those are the times I feel like I understand most the things of the Lord.  The Lord has plenty of ways to teach us about his mysteries, but those who don't dig deeper-or who aren't looking-will miss it. 

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