Elder Knighton and I had been assigned to give talks (actually we kind of asked for it) in our wards' sacrament meetings this past Sunday. I spent a few hours during the week preparing for mine and I felt it was going all right. However, the more I prepared, the more off track I felt I was getting from the message that the Lord actually wanted me to share with everyone. The night before, I put some final thoughts down and didn't like it at all and I didn't feel the Spirit confirm to me that what I had prepared was right. I prayed about it and felt like I needed to draft a new talk. So...I was up late. It was amazing how the Lord helped me under severe time constraints to review my old talk, pull out all the things that were right about it, and construct a new talk that placed everything in exactly the order of what the Lord wanted. I still talked too much on Sunday, but it went well and I felt the Spirit confirm that it was right.
Talk about a miracle Sunday. Besides speaking twice and making it through, but so many of the people we are teaching showed up to Church! Mission-wide, this has been a struggle and we have been working hard at helping people understand the importance of attending church. A lady that we had merely had enough time to invite to Church, showed up and brought her family! Tammie is her name and she was really close to baptism a few months ago, but it didn't pan out and she has been going through a lot of challenges. You could tell coming to church was a huge step for her back in the right direction! Another family showed up, Mandy and her four kids! They are amazing! Then after church ended, we got a text from our branch mission leader in Pine Valley, telling us that the family we are teaching over there also came to church! We went from ecstatic to I don't know what...euphoric? haha!
With all the success that the Lord has been blessing us with, I have seen how important the applying the principle of humility is. Throughout my mission, I have struggled quite a bit with feelings of inadequacy and that I wasn't doing things exactly right to see success come from my efforts. I would receive blessings here and there from the Lord that would raise my vision, but things would always seem, in my sight, to drop back to where they were. Those dark feelings of inadequacy, self-pity, and judging/comparing myself to others would come back. I have begun to realize that though these feelings naturally come to us, and to some more readily than others, we, through the strength of the Lord and trusting in Him, that we can hold all those things at bay and press on. It's so hard to apply that understanding in the moment, but it is possible. I still have many of the same temptations and flaws/faults that I had before I was baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, but the power which I have received to overcome those has increased so much I can't even analyze it. I know that over time, even those temptations and flaws/faults will be ironed out and that it is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and applying it that they are.
God is real and He loves us and the way that I know that is by seeking for Him. As we knock, ask, and seek, He makes Himself known to us in ways that we could not through our own intellect and understanding construct nor predetermine. This happened to Joseph Smith. He wanted to know which Church to join. Through his own intellect, he could have reasoned that one of the churches was the one from God (he felt especially drawn to the Methodists at one point) but he felt that He needed to ask his Heavenly Father to make sure. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ revealed themselves to Joseph, shattering any preconceived notions or reasoning that Joseph may have had. God's Church wasn't on the earth Joseph was told. Well, that wasn't what Joseph was expecting! I know that that happened. The Holy Spirit has made that known to me, not man. It's brought a lot of blessings and hope into my life!
I hope and pray that you all will continue to be the best people you can be, for your families and loved ones, for your friends, for God. Have a super week!