New week. New transfer. New area. New ward. New companion. New start. New life.
I've moved down the road--a hop, skip, and a jump--over to Greenville (pronounced Greenvul) 1st Ward, Easley area. Very different from Spartanburg. Much more concentrated. A lot more families. And whole different dynamic. I loved my first night here--we had a Book of Mormon class, and have it every Wednesday. I am so excited! Sister Rudy is my new companion and I love her. We are working hard to become unified and comfortable with one another.
This has been a week of tender mercies and of struggling to get on my feet. Sister Rudy and I had a shakey start teaching with harmony. Frankly, it was a disaster. Not because we dislike or don't love eachother but it was just off-kilter. We had the most all-over-the-place Restoration lesson I have ever given, I probably wouldn't call it a Restoration lesson.
Well, as any missionary will tell you, this can't go on. It won't just go away. You have to work at it. We decided to role play. The answer to everything missionary. It turned out to be the most awkward role play I have ever done. But we did it. We did tough things. We did uncomfortable things. After some planning, a lot of hard work and stumbling along and trudging through the mud (literally), the Lord blessed us.
Last night, I met one of our investigators, James, for the first time. He's met with missionaries for over a year now. We discussed some of his concerns and how he expects to receive answers. We REALLY worked to seek to understand James and his needs. As he saw that we cared about him--not numbers, if he joins the church or not, or why he hasn't already--he really opened up and asked the most sincere question I have ever received from an investigator: "Do you believe my salvation depends on this? on knowing if Joseph Smith was a prophet?"
As taught in Preach My Gospel, the gaining of a testimony is most often found in the bearing of it. That has never been so true as when I told him, "Yes." We were going to pick up where the missionaries had left off with him in the Book of Mormon but I had come to mind 2 Nephi 33, my favorite chapter. I have applied it many times to myself but had never thought of it as the strong testimony that it is to investigators and all who read the Book of Mormon. I asked if we could read it and he had no qualms. He truly wants to know the truth. We took turns reading and read all the way through. He pointed out that verse 10 was interesting:
" And now, my beloved, brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Chrsit, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good."
He continued, "The question with Joseph Smith is the same as the Savior. Many people say he was a good man. But really either He was the Savior or He wasn't. Same with Joseph Smith. Either he was a prophet or he wasn't." This is when I am happy to be a missionary. They get it. He gets it. When people connect these dots and receive their answers they become rock solid. They are as Peter who knew that Jesus Christ is the Son of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. We each have that privilege and opportunity.
Have we each taken the time to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, by the power of the Holy Spirit? That Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God? That this is Christ's Church here on the earth again? That this is where we belong?
Maybe you already have. Or maybe you are leaning on just a desire, a hope, that this is all true. Maybe you don't have a clue. Maybe you once knew. If this is you, I invite you to act on that desire. Study the Book of Mormon and with that sincere desire ask our Father in Heaven if it is not true. It will work wonders. You will grow in the knowledge of Our Savior and His role in your life. He has not forsaken you. He is always inviting you to com unto Him.
I finally feel I know and understand my purpose and am learning to not be afraid of it, but to embrace being a representative of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I love this Gospel. I love the Savior. I love being a missionary.
With love, Hermana McNeece