I had heard about J, but like you, I have no idea who that is. That being said, My district consists has a missionary from western Washington in each companionship. We’re representing the rain proudly.
. . .
I’m nowhere near any of you, and I even feel like Gwen’s been gone for a long time. She seems to have grown a lot though. I hope she yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and remembers to stay committed to that growth, to being that mature and humble.
The work is going! How it is going, is beyond my power to say, because I know not the hearts of men. I’ve come to learn very quickly in this mission that even baptisms are not an indicator of growth or success. As to what gets people interested, you’ve hit the nail on the head. I don’t know how much time you’ve spent reading from Preach My Gospel, but that’s the whole point of the new missionary curriculum. It’s from the quote in D+C 50:14 ” Unto what were you ordained? To preach my gosepel, by the spirit.” We don’t have defined missionary lessons, and if you try to give the ones that they’ve given as such, they tend to fail. That has been my experience. I’ve met a lot of people in every category that you’ve listed and all of them need the same thing, which is to be enlightened by the Spirit. Fortunately, the people who are strongly Orthodox aren’t really the problem. By and large, they tend to agree with us on almost everything. Unfortunately, those who are weakly Orthodox don’t actually know what they believe, and don’t believe in it anyway, leading to difficulties when you invite them to get to know God better.
I’ve been fortunate to have been handed people who have been eternal investigators, who have been avoiding spiritual topics while meeting with the missionaries for English, who really feel comfortable around missionaries. They have questions that I’ve been blessed with enough knowledge to answer. It’s been thrilling, but we’re not done yet. We’re still in the process of helping people to repent by actually caring enough to act. And we do a lot of finding. A lot.
All things considered, everything’s going well.
On Mon, May 30, 2016 at 1:00 PM, Joseph Gee wrote:
Dear Elder Gee,
I’ll have to admit, I typically treat Memorial Day just like Germans treat Buβ und Bettag (Penance and Prayer Day) – just another day off from work. This year we’re going to try to do something related to the holiday. We don’t have any graves to visit, so we’re going to watch a movie. Mom asked for recommendations on Facebook, and we got some varied recommendations. One looked promising, but it was an HBO original, so I figured I better preview it last night before letting the little boys watch it. Mom fell asleep, of course, but I was actually quite impressed. There was only one noticeable swear word, and otherwise had nothing objectionable. It was an extremely respectful, tasteful memorial of a soldier who died in Iraq, showing the respect shown to his remains at every step as they were returned to his family and community (which happened to be Dubois, Wyoming, which is close to Lander, so I was thrilled). I’m excited to show it to the boys tomorrow, even though it’s not an action film and will be kind of slow.
So this morning at Stake PEC we had two missionaries report their missions. Elder F from our ward (his parents moved into our ward in February, so you won’t know him) went to St. George, Utah, and Elder T from Klahanie went to Seoul South, Korea. I was looking forward to telling Elder T that you loved to go to Seoul to go to the temple, and when I did he said that his sister, J, got her mission call to Vladivostok and will be leaving in July! Perhaps you already knew this, since apparently she got her call in March, but I was very surprised that we have two missionaries from our stake in a mission with so few missionaries. I don’t know if you know J (I don’t), but I know her family, and they are great people. Bishop T and his wife were Julia’s trek parents and they’re coming to see her at her dance performance this weekend.
. . .
I’m super excited for Gwen to come home. 4 months is too long for a 15/16 year-old. Just 10 more days, but who’s counting!
So how goes the work? What works to entice people to investigate the church? Are the people mostly atheist and don’t see the point? And those that aren’t are strongly Orthodox and thus unwilling to have the further light and knowledge of the restored gospel? What do the Russian people you meet really want out of life? I suspect they are no different than anyone else in that they want to be happy. Their choices are all aimed at finding happiness and no one has shown them another way. But how can you entice them to trust you enough to have a conversation? I’ve often thought that if I could have a meaningful, heart-felt conversation with someone about what they truly believe, that I’d be able to answer their questions and show them light. But most people are so guarded and unwilling to be vulnerable and expose their innermost thoughts to others, particularly a stranger. If you can figure out how to break through that barrier and win their trust quickly, you’ll be a fantastic missionary. OK, I guess I know the answer to that. It’s the Spirit. They’ve got to feel the Spirit.
I think your cheerfulness and love for others and interest in them personally and individually will be your greatest aid in helping others feel the Spirit. Never forget that your job as a missionary is to help others feel and recognize the Spirit. If you don’t do that, nothing else you do really matters, because no true conversion can take place. I hope you’re striving to help people feel the Spirit in every teaching situation, whether with members, investigators, or other missionaries.
That’s good advice that I need to take, myself. It helped me with my last talk, because I kept that in mind as I was writing, and the talk just seemed to flow out as I was preparing it.
I see that you just wrote, so I’ll close.
We love and pray for you.