Saturday, September 22, 2012

"In striving for ultimate submission, our wills constitute all we really have to give God anyway.  The usual gifts and their derivatives we give to Him could be stamped justifiably 'Return to Sender,' with a capital S.  Even when God receives this one gift in return, the fully faithful will receive 'all that [He] hath' (D&C84:38).  What an exchange rate!" (Neal A. Maxwell)

Sister Tiff putting our
schedule together
Lesson preparations seem to take a lot of our time, as we strive to improve our presentations in order to enlighten minds, touch hearts, and strengthen testimonies.  Because we are working with university-age youth, we find they already know the "what" and the "how".  We're trying to instill within them the "why".  We prefer they take up class time discussing why certain lessons, passages, events, etc., are important to them and their eternal welfare.  If we can share something with them from the scriptures and lives of the prophets that will strengthen their love of the Savior and His gospel, and inspire them to live more closely to the standards He has set for them, then we have accomplished His objective.  We really have to seek guidance from the Spirit to know what to say, when to say it, and when to shut up and listen.

Tuesday was our first class at Dalhousie University.  We don't have a large gathering, because of student class schedules, so we try to find the best time to fit the greatest number of students we can.  We teach Tuesday mornings and Bro. Cartier teaches Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.  It was a good experience and we enjoyed being there to give them a break from the "philosophies of men."  That evening we had dinner with our Branch President, Pres. Moses, and his wife and son.  He is a very capable leader for the YSA, with a great spirit and lots of leadership experience.  The members of the branch think he's great!

Our Family Home Evening didn't gel this week, as those invited to attend were sick.  Next week we'll try again.  It's a great opportunity to help the young Elders in fellowshipping and teaching some gospel truths, in a relaxed atmosphere.

A Moose Mountie
Colorful Bridgewater Real Estate

Our day in Bridgewater was very long.  We traveled there fairly early in the day to see a mechanic who checked out the brakes on our van.  We had been told we needed them changed, with all sorts of extra things to be done, to the tune of $1,300 (by a dealer).  This mechanic and a YSA who is an "auto expert" said all that was needed was replacing brake pads, to the tune of $130.  A friend in the Bridgewater Ward will do the labor for free!  Isn't it great to have good friends?!  Heavenly Father is really looking out for us. We hope we can return the favor.

In the evening we had a great class with the YSA and others in Bridgewater.  They are a very animated and eager group.  We have good discussions and responses, but as I mentioned, we have to take the time to prepare lessons that invite the spirit and stress the "why" of the gospel.  After the class, we drove back to Halifax (about 65 miles) in a pouring rainfall.  The dark and the rain made travel hazardous, but we finally made it home around 11 pm.

Elder Robert Gay
of 1st Quorum of 70
Elder Robert Gay, of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy, is traveling throughout the mission this week.  From 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, on Thursday, we were trained by him in the effective art of spreading the gospel.  His main theme was: "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through the doctrine of Christ."  His emphasis was put on training local priesthood leaders to help the missionary work by finding those who may be interested, then let the missionaries teach them.  Fellowshipping by members before, during, and after the teaching and baptism, will almost guarantee retention of new converts.

Nova Scotia Zone Missionaries
(Yours Truly in front) 
During the day, Joni and I were invited to role-play an interview with a bishop (Elder Gay), to convince him we were here to help his ward.  We did everything the MTC told us not to do.  So maybe we did it right, because Elder Gay then showed the missionaries how it should be done.  It was a good learning experience for everyone!

After the training with the missionaries we went to fulfill our assignment at the temple.  Serving in the temple once a week is a very special blessing.  We love to be there with such great fellow ordinance workers, and to feel the spirit of the patrons.  Joni doesn't feel comfortable with her assignments yet because they are so new to her.  But she is doing very well, actually, and the sisters working there love her.

Friday was a day of rest and lesson preparations.  We must be getting old, because we were very tired from all our activities this week.  But we do feel like we need to be doing more.  There are some less-active YSA out there who need a visit or contact by someone in the church, to buoy their spirits, listen to their challenges, answer questions, share a testimony, or just to know someone knows they are alive.  So we are going to try to regroup and see if we can be more effective in that area.  We have really been tied up so much in the administering that we haven't done a lot of ministering.

This evening we attended Bro. Cartier's New Testament institute class.  He went through the Beatitudes in Matthew 5, showing us how much our Heavenly Father wants us to be like Him, as pointed out in verse 48 of that chapter.  When we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness so much that it is an all-consuming thing in our life, then we can be taught by the Holy Ghost how to become like Him in the fullest sense of the word.  Everything we do to follow the path of the Savior is given to us by the Holy Ghost, therefore it is important for us to do what it takes to stay in tune with the Holy Ghost.  If we think "temple" while we read the Sermon on the Mount, we will begin to understand the deepest meanings the Savior was teaching.  A very powerful lesson.

Milford (brother), Joni, Ruby (sis-in-law), & Dot

Nephew Jeff
& Oxana

Saturday we are spending with the young Elders and with family members.  This is a great work we're involved in, and we hope we can set a positive example for everyone.  We're here, apart from our family, to bring other families together.  Our family still has some struggles and some victories, and we still miss them and love them, but we trust Heavenly Father is taking better care of them than we can.  One of those struggles for Kirsten's family this week has been an accident Matthew had on the football practice field.  A fellow team-mate tackled him, hitting him in the leg with his helmet, and broke his leg.  Matt's out for the season, and feels pretty bad about it, but he's strong and will weather the storm.  We would like to think this will be the biggest challenge in his life, but know he's going through this to make him tougher for the bigger mishaps.  He's receiving lots of love and support from all of the family, and we pray for him and send our love.

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