Sunday, January 17, 2016

59 days left, but who's counting?

January 11, 2016

Yes, yes, I know. I have 59 days left. But who's really counting? I'm not. My focus right now is to get my new missionary trained and speaking Spanish and to baptize at least once, preferably twice before I head home. People often ask me: "Elder Carroll, you trunky yet?" I always give them the same answer: "What reason do I have to be trunky?" Yes, I realize that life continues after the mission and that there are people who are anxiously awaiting my return, but the life of a missionary is one that can't be taken for granted and that certainly cannot be wished away so quickly. Every day is different. Every time I wake up I have another opportunity to go out and serve someone or perhaps to astound someone with the doctrines of the Restored Gospel. Sure, there are times when I look out the window and say to myself "I'm not going out there today." But why listen to that voice? With so much power to bring about so much good, why would I rather sit in the apartment and rot? Just because it's hard? Just because I might get sick from tracting in the cold? Nonsense! The Lord is preparing His people and we are here to go out and gather them! And that's what we did this week...

We had a lot of success this week. We were able to finally get up with some of our most elect investigators and we had a great turn out at church. We've been working with a less active family since I got here and the progress has been slow to say the least, but they came to church yesterday! The mother, who is a member (the father and three of the children are not) finally found a job that allows her to go to church. And the father has decided to start coming to church frequently so he can be the spiritual head of the household. So they came, had a great time, and they've committed to keep coming. That's a success for sure.

We also got another man to come to church. His name is E. He was a referral from a member a while back and we hit it off with him really well the other day. We talked about feeding the homeless and such and he mentioned that his kids always like him to give candy to the people under the bridge. I told him "We have plenty of candy if you need some." We really do though. People think missionaries don't get enough sweets, so they just dump candy and doughnuts and cake on us. And they wonder how some of these missionaries gain so much weight haha. So anyways, we told him that if he came to church on Sunday, we would have a whole bag of candy for him. And guess what. He came! So we're gonna start teaching him and hope that he progresses quickly.

We also finally got up with another man. His name is J. He's eighty-three years old and his son and daughter are both strong, active members. He got offended at his Methodist church (that never happens) so he has decided to start coming to ours. Aaaaaaaand he wants us to teach him the "discussions" so he can understand clearly the point of view of his children. So we began with the restoration. We talked about God revealing His Gospel to the prophets, Christ establishing His church, and then the Great Apostasy. And then we moved on to the Joseph Smith story. At this point, J got a little restless. He said "I was wondering when you were gonna bring in Joseph Smith." So we continued, despite the apparent opposition to the idea of a modern-day prophet. He got a little more restless. Then he says "Can we just skip this part of the lesson? I already know the story anyway." He then turns to the member who's with us "I really love the Mormon church. I might consider being a member of it if they would just get rid of Joseph Smith. Him and his polygamy." He continued " I did a lot of research at the library when I found out my daughter was going to be a member of your church. I read book after book, some anti books, and then I formed my opinion of the whole thing. I think Joseph Smith was a charlatan." So we kind of left it at that. But we did say one more thing. "I encourage you not to close off your heart just yet." So he kind of stopped for a second and then turned to me again. "You know you might be right. If I'm trying to understand the point of view of my children, I might have to walk the path they walked. I'll think about things and let you know what I want to do next Thursday." And now all we can do is pray and hope that the Lord softens his heart before Thursday. I really have the faith that He will.

And here's my rebuttal...

"You say that you like the Mormon church. You say that you love the emphasis on family and how good the people are. You say that the members of the church have been there for you when the members of your own were not. You've seen the church bless your children's lives, and yet you say Joseph Smith was a charlatan? Good fruit cannot come from a corrupt tree. The reason the church is so good is because Joseph Smith was who he said he was. He died defending his cause. He testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon to the guards who kept him enslaved and then shortly after sealed his testimony with his blood when an angry mob decided to take his life from him. And you're telling me that the man was a charlatan?!!?!?! Read and pray with a humble heart. The Lord will let you know through the Holy Spirit of the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel."

That's my testimony of the matter. This Gospel changes lives. It works. God lives. Christ lives. Joseph Smith was their prophet on the earth. Through him, the truths of the fullness of the Gospel were restored. I don't know how I know these things are true, but I do. They're engraved so deeply in my heart that I cannot deny them.

Please pray for me this week. Pray that I can go to work. People need this Gospel more now than ever.

-Elder Landon Carroll

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