Happy Valentine’s Day! We love you all. And to those who sent the valentines to the Mission Home, THANK YOU! We loved reading each one.
We look forward to seeing you in Zone Conferences this week. Our focus is Preach My Gospel chapter 4, "How Do I Recognize and Understand the Spirit?" We hope you have had revelatory experiences as you studied this chapter. Reviewing the chapter reminds us how critical the Spirit is in our work. We hope you enjoyed reading about all the ways the Spirit communicates with us. Recognizing the many ways we can be influenced by the Spirit helps me see that we receive inspiration and answers to our prayers far more often than we realize.
The Spirit speaks to us in so many ways. It sometimes comes while we are reading scripture - in the form of an idea, a solution to a problem we have been pondering. Sometimes we simply feel an impression - it can happen during the sacrament, while praying, while listening to a talk. At other times, we simply feel a sense of happiness. We may also find unusual insights or a wonderful, calm sense that all is well. Sometimes it gives a more profound nudge.
An experience from our days as young parents comes to mind. Prior to the cell phone age, I kept dimes and quarters in my pockets in order to make phone calls in phone booths when I was about town doing my work. I recall driving southbound on I-15 in SLC one summer day. Suddenly, a thought came to my mind. It did not just come to my mind, it jolted me. “Get off the freeway and call Jann.” I found the first exit and a pay phone and made the call.
At that time, we were living in Sugarhouse, Utah. We were converting our basement to a separate apartment in order to bring in more income. We had been advertising our apartment in the newspaper, listing a phone number and address. On that summer day, while I was away working, a man stopped by to see the apartment. Jann described him as 'shady looking'. He asked to see the apartment, and she took him downstairs to show him around. The kids were all away at friends' homes.
They descended the stairs, and entered the apartment. The door had an old knob that came apart occasionally. The man shut the door behind them and the knob fell out of the door. She had dealt with the doorknob before...It had to be inserted back into the latch in order to open the door. She reached for the knob when suddenly the phone rang.
She had our fancy new cordless phone with her, so she answered. She was surprised it was me. She knew I was driving all over town to get things done and had not expected to hear from me. I asked her if she was ok. She told me there was someone in the house. I felt strongly she should not hang up the phone, but keep talking to me and to leave the house immediately. While she was talking to me she put the doorknob back in, opened it, and the man left. Right after he left our children came home. Had I not called, we don't know what might have happened to her and what the kids might have found when they came home. We have been so grateful for that impulse ever since.
I know you have wonderful experiences hearing and responding to the spirit. Treasure them. I love reading about them in your weekly letters. Please come prepared to Zone Conference by refreshing your memories about the way the Spirit has influenced you.
Thank you for sending your conversation starters. (I lost two of them! If you don’t see yours here, please resend.)
Elder Hill contributes this creative conversation starter:
I'd like to share one method that I've found very fun and easy. It’s simple, it’s selfie. People love taking pictures these days, ask people if you can take a picture with them holding a card and then walla boom. ice-gebroken. You then can tell them about yourself and bear testimony to them of the Savior.
Sister Cowles sends this great example of asking for referrals from everyone.
We had an appointment cancel, so we decided to knock some doors around the area. We knocked this one door and she wasn’t interested, so we did what we always do and ask them if they know anyone that would be interested. She quickly said, “49” and slammed her door. Ok…we figured she just threw out a random number, but we tried anyways. Not home. Ok, so then we started ringing some bell-ups and then it was about time to head over to our appointment when Zuster Harris felt that we should go check if the person was home again just in case so we did and HE WAS HOME. Turns out he is super positive and let us in and we taught him the Restoration right then. He is going through a hard time since he was married and had two beautiful kids, but then his wife decided one day to just get up and leave with the kids and he hasn’t seen them since August. He has no idea where they are and she won’t let him talk to the kids. Sad day. But he reads the Bible every night and was super interested in learning about the Book of Mormon. We had another lesson this past week and showed him the Restoration DVD, he really liked it and wants to come to church and check it out. It was just cool to see how asking for referrals on the door actually led to finding someone who was ready for the gospel. I don’t know if that lady actually threw out a random number or meant it sincerely, but either way that was totally led by the spirit. That has never happened to me before, but it really testified to me about how important it is to ask everyone for referrals because you never know who you could find through other people.
Finally, enjoy this wonderful experience shared by Elder Tolman about teaching an investigator how to receive an answer to prayer and recognize the Spirit.
So we asked him if he had prayed to know if it was true yet and he said no. We then asked him if he wanted the answer to that question and he told us he did. So we challenged him right then and there to kneel and pray to ask his Heavenly Father if it was true. What followed was amazing. We told him we would not say anything after he had finished praying but that we would wait for him to break the silence after his prayer. So we kneel and as he offers a truly sincere prayer looking for his answer I received a reassurance of my own answer and I felt like I was also feeling him receive his answer from Heavenly Father that the Book of Mormon is true. So after he ends his prayer we keep kneeling in silence and eventually he breaks the silence then we ask him what he felt. He describes to us that he had this really warm feeling in his chest that also went up his neck a bit and to his ears. We said "Milko what do think that feeling is"? And he said it might be his answer but he was not sure. Quick note: something else they talked about in the broadcast was helping people recognize the spirit for themselves and not just telling them what it is they are feeling. So we read D+C 9:8 with him and ask him the same question and he says the feeling he got was the answer to his question. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. Being privileged to be a small part in such a profound experience is a blessing I will be forever grateful for. (note: Milko was baptized in Zoetermeer yesterday!)
Thank you for your diligence and faithful work to find and teach the good people in Belgium and the Netherlands about our Savior, Jesus Christ. And thank you for sending your amazing experiences! We appreciate your sacrifices, and look forward to seeing you this week as we share the
President and Sister Bunnell