Monday, August 19, 2013

Miracles from Service - August 19, 2013

"Ammon said unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant. Therefore Ammon became a servant to king Lamoni."  - Alma 17:25
Yet another wonderful week full of miracles!
We met with the Bennett's every day but one this week. On Monday, we talked about exactly what needs to happen and what needs to be taught so that Vincent could be baptized. We ate with them ate our Branch President's house Tuesdaynight, and Brother Bennett told us Aurian wanted to know what it would take for her to be baptized on the 31st as well. Yesterday, the Bennett's, us, and other missionaries in the Ames Zone, fasted for Aurian's mother's heart to be softened so she will give consent for Aurian to be baptized. 
We are continually hoping and praying for her to be able receive permission so she can be baptized with her brother.
It was a week full of service! Saturday was the first day in over a year that wasn't a sick day that I didn't wear "church clothes" at all. We went from moving one family, to helping another with re-roofing their house, and then helping Brother Bennett do demolition on the trailer he was given so he can rebuild it into a liveable condition (it was shut up with no one living there for over a year). We also spent the majority of our Friday helping this family re-roof their house. We aren't allowed to go on the roof for safety reasons, but we handed stuff up to those on the roof and cleared the shingles that came down and put them into the dumpster. This family with the father and two sons with their families make up about 1/2 the active members who live in Story City.
When I got to Story City at the beginning of June, I knew that the attitude of the branch toward missionary work could be improved. The Spirit told me that we needed to be "Ammonaries" and serve the branch. As we have served together, Elder Newhouse and I have done our best to work hard, and the members of the branch see that we truly care and are dedicated to the work. There have been fruits from our labors and we hope to keep it pressing forward!

This is arguably the best district I have served in since I have been a missionary. Each missionary is working hard, has enthusiasm for the work, and is doing their best to serve Christ. At our Zone Training Meeting I talked about in last weeks email, the Zone Leaders asked us to create a district prayer list, a list of 2 names from each area, with the baptismal date they are looking toward and what concerns they need to have resolved before they will be baptized. After we discussed all of these people and wrote them on the board, Sister Browne suggested the idea of us all getting on the same call and one person praying for everyone on the list and have it be a unified district prayer. She got this idea from the Sister Training Leaders when they were on exchanges. We have implemented it every night and it is a wonderful opportunity to build unity. Sisters England and Paul have had a week of many miracles since Thursday, including the softening of an investigator father's heart insomuch that he made them cookies. They are convinced that these prayers have helped to soften his heart.
District meetings under President Jergensen were 2.5 hours. Having 2 one-hour trainings being split up into 30 minutes of training and 30 minutes of role-plays. Also at the Zone Training Meeting, the Zone Leaders announced that President Jensen changed the time of 2.5 hours to 90 minutes. This last district meeting was only 90 minutes, it felt a little rushed at times, but was one of the best district meetings I have attended because of the Spirit that was there and the things I learned in role-plays. The other missionaries received revelation as well for themselves and for their areas, so it fulfilled its purpose!
We set a baptismal date on Wednesday for May 17, 2014 with one of our investigators! Her mother is highly against the church, believing we are a cult and that "we make our lies sound good." This investigator turns 18 on May 16, 2014, and she is super excited. She is good friends with an awesome family in the branch and she received a witness that the Book of Mormon is true. The member family gave her an old quad of scriptures (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price) and a Preach My Gospel. She is as dry Mormon* as they get.  
*Dry Mormon: Someone who is living all the standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but is not yet baptized; being "dry"
My studies as of late have been on different topics or different places in the scriptures, but they keep coming back to the heart. An instance I read this morning was Abinadi addressing King Noah's wicked priests in Mosiah 12:27 "Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people?" My charge to each of you is to follow Moroni's charge in Moroni 7:48 and to "pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love [charity, the pure love of Christ (see verse 47)], which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."
My heart is continually purified day-by-day and week-by-week as I partake of the sacrament, leaving something on the altar of sacrifice for Christ to take up. We can only feel charitable when we have the Spirit. Feeling the Spirit and Charity are almost synonymous. One cannot happen without the other. Think of any very spiritual experience you have had and think about if your love for someone around you, whom you shared that experience with, did not increase. I know that when we are "full of love," it is "through the atonement of Christ the Lord" that we are purified (see Mosiah 3:19).
Sayonara with Love,
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Iowa Des Moines Mission
    D&C 6:34, 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not.
550 Souls to Christ

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