Monday, January 26, 2009

The power of pure testimony

Dear family,

Last week went pretty well, we were able to teach some solid lessons and are continuing to help Tommy progress. He should be ready for his baptism on the 26th (one month away!) of February, and so our focus is on making sure he reads from the Book of Mormon daily. Well, Elder Lundquist and I had the privilege of blessing the sacrament yesterday, always a very special and sacred experience. It was another sign to me of how different it is going from ward to branch, but also something that I will embrace because I really believe we are on the verge of great things in Wilmington. The branch has 3 full-time missionaries serving right now, and a fourth just got his call to the Utah Provo Mission, speaking Spanish.

Despite frigid temperatures, and another big storm is on it's way here, the work continues to move forward uninterrupted! Perhaps you've had a glimpse of what my area is like, and I'll just say that it is huge! We cover ALL of Clinton County, which has several small little towns which we are currently "thrashing" one at a time, you might say. A large portion of the people we talk to are very nice to us, but it's still hard when they tell you that they belong to a church that they are happy with. Pretty much all we can do at that point is bear our testimony and invite them to order a copy of the Book of Mormon. As it says right in Preach My Gospel, "The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion." Clearly, bearing testimony of the gospel and of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon is the best way we can open people's hearts to our message.

We had an experience with that just the other day when we were tracting a little trailer park. We started talking to this guy named Howard who went to a Pentecostal church in one of the small towns (New Vienna, I think) and said he was happy there. I started bearing testimony of the Book of Mormon and how it's intent is not to take away from our faith in Jesus Christ or the Bible, but rather to give them more knowledge and more faith in Him....really to give us more EVERYTHING! Well, good things of course. I then asked him if he felt that it would something worth studying, and his whole mood changed and he said he'd be happy to read it. We presented him with a copy and made a return appointment for this coming Saturday. It was simple, I just shared my testimony....but that was enough for him to open his heart and change his mind. We have several potential investigators, all of whom we have given a Book of Mormon and set return visits with. I'm earnestly hoping and praying that they will become new investigators and start on the road that leads to eternal life.

I could think of nothing better for Kenz than presenting a Book of Mormon with her testimony written inside to her friend. It's clear that she likes a lot of things about the Church and is curious to know more, and if she reads and prays about the Book of Mormon then I know that she'll act on whatever prompting she receives. In reading Kenz's e-mail it's great to see that she is planning on doing just that, and I'll be praying that she receives a witness that it's true. Also, our goal with the members is to set up Family Mission Plans and invite them to prayerfully set a date that they can find somebody by for us to come teach. We feel that a good way to increase members' excitement to do missionary work, and also to decrease fear is to give them copies of the Book of Mormon to give away with their testimonies written inside; AND making sure that EVERY members' home has a Preach My Gospel manual, so I was excited to read that information from Elder Neuenschwander, I think it will help.

We have to remember that the cover of that book also says above Preach My Gospel that it's a guide to missionary service. Not just full-time missionary service, but ANY missionary service. If members aren't sure how to do missionary work, the first step is to get a copy of Preach My Gospel and STUDY it, not just read it. I'm thankful that you introduced it to me early on, and that my understanding of how important it is has not wavered.


Kathy said...

Great testimony, Elder Livingston! You are "thrashing" indeed in that white field.

Terri said...

I love your enthusiasum Iker! You are a blessing to those people because you truely love Heavenly Father and his words. Im in awe of your dedication and drive. Love you much Aunt Terri