Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Touch of The Master's Hand

I think this week I'm going to start off by sharing with you how intense the work is. I was on exchanges with Sister Hargadon, and Ali Spears (a member) came out with us. We drove over to see an investigator who's been on and off since 2009. Sister Hargadon asked him straight up why he hadn't been baptized yet. He began telling us all these positive experiences he's had since coming to church and about how powerful the Book of Mormon has been in his life. "I don't know if it's true, but this church holds weight" he told us. I quickly turned to Moroni 10:6 "and whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is". After he read that, it began to rain. "you've already gotten your answer man!" Sister Hargadon exclaimed, raising her voice a little to be heard over the wind. The rain began to come down harder. Almost to the point of shouting to be heard I told him: "You know this is true, now you have to exercise your faith and act on it. You need to pray and ask God if you should be baptized." And so he did. Amidst the rain coming down harder than I've ever experienced in my life and the wind blowing and attacking the darkening cry he prayed and asked God if this was right for him. "Of course I need to be baptized!" He yelled over the downpour,"I didn't even have to ask!" Just then the thunder drowned out all other sound, as if God himself was confirming the truth. We were SOAKED by the end, but it was totally worth it.

The next day I was driving back from a district meeting when I felt like we needed to turn off and go to a community area that overlooks the fields, and is super pretty. Shortly after pulling in, a truck driver came up. We went over to him and talked about his truck and the work he does a little bit (thank heavens my dad does that for a living) and we were able to share the gospel with him. We met a few tourists, too. Thinking we had accomplished what God wanted us to do, we went to get back in the car. Then I saw him. A 21 year old kid sitting on a bench with a duffle bag and a Pepsi. We ran over to him and talked for about a half hour about his life, and about God. His name is John. We gave John a Book of Mormon, and he told us about someone he had worked with in the army who was Mormon. He couldn't stop smiling as he told us about this guy whose kindness had changed Johns life. I couldn't believe what an incredible seed had been planted in this boy's life by someone who had been an example of our faith, and an example of Christ. It really made me think about the type of person I hope to be after my mission...

Alright so now we're to Thursday- and Sister Kohler is telling me that we just HAVE to pull off and go to this CEMETERY. I was really surprised. I think back to 1st Peter 4:6 "because of this is the gospel preached to them who are dead" hahaha. So we walked around this graveyard with our Books of Mormon while I joked about which tombstone we were going to give one to. Then we saw him. On the very far end of the site was a man who was in deep thought. As we got closer I saw all the tattoos on his arms, his long hair, and the black tear etched on his cheek... I was a little nervous, but we taught him anyway. He told us that when he woke up this morning, he felt like something different was going to happen. We gave him the book and invited him to church- he said he'd be there unless he was dead.
Needless to say, he wasn't there on Sunday 0.0

My favorite tracting this week was when our plans fell through one night and Sister Kohler felt prompted to go to the doughnut shop (you can imagine I was a little more willing to follow her on this one ;)). We actually did meet some new people, and even got a free treat from it!
Another funny instance finding people was when we were knocking on doors in a neighborhood and I could hear someone coughing a few streets down. We tried to find the sound but couldn't. Instead, we ran into a family who was ready to be taught! I guess that sometimes the spirit is a still small voice, and sometimes it's a cough. ;)

We have been working with the amazing Lewis family a lot this week as they prepare for baptism. They have come such a long way and I just can't explain to you how excited I am for them! They are going to have their deaf cousin baptize them, which I am really stoked for. It's going to be so cool and they are all so prepared. They're the type of people I hope to be friends with well beyond my mission :).

Okay ready for this? We went to an investigators house on Saturday, only to find that John (the same one we randomly found sitting out by himself) was at the house! We couldn't believe it! In fact, several people were there and they all began to ask us questions and even said they wanted to come see our church for themselves next week! :D

I just can't even believe how much is happening in Sparta. We definitely owe it all to Heavenly Father. There's a scripture in Alma 53:10 that talks about the changes that were happening to this people (the Lamanites) because of missionary work. It says: "by Ammon and his brethren, or rather by the power and word of God, they had been converted unto The Lord" I know it's not by me and Sister Kohler that this is happening, it's by the power and the word of God. We are able to access this through our worthiness and obedience. Obedience is really just a form of trust. When we are obedient to Heavenly Father we show our trust in his judgement. Obedience is also a form of love. we know that we must be obedient in order to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. If we love him, then we will be obedient so we can live with Him. He has provided a way for us to be successful.

I testify that what we have, is enough for God to use. This is something that Sister Kohler and I were talking through today. We were discussing our prayers and how sometimes it feels overwhelming with all the help we feel we need and we don't know what to even ask for. I remembered in the Bible Dictionary reading about how prayer was aligning our will with Gods, not His will with ours. I turned to Doctrine and Covenants and read:
"And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.  But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask; and as ye are appointed to the head, the spirits shall be subject unto you."
(D&C 50:29-30)

It was really really awesome to watch my companion work with the spirit to find for herself what that scripture meant. She received personal revelation, and I shared with her my own insight. I believe that sometimes, we have this idea in our head of who we are supposed to become. We think we know what tune we should be playing. We then try to tune our own instruments to match it, and find that it isn't working. We become frustrated because we can't do what we think we aught. Really though, we need to be true instruments in the Lord's hands. He knows what tune we should be playing, so we must put our hope in him and allow HIS hands to tune us. I remember a few weeks ago being surprised when I turned to God for help with improving certain qualities I had, and he instead told me to work on one completely different. One I didn't even know existed or that I was needing extra work on. As I tried to improve in this particular thing He had asked, I found that all the other qualities I was needing help with, began to play out, too.

It reminds me of an experience I had with  my fibromyalgia. Most of the pain is in my neck, and so I've always just though that I needed a massage along those muscles. It's where I felt the most concentrated pain, so I assumed that should be the point of focus. When I went to a massage therapist, she began working on my leg. I recall that as she did, the pressure in my neck released. All along it had been this one spot in my leg that was causing a chain reaction of pain all the way up to my neck. I would have NEVER known that. We will never really know for ourselves how we can be better if we don't go to the master. The master therapist, the master musician, it doesn't matter. The touch of the master's hands is what we all need. As we go to our Heavenly Father sincerely searching for ways to improve, and then we act on His counsel, we will see ourselves playing a song far prettier than the one we had picked out for ourselves.

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

(Isaiah 55)

With love,

Sister Hochstrasser


Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
105 West Park Drive Ste#190
Brentwood, TN  37027

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