Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Man with a Plan

In the Book of Mormon there is a character found in Helaman Chapter 1 named Moronihah who is the son of Captain Moroni. Moronihah is the leader and chief commander over all the armies of a group called the Nephites. Their enemies are the Lamanites. Moronihah, being a righteous man, understands the importance of having a plan at all times lest his enemies should attack. Thus, he prepares his armies and sets them up along either side of the land, ready for battle.
Throughout the Bible and the Book of Mormon, we see many examples of righteous men preparing by making plans. We learn from the Savior the importance of preparing ourselves not just physically but spiritually as well.
Although Moronihah prepared his armies on either side, the Lamanites actually went straight through the middle of their land, which Moronihah had not planned for. The scriptures say: "But when Moronihah had discovered this, he immediately sent forth Lehi with an army round about to head them before they should come to the land Bountiful" (Helaman 1:28)

When you get one flat tire, do you slash the other three and go home? No! And neither does Moronihah. Just because his original plan fell through, the Lord still provided a way for him to be successful. So why, do we ask, doesn't God just help us prepare the right plan from the beginning? Any ideas? I'll share with you some experiences I had this week.

Remember Lisa? She's the mom getting baptized next month. She has some really wonderful kids, and I felt inspired to make our lesson plan based around them rather than her. I studied all that morning and prepared with my companion for teaching this lesson towards her children, but when we got there the ones we planned to teach weren't even home! We were soooo stressed about this lesson, and then come to find out it wasn't even going to happen and we were going to have to wing it. Well, the lesson ended up being perfect, because the spirit totally took over. I know that's because we did put in the effort to study.
Later on in the week when her children were there, I was able to teach them many of the things I had studied the previous morning, but in just the right way.

So the weather has been like summer the past few days, so Sister Curtis and I decided to walk around a neighborhood where we knew lots of people, and teach them. We made plans the night before for who we should see and what we should teach, and prepared for them in our morning studies. Want to take a wild guess as to what happened? No one answered their door -___-. Disappointed, we walked back towards our car. On the way, we spotted a young man sitting on his front porch. Kind of the cliche Kentucky look: sagging pants, name brand beanie, huge cross chain around his neck, blasting some rap music. "Please no," I thought as we got closer. "Please YES!" the spirit replied. So we went!
"Hold on just a second," he told us, going inside his house and shutting the door. 
Then, a bunch of people came out of the house, asking us lots of questions about God and prayer and religion in general. As we explained who we were and what our message was, we asked if we could come back and teach them sometime. They asked if we could just teach them right now, so we did. We sat teaching a 22 year old, a 16 year old, and a 10 year old who God is and why we should pray to him. By the end of the lesson, they pinky promised us that they would pray everyday. Even though when I prayed that morning I hadn't planned for something like that to happen, I knew God had planned on it.  

Coming to trust God's plan has proven to be miraculous. We had plans to go tracting with two of the young women in our ward, and we really wanted it to be a good experience for them. We prayed about where we should go, and went on splits with them to knock on random people's doors. Knowing that we had made plans about where to go, I knew God would see my faith and accomplish his purpose. We tracted into a young mom with 3 cute little kids who immediately introduced herself to us and let us into her home. It was beautiful, and so was the whole situation! She told us how impressed she was with Mormon standards, and asked to learn more about our beliefs. By the end, she was looking hungrily at the Book of Mormon in my hand and asked if I was going to give it to her. YES! It was an amazing lesson and even though I had no idea who she was and what I would be teaching just hours before, I know that because I did my end of the planning, God would take care of the rest.   In the Book of Mormon we learn that it is by grace we are saved after all we can do. Most of the time what I study and plan for in the mornings has nothing to do with what actually happens that day, because people choose to go a different path and I can't help that. What I can help though is the way I choose to use my agency. My making plans and preparing, I am showing the Lord my faith that things will work out. Even though the "all I can do" part doesn't seem like it would make a difference, it opens up the door for the grace of God to come in and do what needs to be done. I am merely an instrument as he works to accomplish his eternal plan. 
On another note, we got our car back this week and I could've cried I was so happy to see it! 

Also, a returning member family  were recently challenged to read the scriptures more. When we saw them 6 days later, the wife told us she had finished reading the whole Book of Mormon. (Started Monday, finished Saturday). 

There is another less active woman whom the Relief Society president here asked us to start visiting. When we went to her house she was very welcoming, and fed us an extravagant meal. Her testimony is amazing, and she asked us if we could please teach her grandson so he could get baptized into the true church. The next Sunday they were at church, and we set an appointment to go back and keep teaching. Is anyone else confused as to how perfectly that worked out?

The weather here has been super wacky lately. As afore mentioned, it's been summer the past few days. I had a really amazing experience driving down the streets of the arts district (a classier version of downtown Oly) with the sunset as my background and listening to Kenneth Cope sing about Christ. I just felt a whole lot of love for Jesus Christ :).

It actually ended up snowing one morning when we were out with Sister Frederich. I kind of ruined the moment for everyone when I mentioned that it looked like dandruff. They just laughed and said I would probably make some awkward comment during my wedding proposal as well... this is probably true. And I definitely just realized that that random story ruined my happy "loving Jesus" moment too. Sorry guys. 

HAHA since I'm already talking about weird things, on my exchange with Sister Ellis this week, we figured out what zombies are. They are obviously dead people, but what drives them is the natural man. The light of Christ is gone. Spooky, right? #whatmissionariestalkabout

To continue with my bullet point list of things going on, volleyball this week was super fun. It was just Ty and Sister Hayes. For each serve, we dedicated it to an apostle. Until Ty did it for David Archuleta, and missed miserably. So funny. "who's the next one for, his mom??" XD

At the gas station my diligent companion went to talk to an older man that was starring at her. When she tried to give him a pass along card,  He went off about "Nissan 17" , a scriptorial month in which everything in the bible apparently occurred. So be ready world, the second coming will be on the 17th of the Nissan month!!  ... you know, I feel like some people have quotas for their church. 'One  random irrelevant principle taught to strangers, check!'

One day while knocking, a man with long hair, a hot dog shirt, wicked beard, and a striped rainbow scarf opened the door. We got to talking and asked: "So what religion are you?"
"I'm Wes," he replied.
 "Haha no, I mean like what do you call yourself or associate with?" 
For some reason, I feel like Tristan would get kick out of that if he had been there.

Okay, well that's probably enough rambling for one week. I guess I'm just in a really good mood because I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK! Also, because I'm trying to live up my last week of being in the "teens". The next time you hear from me a really terrible thing will have happened. I'll have turned 20. 
But for now, I just want you all to know that I know there is a God, and I know that He loves us. I know that as we make plans with faith, He will provide a way for HIS plan to be accomplished. At the end of every night, I kneel down before Him in humility begging for help because I can't do this alone. I recognize how much His hand has already been in this, and I see that he has carried me and his work along. He is the arm, I am merely the sickle. 

"Shall the ax boast istlef against him that heweth therewith? Shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself as if it were no wood!" (2nd Nephi 20:15)
With love,
Sister Hochstrasser
Write to me!! 

Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
447 Hutchinson Ave 
Paducah, Kentucky 42003


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