Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Light to the Mind and Heart

We were coming up on the half hour, and I knew we technically could stay, but if we didn't leave now we'd never have time to go tracting and reach our goal of one new investigator. We left, and we found the family Heavenly Father wanted us to teach. :)

I have a testimony of obedience. The more we follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, the more we will receive them. The more we receive them and follow them, the more we will recognize them! 

That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. D&C 50:24

That night I went to Bellevue for exchanges with Sister Ferrin. I got to be with her on her birthday which was lots of fun :)
I also learned while with her that I am indeed in a foreign mission. I taught a guy from South Africa, met someone from Haiti, Iran, India, Mexico, France, Philippines, etc. It's just a huge melting pot of different cultures and languages in Nashville! 

At the end of our exchange we got back together with the other Sisters. I wasn't feeling very happy for some reason, and I was concerned I'd take the darkness and bring it into my own area when I went back with my companion. As I talked with the other Sisters about what they had done while I was away, I began to focus on each of the people they were telling me about. As I focused my mind on them, I could feel my heart begin to change and the light seep in to being. The dark clouds went away and I was so thankful to Heavenly Father for helping me get my mind and heart focused on others. 

We had a mission conference which explains how something like this works. You see, there's a difference between exponentially receiving light and linearly receiving light. When we study for ourselves, when we pray for ourselves, when we focus on ourselves, Heavenly Father can only shed a one-person's worth amount of light (or revelation) within us. This produces a linear effect. Day by day getting one step up and over on the graph. 
When we study for others, pray for others, and focus on others, then Heavenly Father will not just give us the amount of light (or revelation) needed for ourselves, but he gets to heap on all that light (revelation) that is needed for others! Often times the revelation we get for others applies to ourselves and future experiences. The more light we receive that way, the faster our pools of light grow and the greater the pools are, the greater the room to receive more becomes. Hence, exponential growth. "For...light cleaveth unto light" (D&C 88:40)
Okay, they didn't actually share all that at our mission conference, that was just me getting sort of technical and confusing with the visual hahaha.

This week I was especially sensitive to all of the light that others were able to shine on me from their own personal vessels.  For example, Emily is a junior in high school. Emily likes to come teach lessons with us. One day, Emily shared an experience she had in which the Spirit helped her make the decision to completely delete her Instagram account because it wasn't bringing in any light to her life. She recognized that a lot of it was just an altered reality designed for superficial approval. I really admired her example. 

In a lesson with a man named TJ, I was thrown back to my psychology days. TJ is very hung up on the whole "human nature" (natural man) aspect of religion. He tried to explain to us how religion is just a thing of the mind and I found myself becoming confused and my own light begin to dim. As this happened, Brother Boughton, the member we brought with us, bore a beautiful testimony of the divinity of the Savior and a loving Heavenly Father. He spoke of a spiritual being (the Holy Ghost) who can connect with our own spirits. Spiritual truth is learned when what is true to our mind and what feels right in our heart align. As he spoke, I felt my own mind being enlightened and my heart lock into place with what I was thinking. 

I recognized that TJ would tell me this was just my subconscious clinging to anything to support what I had been taught my whole life. But there was something about the difference between the two men standing before me that I couldn't shake. One was so confused, unsure, and indistinct- the way I had been starting to feel. And the other was certain, powerful, and illuminating. As I listened to Brother Boughton I felt enlightened and deified in my mind and heart. I'm not sure if I've ever experienced anything quite like that. It was very simple and very subtle, so that I could not declare 110% that it was a spiritual experience from God- but I do know I felt it. I felt the seed of faith within myself growing, and I am confident that if I continue to nourish that seed it will one day turn into sure knowledge. I am so grateful that in that moment Heavenly Father blessed this Brother with an exponential increase in light to shine on all who were present. 

Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
D&C 8:2

Similarly, we met a Scientologist the other day who believes very much in our human nature, but also just as strongly in a spiritual nature. He explained that he believes our spirits host our bodies and when we die they go grab another one. "It's a trap," he explained, "you never stop repeating life." As he shared this, I felt the darkness creep in and the light fade out. Not only did I feel it, but it made me confused, too. Again, this feeling in the mind and heart was so different then how I feel when I share the truth that I know- that it is further evidence to me that the gospel of Jesus Christ is real. 

Unfortunately, where there is light somewhere else there is dark. We saw on the Nolensville community facebook page a post about the religious people who knock on their doors... The comments were unkind and discouraging. 

On a lighter note, the other day Jeff was trying to tell us in his Jeff-like way that he was a "dark guy" and we just didn't understand his "dark past and personality". My response was: "Jeff stop. You're not dark, you're just dramatic!". That snapped him out of his glum outlook and we all had a good laugh.

So it's going to take Jeff a few months before he can get baptized. We did a workshop with him to help him live the word of wisdom, which was a big concern. I fasted for him on Sunday. As I was fasting, I was getting a little grouchy about not getting to eat. Then the spirit reminded me that as I am overcoming my natural man and physical desires, it will grant Jeff that same strength to overcome his! After the workshop Jeff asked Brother Patin who was with us, "Do you have the priesthood authority?? Because I read in that booklet they gave me that if you need extra help you can have a blessing done to you." 
Bless his heart it was the greatest thing! He most definitely got a blessing, in which his Father in Heaven reminded him of the light he has within himself and the light of others around him who will be able to luminate his path towards baptism and Jesus Christ :).

Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.
Moroni 7:19

My year mark came this week. That was a little frightening. I'm thinking back to how much time flew in Sparta and Paducah, and knowing that's all the time I have left I'm freaking out! I'm also very determined. I have 6 months to find everyone I'm supposed to find, and become the person I'm supposed to become. Pressures on! But I can do :) I'm wearing Jesus's name, nothing can go wrong!


Sister Hochstrasser 

Write to me!!
Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 West Park Dr Ste 190
Brentwood, TN  37027

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