Friday, June 5, 2015

Words of Eternal Life

I can't even describe the tsunami of rain we were caught in the other day. It was a torrential down pour to the max! And then it's so humid here we couldn't dry off... hahaha. I love Tennessee. 

I also love the SCRIPTURES! So be prepared, that's a big part of what I have to talk about today ;).

This past district meeting I presented a training on teaching when you find people, and finding people while you're teaching. (It's a section in PMG -preach my gospel-under chapter 9). We did a role-play where the missionaries would have to teach on the spot, and ask for referrals. One elder, Elder Neilson who's a red headed Spanish speaker, tried to teach me how the Book of Mormon was like a chick flick- and I really should take it and read it.... I didn't even know what to say to that. So I just laughed. 

"...thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

We met a sweet lady named Lu this week. Lu used to live in Germany and used to meet and go to church with missionaries there! She was excited to see us, and asked if we could start giving her reading assignments like the last missionaries had! I'll tell you my testimony of inviting others to read the scriptures went up a lot this past week :). 

One of the dinners we were invited to was very special to me this week. We went to the Lindemanns. Her husband wasn't home from work, so it was just her and her 4 kids under 12. Things were hectic, but happy, and I couldn't help but notice a special spirit in their home. As we got to know this family, we found out that they loved to talk to all their friends about the gospel and do missionary work. They also read from the scriptures ever day, and even did family home evenings every week! Sister Lindemann shared this with us, not at all boasting but in fact apologetically because perhaps it was a little too roudy when they tried to do these things. She shared her testimony with us that even though it was hard, it gave her peace knowing she was at least trying to do what God has asked. I recognized that the special spirit I felt in the Lindemanns home came from their families obedience to the instructions the Lord has given for families through modern day prophets. I could actually FEEL the difference, even though I may not have immediately seen one or heard one. 

I reflect back on my own upbringing, and how we would complain whenever we were called to do family home evening because we had homework and were too busy... or how my mom would pull out the scriptures and make us read even though we were all tired and rowdy. I even recall family prayers where someone would be in a bad mood and refuse to kneel with us- but my parents would still pray anyway... even if there was only one kid willing to listen.  
At the time, I know it was so hard for them to do these things because of the opposition of their 4 kids- but they did it anyway. Not every day [prayer was everyday!], not always consistently, but to the best they knew how. To this day I am so GRATEFUL to my mom for raising us this way. I know without a doubt that often it was her righteousness that kept the armor of God on us as we faced the world. And today it is the stories of the scriptures she taught me that come forth to my mind when I need them most. Whether to strengthen myself, or those I now teach as a full time missionary. 
Elder Henry B Eyring explained it perfectly in his talk entitled "A Priceless Heritage of Hope":
"There are things you can do early, when those you love are young. Remember that daily family prayer, family scripture study, and sharing our testimony in sacrament meeting are easier and more effective when children are young. Young children are often more sensitive to the Spirit than we realize.
When they are older, they will remember the hymns they sang with you. Even more than recalling music, they will remember the words of scripture and testimony. The Holy Ghost can bring all things to their remembrance, but the words of scriptures and hymns will last the longest. Those memories will exert a pull that may bring them back when they wander for a time, possibly for years, from the pathway home to eternal life."

Brother Smart of our ward helped to expound on this principle when we were teaching the Bagwells this week. Their mom is an inactive member, and the rest are of other religions. They are searching for a church, but have a lot of problems with ours. 
We taught them about the Spirit by using the scriptures, and the lesson quickly turned into a message on family scripture study. They thought it was a brilliant concept, and immediately asked Brother Smart how one would do it, and what his experience with it was. Brother Smart bore a great testimony about how their family studies the scriptures and the blessings it brings. The spirit in the room was really strong, and paved the way for all of this familys concerns regarding our church to come pouring out. One concern was about modern day prophets. As the mom was voicing this, their oldest daughter came downstairs and piped up that it made sense to her that there would still be prophets today (as we believe). I shared with them that the Bible says to "beware of false prophets", and they readily agreed. I then explained that if we were warned against false prophets, there must also be true ones. That struck them. 
I then quoted Ephesians 2:20 about how Christs church is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets, with Christ as the chief cornerstone. I felt the power of God in that room- and they were confounded. Their hearts were softening. 
"Don't give up on us," Sister Bagwell told me. 
Don't worry. We won't. 

My exchange this week was in Bellevue with Sister Crossley AND Sister Traughber. We had a great time together. 

When I got back with Sister Rawlings, we went tracting in one of the only apartment complexes in our area. It was so awesome because when we would go to the lower levels, we could see underneath the stairs and saw weaves hanging from them... like, hair weaves. HAHAHA. We taught this one guy through his DOOR about the Book of Mormon being a witness of Christ. He opened his door like 2 inches so we could give him a Book of Mormon. He was really astounded that the picture on the card was of a white Jesus. The guy was a crack up. I felt like I was in Paducah again. 

We got to go to the world market for a few minutes, these were a few of my favorite things...(she forgot to include pictures.

We were able to teach Pamela this week, which was really exciting! She watched the Joseph Smith video on her own and loved it! To help her see that she can gain a testimony through the Book of Mormon, we read the first chapter with her and her grandson. It feels so good to be teaching a real restoration lesson to someone who is honestly seeking truth.  More updates to come! 

This Sunday we were asked to teach the 16-18 year old class. There were 16 of them in there... and woowee will I probably not ever desire to do that again! lol. 
Don't get me wrong, it was enjoyable, just a lot of work. We taught them about how to have effective scripture study. I think the most pivotal point of that lesson was when Sister Rawlings shared her story of not having read the scriptures as a youth, and how much it changed her when she began. 
As I have come to read the Book of Mormon over and over, it's also changed my life. I know that's so cliche. But if you study that book, you will find that it is so genius and so righteous no evil man could have written it and no good man would have translated it unless inspired of God.

"And now, my beloved brethren, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ... Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life" (2nd Nephi 31:19-20) 

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me" (John 5:39)

I add my witness to the words of Nephi and St John, and invite everyone to consistently treasure up those words of life. Particularly those found in the Book of Mormon. Read on your own, read with your families, and don't stop reading (or listening) and you will have eternal life and peace and happiness now. 
Sister Hochstrasser
Write to me!
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 West Park Dr. Ste 190
Brentwood, TN 37027

We thought this was sort of funny... 

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