Little bit of a crazy week. My companion and I came in knowing nothing about the area (white-washing) and so we had to learn quickly. We've met a lot of people in the area, and we LOVE the ward. They are great people and very close knit (probably because most can see 3-4 other member's houses from their front doors). They are very excited to have a set of missionaries assigned only to their ward. We have a woman that has decided to be baptized in November, so we will be preparing her for that. Her husband is nearing the decision to be baptized as well, so we're very excited for them.
A bit of a change of pace for me training a new missionary and being a new District Leader, but I'm adjusting. My new companion is doing really good and learning a lot. I'm getting to know my District a little better and seeing their strengths. I had a District Leader Orientation with the other new District Leader and the Zone Leaders. They are awesome, and I'm so excited to work with them.
You may remember me telling stories of the other District Leader, Elder Van Meeteren. He is the missionary that I took to the hospital for the broken hand. Also, he was one of the Spanish missionaries that we helped with putting that washing machine on top of the truck a while back. I'm so excited to be working with him.
I can't think of any funny stories from this week, but I got to speak for a few minutes in church yesterday, and I'd like to share with you what I shared with them. We were asked to speak on faith and to base our talks around Alma, chapter 32 in the Book of Mormon. In this chapter, Alma is teaching a group of people when a second group approaches him. This second group is comprised of humble people in poverty that have been cast out from the synagogue because of their poverty. He begins to teach them about how to exercise and develop strong faith. I decided to focus more on the way the people were described. A few times, the chapter referenced them as they "whom were poor in heart". Things struck me and I started to explore what it is to be poor in heart (or poor in spirit as the footnote suggests). I decided that it was a feeling a hopelessness. They didn't feel like they had worth or that they could be accepted by man or by God. Later in the chapter, faith is described as a "hope for things which are not seen, which are true." So, if one does not have hope, they do not have faith (or at least not strong faith). There is a definite connection between the two. I also discovered in the Bible Dictionary that an effect of true faith is "an actual knowledge that the course of life one is pursuing is acceptable to the Lord". These people, lacking in hope and therefore lacking in faith did not have the knowledge that God accepts them or what they do. I feel that we sometimes experience moments of being poor in heart or poor in spirit. In these times, we need to hold to our faith and do what we can to strengthen it. The rest of Alma chapter 32 explains how to do this. If you fear that the way you are currently living your life is not acceptable to the Lord, I would invite you to take the time to strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ so that you can gain this knowledge and a hope for the future. I love you all and I pray for your safety and well being.