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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lessons learned from Mission Life

Dad,

We had quite the miracle this last week!! We are working with a man who is less active, and has struggled throughout his life to be active. We will call him Kent. Kent has been wanting to stop smoking for several years, but has really struggled with it. He had a resolution that he would stop this year. This last week, we had an appointment with him, and we asked him about it. He wasn’t doing too great with it, so we talked about how and when he could stop. He said that he wanted to stop when he got settled, which was confusing because we had just helped him move, and we thought that he had just settled. However, he went on to tell us that he had moved because this lady had apparently had a little crush on our friend, Kent, and wanted to get with him, but unfortunately for her... he wasn’t really interested, so in anger, she started to do things to make his life as difficult as possible. She was one of his neighbors and would dingdong ditch him during the night, or blast music as loud as she could.. And just really make normal life hard. So he moved!! ..Only to discover that her brother happens to live above him in his new apartment... And the brother started to do the same thing that the sister had  doing before... So if you ever have a bad day, be grateful that you’re not getting dingdong ditched at midnight... Even after moving! Count those blessings ;) Anywho, so we discussed how to help him, but he still seemed really hesitant to stop smoking. We were able to help him open up with his concerns and then talk about how to address him. Then, we felt prompted to offer to give him a blessing. He said that he would like one. We gave him one, and the spirit was amazingly strong during it, promising him that if he would have faith-shown by his actions-that he would overcome. Kent, before the blessing was doubting and discouraged, but after was confident and had a total change about him. He had a determination to change.

Brother Gladden (his previous seminary teacher) wrote Jacob and asked him to share an experience he has had in the scriptures.  He shared his reply in this letter:  

I was having a particularly difficult morning with feeling emotionally and spiritually fatigued, and started my personal study with a very sincere prayer for help and to know what to do in my situation. I then started my studies in the BOM, and I was studying Ether chapter 6. In verse three it states, “3 And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness.” It really touched me that it was THE LORD who gave the stones light. I asked myself who the stones were and I imagined how they would feel being alone to shine their light in the darkness. I then cross referenced the scripture to the analogy in John 15, where Christ is the vine and we are the branches. I realized that in a way that I am a stone! If they (the stones or the branches) stay grafted into the vine, then they will have the strength necessary to have the fruit that they need. The Savior is that vine. And look what the Lord does to those who DO bring forth fruit! In John 15:2, we learn that the Lord will purge or PURIFY OR TEST those who bring forth fruit! He tests us- which will enable us to bring forth more fruit. I feel that it is that way with missions. We are given opportunities to be tested and refined because we ARE doing all we can to bring forth fruit. But if we stay grafted to the vine, we will have the strength necessary. I then carried the analogy further and found it interesting that before, all the stones were together. The prophet had brought them to the Lord and in Ether 3, the Lord touched them one by one!! That’s just like me with my friends and family back home. We were all touched and given light one by one. Or as missionaries, we are chosen by the Lord- through the prophet- to go and give light in specific places. The stones had been molten- refined and purified, just as a man should be preparing for the mission. Then, we are separated to go and be lights for the people so that they can reach the “promised land”. What’s also interesting is that the only way to the promise land is through the water. BAPTISM! And in Ether 6:4, the people ACT on their decision to leave and prepare- just like the invitations that we give to people as missionaries. At the end of the verse, it talks about them commending themselves to God. Is that not baptism?? We are promising to take His name upon us in all times, things, and places. We truly commend ourself to Him! And then in verse 5, the Lord sends a wind- which causes waves- or trials- and because of that, the boats would probably go under the sea!
I believe that we each have a wind from Him to help us come to our promised land, and too often we see them only as waves. In verse 10, we learn that there was light continually throughout the whole voyage, and to bring it all back around, I feel that a mission is often like that. Before, all the stones were together and they were touched by the finger of the Lord. I came from a family that had the gospel of the Lord. Together, we grew and were touched. And then I was separated from them to give the light that I had discovered from the Savior to other people. I might feel like there is less light because I am not with them. However, I must remember who gave me the light in the first place! It was He who will continue to give me light, no matter how deep under the ocean we may feel, or how desperate for air we feel. For He is our Savior and Master! And in the situation that I was in, I needed to be more grafted to the vine, and through the BOM, and I found the strength that I needed. Sorry that was really long but in case you missed my long spiritual thoughts, there is one!! :)
Dad, know I love you! Please share that with Bro Gladden, I’m running out of time... But to sum it up, know that I know that this is no small cause that I am here today to share this message of the Savior, Jesus Christ. It is no small task or responsibility. I have been set apart and I will not deny the gift that is in me!! I will fight to the end! I will be strong-even if no one else around me is! I will shine my light to all and never give up!! And I love this mission :)

And love you too!!


Jacob 

Jacob will be staying in Arras for another 6 weeks, his companion Elder Tibbits is being transferred to Paris and he will get a new companion on Wednesday. He sent some fun pictures of their last few days together.

The streets of Arras with Jacob's narration..press the play arrow

Elder Tibbits...press the play arrow

Posing Elder T and Elder L

The "Bad Haircut" place

Arras architecture

Cathedral in Centerville

P-day sight seeing!

Frenchies!


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