Rain and darkness has finally returned to Washington! After a nearly triple-digit-not-a-cloud-in-the-sky-blazing-hot-sunny day, we had the cold and rain come back--50 degrees! And I thought Houston weather could be crazy! It's been cold, dark, and rainy since Friday and you would think people would be nicer when they see 2 girls walking around soaking wet in the pouring rain-NOPE. Quite the opposite! But it definitely makes the days a little more fun;)
Like I said, work with finding new people to teach has been slow--especially because we have a lot to do with strengthening branch members and recent converts. It's given me a lot of time to think and learn more about myself.
Never in my life have I ever been so aware of my weaknesses than here on my mission. At times, it seems like not one of the strengths you have can be utilized and you are left almost helpless with a sack-full of weaknesses. When the work is slow and you feel like you are dragging your bag full of weaknesses behind you in the cold, pouring rain--discouraging thoughts come to mind. One thing that has come to mind this past week is a question that I think is all too common among missionaries, preparing missionaries, and just about everyone else:
"How can I bear testimony of something that I don't know for sure that it's true?"
I have pondered this thought a lot this week and have learned a great deal--NEVER THINK THIS WAY. Don't fall into that common pitfall--don't tell yourself you can't testify of a principle of the gospel just because you haven't had a grand spiritual experience to back it up. Don't refrain from sharing your testimony because you are not 10000% sure about a principle. Don't think you will be a hypocrite from testifying of something you hope is true, but that you do not know for sure.
After all, the prophet Moroni tells us:
"And now, I, Moroni would show unto the world that faith is things which arehoped for and not seen; wherefore dispute not because you see not, for yereceive no witness until the trial of your faith." [Ether 12:6]
There are some principles of the gospel that I know without a doubt in my mind that they are true-I have experienced the fruits of the application of those principles, but there are others that I live and hope are true, although I have not had many personal experiences to support my testimony. Do not let that be discouraging! Just as President Boyd K. Packer used to say, "A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!"
He also says, "It is one thing to receive a witness from what you have read or what another has said; and that is a necessary beginning. It is quite another to have the Spirit confirm to you in your bosom that what you have testified is true."
I have learned this principle to be so true! Although I may not have a stellar testimony of the Word of Wisdom or of Fast Offerings or some other principle, I don't need to doubt my ability to share the testimony I have because I lack grandeur experiences that have strengthened that testimony. Rather, I have learned that as I testify of these principle that I hope with all my heart, might, mind, and strength are true, I feel the Spirit confirm their truthfulness. I learned this week that I don't always need a personal experience to accompany my testimony--I just have to have the faith and hope that the things I teach are true, and as I do so, the Spirit bears witness.
I no longer have any doubts or qualms about sharing every single principle of the gospel because I know that if it really is true, the Holy Ghost will accompany my words.
This is the challenge I leave with you all this week:
Bear testimony of the things that you hope are true, as an act of faith.
We begin with hope and faith-not with a perfect knowledge of things. I promise that as you maintain this hope as you faithfully and courageously share principles of the gospel, that the Holy Ghost will accompany your testimony and that you will feel it as well as the person you share it with-neither of you will be able to deny it.
It is a tool of the devil to make us doubt and lose hope. Don't let him win! We know who's team will win; stick with it!
Have a fantastic week everyone!