Monday, June 13, 2011

Hunters of Men

Sister Davis and I were on the bus heading to a potential appointment and I had the the map out trying to decipher the most efficient way to get to our intended destination. Sister Davis was behind me. Sister Davis talks to everyone, no hesitation, so it was odd she would be sitting there and not actively engaged in conversation. I turned around and as I did so, she moved and sat next to a woman near the front of the bus. She began,"We are sharing a message...," but as she spoke the woman cut her off... LOUDLY. "STOP IT, STOP IT!!" Puzzled, Sister Davis tried to continue talking to the woman. The Woman started mocking her, mimicking her words loudly. Her accent was very thick, possibly Polish. She then said, "JESUS??! NO!! HUNTERS!! HUNTERS!!" She pointed at Sister Davis and then at me and kept yelling it. "HUNTERS, HUNTERS!" We promptly exited the bus. As we walked away, still in a bit of confusion, we discussed what she had said and pondered, what compelled her to act in such a violent manner towards us? What had she meant? The Bible talks about how Israel is scattered and how fishers and hunters of men shall gather again.
Jeremiah 16:16-Behold, I will send for many fishers, said the Lord, and they shall fish them, and after will I send for many HUNTERS and they shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and out of the holes of the rocks.
In the 1800s many of the original twelve came to England (Read the history of the Church in Manchester-SO INTERESTING)... and when they preached the gospel, MANY gathered and the Church grew rapidly. They were fisherman casting their nets. The fish would come and the Gospel could engulf them. The reception of the the people was abundant. Today it is quite different. Those ready and willing to accept the gospel are less frequent. The line is cast, the invitation given, but few take it. Those seeking the truth are out there, the Lord is preparing them and such, they are preparing themselves. We as missionaries just have to FIND them. We are hunters of men. Our purpose, to find those who are seeking truth, yet know not where to find it. In a way the crazy bus lady was right. We ARE hunters, only our purpose is not to harm those we find, rather to bring them the Gospel, the secret to the greatest happiness we an receive in this life and the next.
The England Manchester Mission is a "forever finding" mission. This means we talk to EVERYONE. In PMG it says : "As you do all you can under the guidance of the Holy Ghost to find the people to teach, the lord will place such people in your path."
I know this is true. The Lord wants his prepared children to be found. He wants them to return to live with Him again. Later that same night we were getting off the bus near our house about to head home, we noticed we had 15 minutes...those are the golden minutes, right before you head in.
We approached a man, his name was Dave. Dave is very religious, his faith in God is strong. He had visited many churches. He saw the Book of Mormon in my hand and said he had one at home. He then said, "I have read it many times and I keep asking people about it. Who is Joseph Smith? No one knows! I just want to know more about all of it!"
The Lord is preparing his children. Dave committed to be baptised at the end of the month. :)

Sister Davis and I decided everyday to keep track of the "Mishaps and Miracles." At night when we total our key indicators (lessons taught, people talked to, etc...) we also write down one of each. Here are some from this week :

Mishap: The boiler breaking-now using the kettle to make hot water for the shower and to do the dishes!
Miracle: Sister Davis being able to get into the doctor (socialized medicine!)Someone cancelled when we were there and she got right in :)
Mishap: During a lesson I asked a man named Attila, "What would it mean to you to know God is there and that he loves you?" He responded, "I don't know but your eyes are hypnotizing!"
Miracle: Meeting Andrea. 19 year old girl in the street, restoring hope in her eyes, feeling the Spirit in our first lesson with her so powerfully, it was truly tangible during the first vision. Inviting her to be baptized July 9th-she is "SO EXCITED!"
Mishap/miracle: Seeing a previous investigator at church named Paul (previously dropped because he wasn't progressing anymore) He approached us and said, "I don't like not seeing or hearing from you anymore I don't want to be DROPPED" I don't know who told him this terminology but he's back on the calendar!
Miracle: I have been feeling so strongly that great changes are going to be made in this area. England was once the largest area in Europe for growth in the church and round two is fast approaching! The Area 70, Elder Steven R. Kerr came and spoke to the YSA ward on Sunday. He expressed SUCH enthusiasm for the new emphasis on missionary work in the area. We are all on a rescue mission to help all those who are searching for truth or who have fallen away. We must strengthen the foundation from within. "We are invited to be coworkers of the prophets." The army is united and we are all enlisted until the conflict is over!
I am honored to be apart of this movement! I can't wait to look back, years down the road, and see the membership double in this area, and know I had the privilege of being on the front lines. This work is hard, bearing testimony to strangers on their way to "Parklife,"a two day party/music festival,  is awkward and can feel hopeless. BUT there are people who are searching! Those who are ready and if 15 people laugh at me each day, I still know the Lord is preparing at least ONE who will be strengthened and brought hope by our message!
When I turned in my papers I knew it was the right thing but I didn't fully understand why. I did not appreciate the Gospel in my life the way I do now. My gratitude and enthusiasm are magnified DAILY. WE have the best gift known to man, the true secret to happiness! There is NOTHING more rewarding than sharing this news with everyone I meet. I know that God is our LOVING Heavenly Father, His love passes my comprehension, yet engulfs me each day. This Gospel is true and changes lives. It has changed mine and I am watching it change others.
I LOVE you family! Thank you SOOOOOO MUCH for the packages and letters! I LOVED the pictures, getting mail really is like Christmas :)keep it up!I am grateful for the time and energy devoted to sending me love! I feel your prayers everyone!

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