Dear Mum and Family,
As you all know I wasn't feeling very well this past week, but this week I feel a lot better. I have my voice back and I am not as tired as I was last week, which I am so grateful for. I still have a little cough but I am feeling a lot better. It is definitely a lot better to do missionary work when you aren't so sick.
This last week things have started to pick up a bit now that the holidays are over. We have been doing a lot of finding this past week and we have found some pretty cool people that we will hopefully be seeing this next week. We have a couple of cool investigators that we are meeting at the moment. Most of them are uni students so they are kind of busy with school at the moment. Apparently there is a lot of big exams this week so they are preparing for that. There is a part member family that we are working with which is way cool. There is a father who is a less active who is coming back to church and his wife and two kids are not members. We usually meet them once a week, but they have been on vacation to Scotland. They are a way cool family though and we should be seeing them his week.
I am really liking the Swansea area. It is a pretty big area but it's not as big of a city as Westcotes is which I really like. The members are great even though we don't have tons of Dinners. They are a really loving ward that really does take care of the missionaries. I knew some of the members before I came here so there are some really cool people that I have a great time visiting with and getting to know each week. We are doing quite a lot of activities in this ward which is great because then we have something to get our investigators out to so they can be more involved with the members. We usually play football on Saturdays and we are going to be starting Volleyball and four square on Thursdays. We have English class on Tuesday's where we can invite people who are learning English since there is a lot of foreign people here for university. We usually have a good turn up there. The ward is going to be having a few other fun activities coming up soon so I am pretty excited for that.
You asked if I wanted some recipes to cook. Well I am a good chef so nope you don't need to worry because I am a big boy and I can take care of myself. But my companion has had German pancakes, or monster cakes as we call them and he wants the recipe so if you would be so kind to send it to me that would be great. I know it's pretty simple so I think I will be able to make it.
Mum I really like the thought that you shared. I am going to have to read that book when I get home. I will have to read it again when I have time to think about what he is saying because I didn't quite get it all. I have come to the conclusion that I don't like reading, but if it is a church book that can teach me more about the gospel then I really enjoy reading it. So I think that I will like it too.
I don't really have much more to tell you because my mind has gone blank and I can't really remember all that has gone on this past week. I guess I will share my thought and if there is anything else I will add it at the end.
There has been a pretty big focus for me this past week. I have been focusing the Spirit and the importance of it in our lives.
What is the Spirit. The Spirit is the third member of the Godhead. He does not have a body of flesh and bone like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do or he would not be able to talk to our spirit. As members of the church we are blessed with this special gift after we are baptized. Even though everyone can feel the spirit in their lives it isn't your constant companion unless you have received the gift of the Holy Ghost by someone holding the Priesthood authority from God. In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul gives us some examples of the fruit of the spirit, or in other words what the spirit produces. He says:
" 22...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith...
23 Meekness, temperance..."
I really love this scripture because it shows that with the Holy Ghost in our lives we are able to enjoy life. When I look at those verses I don't see a single one of those fruits of the spirit that people wouldn't want in their lives. By having the Spirit in our lives we are able to enjoy all of them which can help us in so many aspects in life.
We read in Helaman 5:30 how the spirit speaks to us.
"....it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul."
The spirit is a still small voice. It does not come in loud noises that are easy for us to recognize so if we are preoccupied we will not hear its gentle voice. "Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening and say in our manner and expression, like Samuel of ancient times, ‘Speak [Lord], for thy servant heareth.’ ( PMG 96)
This is something that I have really been focusing on when it comes to the spirit. The fact that it is such a gentle voice that we miss it if we are not paying careful attention. In missionary work it is so important that you have the spirit with you because it is by the spirit that the work gets truly done. There is so many things in life that are so loud that it drowns out the still small voice.
If we think of the times from Adam and Eve to the prophet Joseph Smith we see that that the world changed rather slowly. They didn't have lots of the distractions and noises that we have today.
They would have enjoyed a natural silence without all the man-made sounds. Right now as I am sitting inside it is not perfectly silent. I can hear all the cars going outside, planes that are flying overhead, construction on buildings that make lots of noise. All of this drowns out the natural silence that all the prophets in the past would have experienced. You can't even go to a restaurant or a store without music playing in the back ground. Even in remote forest the silence is usually broken with a jet flying overhead. Even when we are alone we usually are putting headphones in to listen to music, playing games on phones, doing things on laptops or watching T.V. All these things and many more things keep us occupied in the world today.
Elder M. Russell Ballard asked a really good question that I would like to ask you. He asked:
"Do you have any personal quiet time? I have wondered if those who lived in the past had more opportunity than we do now to see, feel, and experience the presence of the Spirit in their lives."
That would be my challenge for you this week. Set time to just quietly ponder and listen to the promptings of the Spirit. During that time you could read from the scriptures, you could write in a journal, you could read your patriarchal blessing. There are so many things that we can do to invite the spirit so that we can think and listen to the still small voice that can tell us all things that we must do.
There is so much in life that distracts us so that we can't hear the Spirit. That is how Satan wants it. He wants there to be many distraction in life. Are you going to let him win by letting those things take control of life? Or are you going to use your agency to set some time aside for our Heavenly Father to speak to you? He knows what is best for you at this time in your life and as you listen with a prayer in your heart continually you will be able to receive those answers. Even if there is not something you are looking for answers for it is amazing just to sit and feel the presence of the spirit in our lives. In a world like today it's nice to feel that spirit of peace and joy at times to know that God is there and that he truly does care for us.
I know that the Spirit is given to us so that we can enjoy this life. I know it is there to guide us and protect us. He is there to give us comfort in a world full of so much hate and confusion. I know that as we do our part in letting the Spirit into our lives we will be able to do great things that are Heavenly Father wants us to do.
Thank you all for your letters I really enjoyed reading them. I hope you all have a great week.
PS you will have to tell the Stilgers hi for me. I really miss serving in Sheldon. It was probably one of my favorite wards to serve in.