Monday, February 3, 2014

29th Week (Sheldon)

Hey Everyone!!
This week has been pretty great!  I'm glad to hear everything is going great! 
I feel like everything I used to know about Aramco is changing!  The commissary, golf course, church.  I can't believe all of the changes you're reporting!  Also, American Idol.... choose who'd I'd like most for me!  Are there any folkish people??  I can't imagine going to the beach!   It's so cold! 
So I've officially started my 5th transfer.  I can't believe that.  There's only 12 left.  Considering how fast they've been going I feel like I'll be home next month.  I'm not ready for that! 
So with the week, last Monday we emailed then went to Tesco with the other team (Elder Chardon and Ruka) to get some food and do a little bit of shopping.  Then we went to some charity shops to look around. It was a fun day but nothing really eventful happened on Monday. 
On Tuesday we got up and did our personal study then two hour companionship study.  We decided to leave the flat and just do language study later because it was killing us to be inside.  We went and talked to a few people, nobody listened though.  For some reason, we just can't find anyone to teach right now.  We came back and had lunch, after lunch we decided to go and stop by a couple of old potentials and tract all the way there and back.  We were finding all day and found nobody to teach.  I know we just need to persevere though and we'll get some lessons.  The Lord knows where to send us, he's just not sending us there right now because he's trying to shape us and build us.  We had a lesson with Salin that night where we talked about church and the commandments.  It was a good lesson.  He wants to be baptised but isn't coming to church. 
On Wednesday we were supposed to have District meeting but Elder Chardon was sick so we had to make some last minute plans to do some more finding.  Tracting and GQing.  We went around and knocked on doors but still nothing.  We had a dinner appointment at our ward mission leaders house at 5:00.  That night we went home teaching with Bro. Camiasani, the guy who's house we went to Christmas for.  We taught a recent convert named Simon, and had a great lesson. 
Thursday morning was great.  We were sitting at our study desk along side a window and I hear Elder Tupou 'ooohhh is that snow?!'  I look out the window and it was snowing!  Finally!  He says 'I thought there was a fire near by!'  Like there were ashes falling.. 'I don't want to go outside!'  It was so funny!  He has just never been in the snow or even cold.  We ended up going outside to get to district meeting.  We had a great meeting but by the time it was over, the snow had stopped.  It hasn't snowed since.  It has been very cold though.  We had ward council that night.  We talked a lot about missionary work. 
Friday is always the hardest day, this one, worse than most.  We had weekly planning then we got a call saying that we had a lesson with Wedwhatie with the other Elders (the dutch lady) did I tell y'all we had already had one lesson with her?  She's moving back to Holland soon but wants to join the church.  She is so golden but time is too short.  We're trying our best and she's in such a hard situation.  The lessons are mostly in Dutch so we all just sit there and I testify when I understand what's going on.   But the lesson on Friday got cancelled, but the Elders were already at our flat.  During this time I go into the room where Elder Tupou was asleep because he was feeling sick to find him looking absolutely in pain.  He was shaking and feeling horrible so I shut the door and talked to him for a bit.  It turns out he was very sick but didn't want to be.  He wanted to work.  He started getting clothes on to work but I wouldn't let him.  He asked if we had any work to do.  I said 'we always have work to do.'  That was a mistake!  Anyways I convinced him he was too sick to go out and I went with Elder Ruka to our dinner appointment. 
Saturday, we spent all day in the flat. Elder Tupou has really been very sick.  Sister Rasmussen says it's probably because he's from Tonga and has been exposed to all types of new bugs that he doesn't have defenses for yet.  But we had a little miracle.  We had a DA at the Watsons that night and I had been trying all day to call and cancel.  Their phones were shut off.  Eventually about 30 minutes before the appointment I feel like for some reason we need to go.  Elder Tupou randomly gets out of bed and is feeling fine!  We go to the dinner and have a great dinner and Elder Tupou gave such a powerful spiritual message about church.  He kept saying 'I want you, with me at church.'  The spirit was so strong.  As soon as we left the house, not five steps outside Elder Tupou starts coughing and shaking and gets sick again!
Sunday was fast and testimony meeting.  Elder Tupou didn't fast because of the sickness but will next week.  I did though.  It's weird how much I like fasting now because I understand it more.  We had a good Sunday but Elder Tupou got very sick again at church.  I felt so bad for him.  So we went straight home and he went to bed.  I ended up falling asleep on the seti for a while as well.   Overall this week has been pretty good.
So I've been thinking a lot about member missionary work these past few weeks.  I feel like it's where members of the church can grow the most.  I know a lot of people reading this live in Saudi Arabia where the situation is a little different but there are still things to be done. 
In Preach My Gospel chapter 9:
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “So many of us look upon missionary work as simply tracting. Everyone who is familiar with this work knows there is a better way. That way is through the members of the Church. Whenever there is a member who introduces an investigator, there is an immediate support system. The member bears testimony of the truth of the work. He is anxious for the happiness of his investigator friend. He becomes excited as that friend makes progress in learning the gospel.
“The full-time missionaries may do the actual teaching, but the member, wherever possible, will back up that teaching with the offering of his home to carry on this missionary service. He will bear sincere testimony of the divinity of the work. He will be there to answer questions when the missionaries are not around. He will be a friend to the convert who is making a big and often difficult change. … The process of bringing new people into the Church is not the responsibility alone of the missionaries. They succeed best when members become the source from which new investigators are found”
I talked earlier in my email about knocking door after door with no real success.  I do believe that a part of this is because members aren't doing their part in this area. 
Preach My Gospel also teaches that most members don't engage in missionary work because of fear.  Fear to offend, fear to hurt realtionships.  I love what Elder Holland said in the 'Hastening the Work of Salvation' broadcast.  He said 'an invitation that is born of our love for others and for the Lord Jesus Christ and our desire for the happiness of these friends and family members will never be seen as offensive or judgmental.'

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is our greatest knowledge, it is what sustains us in our every day life.  It is what helps when we are going through faith-trying situations.  It is what brings us more joy than anything else we could satiate ourselves with.  We need to fulfil our 'greatest and most important duty... to preach the gospel' (Joseph Smith)  Share the gospel with your friends, and follow the guidance of the spirit in doing that.  Great joy comes with it.  We grow so much more when we help others progress in the gospel.  We as teachers, missionaries, and investigators or friends 'rejoice and are edified together.'  Doctrine and Covenants 50:22
This is the greatest work we can be engaged in.  Be bold and loving, and share the joy and happiness you have found with those around you. 

I love you all,
Elder Evan Pogue

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