Monday, November 25, 2013

Fwd: Letter #34 - 11/25/13

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 8:19 AM
Subject: Letter #34 - 11/25/13
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Hey everyone! I laughed when I read that Emily is staying in her first area another transfer too. Maybe Montgomery's just slip under the radar of mission presidents. If I stay next transfer too, I will be in Voskresensky for officially half of my mission. Time flies!

Let's see... what went down this week? Tuesday night we had two lessons -- one with an investigator (Alisa) that wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true (and therefore will know soon enough), and one with an investigator who has no desire to know it's true because she doesn't want to change her life to be in accordance with it (and therefore will never know, because God won't force a conviction into a heart hardened to the Holy Ghost). It was pretty sad. People... the gospel is AMAZING! Sometimes I just want to pour my entire life experiences into the hearts and minds of those I teach... if only they knew! In any case, all I can do is testify and pray that the Holy Ghost will convince them to keep moving forward. I have seen the gospel rejected more times than I can count, but NEVER by a humble seeker of truth. ANY person who truly follows Moroni 10:3-5 (including the "sincere heart, real intent, faith in Christ" part) will know that the Book of Mormon is true, and therefore that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on earth (see Book of Mormon Intro). I will go to my grave proclaiming that simple truth.

Ahem... let me step off my digital soapbox to continue the adventures of my week. Wednesday we had a specialized zone training about planning and goal-setting. Good stuff. We also had exchanges, so I was with Sister Farnsworth (wonderful sister) in Voskresensky. I've learned from other people's comments, and especially from being on exchanges, that one of my strengths is being bold. I have no fear calling people to repentance -- if you're a member who's not holding weekly family home evenings, you can bet I'm going to bring it up, continue past your excuses, back up my words with the words of prophets, invite you to change immediately, warn you of the consequences of not changing, and promise you to blessings of making your life more in harmony with God's will. If you're a stranger I meet on the street who says that all that's necessary is to believe in your soul, you can bet I'm going to quote scripture declaring the contrary and invite you to follow the commandments more fully by participating in the only fully true church of Jesus Christ on the earth. I do it with love, but I do it nonetheless. This church is true, it is THE TRUTH, and the world's gotta know about it.

Dang, there I go on my soapbox again. I think it's permanently attached to the bottom of my boots...

Friday was a really rough day -- tried to talk with 50 people, and the only conversations we got out of all of it was the very first (12:00) and the very last (8:55) people we contacted. Phew! But I definitely grew closer to Heavenly Father because of it... we had a long talk that night, and I learned a lot from Him.

Saturday we had a neat experience. We were at a bus stop and Sister Hunsaker started a conversation with a woman next to her (Larisa) and, like a good trainer, I saved her by joining the conversation (but only after letting her appropriately struggle for about 15 or 20 seconds). Anyway, the woman was really interested in knowing what we believe, and since we didn't have an appointment then, we talked with her for probably about 20 or 30 minutes right there. I felt the Spirit so strong as she was describing her search for truth, and I explained the Restoration and testified that she'll find the answers she's seeking for in the restored gospel and especially the Book of Mormon. We read the last two paragraphs of the Intro with her, and immediately her countenance changed; she handed it back to us and said, "I don't agree. There's no way that God called a prophet in our day." I explained how it was possible and how she could know it, but she was getting more and more closed. We had to go anyway, but we left the book with her and told her we'd call her.

Fast forward to Sunday night -- I called her and we had another 30 minute conversation on the phone. She said that she read the first few pages of the Introduction and doesn't agree; she's thinks it's foolish, nonsense. She was about to be done right then, but thankfully I kept her talking ("What didn't you agree with? Why do you think that?") and I was able to answer all of her questions and concerns. There were a lot of good one-liners that came from it, I've got to admit... "Listen, if I hadn't read and prayed about the Book of Mormon, I wouldn't believe it either." "Think of it this way: either we're crazy or it's true. I know for myself that it's true, and it'll be your choice to find that out too." "Do you believe the Bible? [She does.] You said that you think it's crazy that God could call a 14-year-old boy to be a prophet. But you know what else is crazy? The fact that Jesus Christ died and then resurrected. He was DEAD and then came back to LIFE. There's a lot of people that think that's nonsense, but when I read that account in the Bible, and when I live my life in accordance with the Bible's teachings, I experience more joy than I can express to you, and I know by the Holy Ghost that it's true. It's the exact same thing with the Book of Mormon, but you will never know that until you read it." Ahh! This soapbox is on fire!

Anyway, I convinced her to give us one chance at meeting face to face, and she agreed. This morning in personal study, I filled my doctrinal arsenal with all sorts of passages that support the message of the Restoration, but unfortunately I never got to use them because this morning she said she doesn't want anything more to do with us. So sad. But hey, since the arsenal is already loaded, maybe one of you can use it in another situation:
  • 1 Samuel 3:17-20 (Lord calls Samuel, very relatable to the Joseph Smith story)
  • Ephesians 2:18-20 (Christ's church built on foundation of prophets and apostles)
  • Acts 3:20-22 (before Christ comes, a prophet like Moses will be called)
  • 2 Nephi 33:10-11 (Nephi's powerful testimony of the truthfulness of his words)
  • Alma 32:26-27 (just try it! Do an experiment with the Book of Mormon and find out)
  • John 7:16-17 (he who acts will find out if the doctrine is of God or just from us [hint: it's the first])
  • Mormon 9:15-20 (we believe in an unchanging God of miracles)
  • Amos 8:11-12 (foretelling of great apostasy)
  • Alma 5:45-46 (pray, fast, and work to know for yourself)
Alright, well I think I've worn myself out with this letter. I'm sure there's more excitement to be found this week. I love you all--thanks so much for all your support!

Sister Montgomery