Monday, February 10, 2014

Fwd: Letter #45 - 2/10/14

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 7:58 AM
Subject: Letter #45 - 2/10/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Happy transfers! I'm still living it up in Voskresensky, but Sister Batalova joined me on Thursday while Sister Hunsaker headed down to Odessa. Sister Batalova is from Russia and is a very diligent and kind Sister, and I've thoroughly enjoyed our four days together thus far. I just wrote President that the only downside to serving with a native is that it's hard to transition my brain to English when I write in my journal at night. :) As you can probably guess, I'm loving it.

We also have a lot of work to do with our investigators Vlad (28-year-old young man who has a baptismal date for Feb.22), Nela (tracted into her, she met with missionaries five years ago and invited us right in, also came to church yesterday), and our family Alina and Viktor (meeting with them tonight). We're also still keeping up with Alisa (had an amazing FHE with her and the Klebingats last week, and the bishop and his family taught her Plan of Salvation last night), and seeing as Sister Batalova is new, we've been going from member to member so that she can get to know them. Let me tell you -- a working missionary is a happy missionary! And not just working, but serving, studying, teaching, testifying, inviting others to come unto Christ... what a great life. :)

Spiritually, I've been feasting on my studies and loving it; there's a big emphasis in the mission right now on gospel scholarship, and I've been really striving to have what I call "mad dash" studies. Not in the sense of quantity (stuffing information inside my brain) but in quality (receiving revelation and increased understanding about gospel topics). The Holy Ghost has really been guiding me as I've studied the scriptures; it's like He can take anything I'm reading and somehow connect it with what I need in that day, even when such a connection is completely invisible at first glance. It's really improved my missionary work and general mood every day, and I know the same will be true for you and your life as you "feast upon the words of Christ" (2 Nephi 32:3).

I don't have too much more to say, though I will share an example I came up with when it comes to sharing the gospel. The scenario is this: I'm with a friend and start pouring myself a glass of juice. As I'm drinking and enjoying it, my friend asks me what it is I'm drinking.

Response #1: "I'm glad you asked! Here, let me tell you... It's called Welch's Grape Juice, and it contains Filtered Water, Grape Juice Concentrate, Calcium Gluconate, Calcium Lactate, Ascorbic Acid  (Vitamin C), and Grape Seed Extract. Would you like to try some?"

Response #2: "I'm so glad you asked; in fact, I've been wanting to tell you for weeks! It's called Welch's Grape Juice, and I first tried it about six months ago when I was at a friend's house. I immediately fell in love with it! It's sweet, but not too sweet, you know? And it's pretty healthy too. Also, whenever I have a bad day, or I come home from work super exhausted, I can hardly wait to pour myself a glass of this stuff and just drink my worries away. It's so good. Would you like to try some?"

Which sounds more enticing to you? Which juice would you be more likely to try? Clearly, the second one; however, too often when telling people about the church, we give them only information (#1) when really it's testimony (#2) that interests them in the gospel. Information isn't a bad thing, but if that's all you give people, the results will be slim. Add testimony and you add the Holy Ghost. Think of this pattern: tell, testify, invite (or information, testimony, invitation). It's actually harder to give testimony than information because you're offering a part of yourself, and that vulnerability isn't all that comfortable at first, but in the long run, it will bring the converting power of the Spirit more than anything else you can do. And don't forget the invitation; telling and testifying without inviting is like savoring the delicious juice without offering to pour them a glass.

As an example, it's the difference between reciting the entire history of the Book of Mormon, including Bible verses from Ezekiel and John, and simply telling somebody, "I love the Book of Mormon. I feel so close to Heavenly Father when I read it, and I have found so many answers to my deepest questions from reading it. Also, I've prayed and asked God if it's really His word, if the information contained in it is really true, and I felt from the Holy Ghost that it really is true. I felt peace and joy, and whenever I read from this book, I just feel good, you know? That's why I wanted to give you this. I know you're skeptical, and if I were in your shoes, I'd probably be skeptical too, but please, just try it. Taste the goodness that I've tasted." Even in typed words, I'm sure you can feel the Spirit from that. (Also, you don't need to know all the "ingredients" to bear a simple and powerful testimony!) So, I invite you (see that -- invitation) to try this in your own missionary work. And if you have a "Preach My Gospel," go read the Brigham Young quote on page 199 to back up my words. :)

Alright, I love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Montgomery