Monday, April 7, 2014

Fwd: Letter #53 - 4/7/14

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 7:05 AM
Subject: Letter #53 - 4/7/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Dear friends and family,

Hello! First off, though I haven't had the chance to watch conference yet, I did hear about one incredible talk. It was called "The Sustaining of Church Officers" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, and during it, JORG KLEBINGAT was sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy! That's my mission president! He was even super sneaky about it (I think the proper word is "confidential") and told us all that he and Sister Klebingat were taking a "family time" vacation somewhere, when really he was just sitting on the stand during general conference! That being said, I feel the need to write you what I just wrote him about hearing that news:

Since it's related to my missionary work now, I wanted to share with you my thoughts when I heard about your new calling to the Seventy. Sunday morning I was pondering about callings, since I've noticed that many people have a pride problem with aspiring to callings in the church and feeling less-than-happy when they're not chosen for a certain position. And then I get that text about you being called to the Seventy. After the shock wore off, I realized that my joyful reaction to it was in and of itself prideful: I imagined telling my friends and family now and in future occasions about how I got to serve under Jorg Klebingat during my mission, as if that connection to "fame" somehow that made me special or better than others. I decided to push that "natural man" thought out of my mind and replace it with how the Lord would have me respond, and I came up with the following: I feel honored that I have been able to serve under and learn from someone who is worthy to lead the Lord's Church in the capacity of a Seventy. I am grateful that the Church is led by such incredible men. I'm happy for President Klebingat because I know how much he loves the Lord, and now he can serve Him even more fully. I'm grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ which can turn a regular German teen convert into a General Authority just a few decades later, and which can also turn me into whoever God needs me to be in this life. :) I'm so happy for you and will continue to pray diligently for you... I hope you can still stay until July!

So yeah, I'm hoping they'll probably finish their missions before President McGhie takes his place in July, and then he'll take off to Salt Lake or wherever the Church sends him. What a great man. Oh, and he's even already got his professional General Authority photo and profile here. :)

Things are slowly but surely moving forward here in Vinogradar. We taught a Plan of Salvation lesson to a nice young man (30 yr. old) named Evgeni who I met at a bus stop, and I hope we'll be teaching a family this week who we met in a park. We also had a very spiritual phone call lesson with a man named Igor. I wrote about him way back in Letter #41, and we kept in contact by telephone ever since because he's been in eastern Ukraine visiting family (he comes back to Kiev soon). He's been eager to talk about spiritual things with us, and the first thing he wanted on our phone call was to hear how the gospel has blessed Sister Parish's life (since he hadn't had the chance to meet her or ask that before). He also remembered us talking about the temple with him, and he wanted to know what he needed to do to be able to go into the Kiev temple. We read some of the Book of Mormon with him, but he didn't have his copy with him because it was so good he lent it to a friend to read. And (maybe the coolest part), he told us about a dream he had awhile ago in which the Lord told him, "Keep moving forward and you'll find the truth." He is absolutely thirsting for the truth, and the Lord has totally prepared him to receive the message of the restored gospel. I hope he gets back to Kiev soon; I'm almost positive that he's going to get baptized.

My spiritual thought today is brought to you by a member of my ward, Marina, who told this story in Relief Society. It was absolutely an answer to my fast, since I was seeking direction about what to do in the face of the adversity that's starting to appear in our area. Here's the story:

Once upon a time, there was a man who wanted to become closer to God, so he prayed and asked, "Heavenly Father, what would You have me do?" God told him that there was a boulder in the forest by his home, and that he should go and push that boulder. And so that man went, every day, and pushed the boulder. He pushed and pushed and pushed, but it never budged. People watched him as he went there and returned, back and forth, and they laughed and told him he was a fool. After a few months of pushing the boulder and seeing no results, he went to God in prayer again and said, "Heavenly Father, I have done exactly what You've told me to do, and the boulder hasn't moved an inch. I've done all I can, but nothing has happened!" But then God said to the man, "What do you mean 'nothing has happened'? Look at your arms and your legs, your neck and your back -- how much stronger they all are. I never told you to move the rock, I only told you to push it, and to push it with all your might. Now that you have done that, I will move the rock myself."

The lesson there is obvious and very applicable, and I'm so grateful that the Lord answered my prayers through this story. Keep moving forward in the faith -- we're all getting stronger, and the Lord will always move the rocks in our lives in the best way and timing possible.

Love you all!
Sister Montgomery