This week was a great week working with less-active members! One of the things I get to do as a missionary is not only teach people who are not members of the church about Jesus Christ and His Gospel, but I also get to work with people who are already members of the church who may be struggling with various aspects of their faith and/or testimony. I LOVE working with these members of the church because they all have at least a small testimony of God and it's my job to help them find that faith again and help them strengthen their relationship with God. We visit with one man, Eddie, from Iraq, who has been through a lot of really hard trials recently in his life. My companion and I have been visiting with him for about one month and he has gotten so much better in this short time! He went from being extremely depressed to where he is now; smiling, laughing, sharing more about his life with us, and he came to church this past week!! Not only that, but he was having a great time and cracked a few jokes with people in Sunday school! After church he expressed that he really wants to quit smoking and clean himself up in the Lord's eyes! It's incredible how much one man can change by simply realizing how much God loves you and cares about you. I am so proud of this man for the changes he has been making and the blessings he's received from our loving Father in Heaven as a result are simply incredible.
Being a missionary for the Lord is one of the greatest blessings I've been lucky enough to be apart of. Miracles are a daily occurrance and I'm learning so much about every aspect of life. We are all litterally children of our Heavenly Father and God loves each and every one of his children. Even when times get tough, don't give up! God is there to help, all you have to do is ask. My invitation for you this week is exactly that, pray to God during the week and find out for yourself if he is there. I promise you that if you ask with a sincere heart, truly wanting to know if God is there, he will answer you. God answers all prayers in his own time, but he does answer. Never doubt your faith in Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven!
The sweetest letter from Nick's Bishop in Bankstown
Thank you so much Sis Macfarlane for providing us with his blog details as he has become an integral part of our family; in fact we consider him one of our own.
We miss him but were grateful to have had the opportunity to see him again during the weekend while attending the General Conference broadcast at our stake center. My mother adores him and always asks for him. She isn't a member (yet) of this gospel we love and she has always avoided the missionaries since I was baptized in 2003, but a miracle entered into our lives and my mother established a great love for Elder Macfarlane.
Although Elder Macfarlane left despite my mother not being baptized, he will always be the miracle that helped my mother open her heart to the gospel of Jesus Christ. For that I will always be grateful to him and have a great love for my brother Elder Macfarlane.
This week has been good. We're really working hard to try and find new people to teach. We ride the trains for a couple hours most days for the purpose of talking to people and trying to find people to share the gospel with. We've had a few cool experiences where we meet someone who is super nice to talk to about religion, but no one has accepted to meet with us to really learn more yet. But we will keep searching! I know the Lord is preparing people all over the world to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and it's my job to go and find them! We try to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost on where to go and who to talk to as much as possible. Even on days when we don't get anyone interested in talking about Christ, we still meet heaps of great people everyday and are hopefully planting a seed for them that one day can grow into a true love for our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I'm continuing to learn about the new area I'm in, Mortdale, with my new companion Elder Anderson. It's been tough since there wasn't a whole lot going for the area before we came in, but it is definitely improving. Elder Anderson is the man and doing a great job training me as a zone leader, or at least I think he's doing well... I don't really have anyone to compare him to. But regardless, he's the man! :) He has a great attitude for doing missionary work and I'm learning so much from him. Hopefully we'll be companions for a while so he can keep teaching me how to be a better missionary!
Actually, being a zone leader is a pretty cool calling. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's one of the "highest" callings as a missionary. I want to be careful saying "highest" because I'm no better than any of the other missionaries serving right now, I'm just put in charge, along with my companion, of about 20 missionaries in our Zone and are given a few more responsibilities. There are about 16 Zone Leaders in the Australia Sydney South Mission, which has 210 missionaries or something close to that. It's really just a great opportunity for me to serve the missionaries that I get the priviledge to serve around.
This upcoming week is General Conference! Well actually it was last weekend, but Australia is about a day off so we watch it the following week. General Conference is a super cool opportunity where the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, as well as the other leaders of the church speak to the entire world about various topics. I love general conference because it's a great opportunity for us to find out if there really is a prophet of God on the earth today. You can just feel the truth of the words that these men speak about Jesus Christ and his gospel. If you are able, you should absolutely watch it! Most of you reading this are in America so it's already been broadcasted, however you can go online and watch it on lds.org anytime you want! :) There will be talks given about topics like Faith, Repentence, Baptism, the Holy Ghost, Enduring to the End, Family History work, Families can be together for ever, and much more!
This is my invitation for everyone this week! Go and watch AT LEAST one talk from general conference this week. There are about 10 hours of talks you can choose from. I promise you that it can help you improve you life if you listen and apply what you learn. I haven't gotten the chance to watch one yet, but I'll let you know how it was next week in my letter and maybe talk about some highlights :)
I love you all, have a great week!
Nick and the senior missionaries that headed home, The McAra's
His roommates, Elder Roberts and Elder White
Nick's new companion, Elder Anderson, from Canada
Nick was born in Florida and grew up in Minnesota-love the signs!