Monday, June 6, 2011

Durham Update

I was reminded last night that I haven't updated Elder Casper's blog lately, so here are a few letter excerpts--

May 31, 2011--

It seems like our teaching pool has pretty much dried up. We've tried to keep adding new investigators every week, but we haven't found any the last couple weeks. We've found some really good potential investigators, but we haven't been able to get up with them and teach them yet. We've been discussing what we can do in order to find more people in our companionship studies. We decided that we need to try and find community service opportunities, seek the Spirit's guidance more in finding, and do a better job of talking with everyone. The people that we have found have not been elect. They've been willing to listen, but they haven't been willing to act. So we're trying to find other ones. It's definitely been testing our patience, but we have faith that the Lord will reward us according to our desires...

In response to what I have learned about the Atonement - I think I've got a lot more I need to learn about it! I truly am more grateful for it now than I was before my mission. I have felt divine comfort, guidance, and strength come to me at different points during my mission, and I know that was due to the Atonement. Let me tell you about something that really jumped out to me this last week. I came out on my mission because I felt it was something God wanted me to do, and it was my duty. Those thoughts have definitely been a motivating factor for me, and I couldn't have made it through my mission without knowing those things. I've always thought, though, that at the end of my mission I would want my motivation to be love for people, that I would want them to experience the same blessings of the gospel I've received. That is definitely true, but I realized it goes deeper than that. At the end of my mission, my motivation should be gratitude for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I would want to have felt without a shadow of a doubt that I had truly been forgiven of every mistake I've ever made, and have no guilt whatsoever. I would want to help the people I teach feel the same way, and understand the basic principles of the gospel. That way, they could experience true conversion, not just a social conversion. They need to understand the Atonement, or else they will have missed the whole point of what the Church is about! The Church isn't about FHE, or family history, or mutual, or Sunday school, or anything like that. It's about coming unto Christ so you can become clean from sin...

To answer your question about the weather - it is getting very warm. Actually, quite hot. It is supposed to get up to 98 degrees today, which is pretty good when you get that humidity in there. Is it bizarre that I actually love these humid summers here? Elder Koplin hates it and loves the winter, while I'm the exact opposite. One thing for sure, Washington will seem like cake compared to this!

Dad, I am really looking forward to helping teach you and being taught by you this summer. And Mom too. Why don't we set a goal to have family scripture study every day (including Sundays) this summer? I have improved much in the area of cleanliness, but it's still not an easy thing for me. I was thinking a little bit about the different qualities and attributes each of us have. Some of my glaring weaknesses are strengths to some people. Some of their weaknesses I am strong at. It's so great to have family and friends that we can help and that can help us.

June 6, 2011

We were able to find a couple of really neat people this week. We started teaching a 15-year old named C. He's surprisingly spiritual, considering his age and background. Our ward mission leader came with us to teach him, and he seems like he could really have some potential. We haven't been able to get up with him since then though, because he doesn't have a phone.

We also were finally able to teach M. M is someone we first talked to 7 weeks ago, when we first got to Durham. He's originally from Guatemala, and has an uncle who's a member of the church there. He used to meet with the missionaries in Raleigh, and I think he went to church a couple of times. He told us he used to enjoy meeting with the missionaries once a week. He said he would be baptized if he found out that it was true. We weren't able to set a return appointment because he didn't have his work schedule yet, so he's not officially a new investigator. We are excited for him though.

We didn't teach K this week, but we were able to visit with him briefly. He told us he would like to come to church again. We asked him if it would be ok if a member of a member of the church called him to arrange a ride, and he said yes. So our assistant ward mission leader called, and he and our ward mission leader helped get him to church. It was great, and church was amazing. The gospel principles lesson was on baptism, and I think it really made him think.

The work is still being fairly slow here, and we're trying to get a good teaching pool. We're slowly making progress though. The ward here is still amazing and gives us a lot of support...

I had a little paragraph written about what I've learned about repentance, but I forgot to bring it. Let me try and do this on the fly though. I've learned that repentance is the way we become truly clean and guilt-free. We cannot attain true peace of conscience until we repent. True repentance involves true sorrow and pain. Repentance is entirely up to us, and receiving baptism and the Holy Ghost are consequences that naturally follow repentance.

Thanks for asking about the goals! We've been working on the service situation. I need to put more effort into talking to everyone and seeking the spirit more! Thanks for reminding me...

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