Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Tiny Seed Needs Sunlight and Water

Hola Hermanos y Hermanas! Hello brothers and Sisters!

What an amazing week! I have grown so much. Some of the changes I have had to make in my life have been particularly difficult, but I know I am becoming who God wants me to be.

District Elders being silly
Last week we learned in class some new ways to teach more effectively. We have to back up the scriptures with our testimonies, not back up our words with the scriptures. It makes sense, but it's much harder than one would think. However, it makes a tremendous difference because God's words are always better than ours. We are also learning how to ask inspired questions that invite investigators to think deeply. No more "how do you feel?" and "what do you think?" By asking inspired questions and using the scriptures to answer doubts rather than trying to explain what we think, we invite investigators to answer their own questions. I know that this way to teach invites the Holy Ghost, which is the ultimate teacher.
Scatter Sunshine all along your way... Every passing day!
I was released from my assignment as district leader this past week so another Elder could experience what it is like. We learn so much in leadership positions. My favorite thing I got to do as a district leader was interview other Elders in the district about their progress and their relationships with their companions. It was so cool to hear each of their testimonies about how God is helping each of them to become better. Whenever there were issues between companions, it was incredible to see how just talking with the other companion made up the difference. I know that when you have a problem between you and another person, you can resolve it if you just have a brief "companionship inventory." Discuss strengths of the relationship and of each other. Then say "you can be even more effective if you..." I know that this builds me up and I have seen it mend relationships. So cool!
Our District Mission tags
This last Sunday, my companion and I were assigned as the new Zone leaders. Wow! This means we now serve 4 districts. God is teaching us how to lead and it is difficult and exciting! It is particularly difficult for me because I am a sit-back-and-observe kind of person. I am also learning how to lead in a way that those I lead will feel loved and also want to do what is right. I am not very good at it, but I look to Jesus Christ, who is our perfect example of a leader. I will continue to pray for God's help and guidance.
I am trying to learn how God talks to me. I am learning that when I am humble, God can teach me. I struggle to find a balance between seriousness and fun so that I can hear and feel the Holy Ghost always. It is hard.
Elder Maisey and I got to teach a special lesson this week. The MTC staff connected us to a member of the church in Argentina! That was so exciting! We could hardly understand her because the connection was poor and she spoke Spanish so fast, but we learned that she has a two year old daughter and that her husband joined the church a few years before they were married. Wow! After seeing the light of Jesus Christ in her eyes, I can't wait to go to Argentina! We invited her to share her love of Christ's gospel with someone she knows that needs it. I would also challenge each of you to do this. Remember how grateful you are for Jesus Christ, who died to save us. Go tell someone how much you love Him and how much he loves them. You can change lives!
Most of the Elders in my Zone (The one smiling was the preivous Zone leader. He is an amazing example to me of a leader who helps everyone feel loved and also encourages them to do their best)

Our district had an English fast this past Tuesday. We tried to only use Spanish throughout the day. It was hard, but I know my Spanish was strengthened. I would recommend not doing this very much because we couldn't speak very much and I felt less effective because of this. Even still, it really strengthened my Spanish and humbled me.
Yesterday, we shared our last lesson with our investigator Diana. It was really hard to say goodbye because I have felt the spirit so strongly in our lessons with her. She is amazing and wants to learn more. After our lesson, we talked to someone who watched our lesson remotely with her, and she showed us some notes Diana had been taking of our lessons with her. She said that she had felt happy and peaceful when we prayed with her and that because of this, she wanted to pray more to receive answers from God. Wow! That is why I am on my mission. I am hear to invite all to come to Christ, through faith repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
I invite each of you to pray to God tonight. He is your Heavenly Father and he loves you. He will answer your prayer with peace. Begin by addressing Him. Then have a conversation with Him. Tell Him what you are grateful for and what you need. Ask Him questions. Then close your prayer "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." He will answer. You may not hear words, but you will feel His love for you. You will have His peace. This is my testimony to you.

I love you all!
Elder Cloward

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