Dear Friends and Family,
Monday comes faster than bullets these days. I have had another great week this weak, perhaps one of the most challenging of my mission. My mind has never been so restless. It is hard to put into words how I feel but I have observed some things about myself in this last week that I feel the spirit is direcly communicating. I have never had my strengths and weaknesses so apparent to me as they are now. There is so much information to digest in the field and so much expected of you that you really come to a point where you have to pick and choose what you 'really' can do and what will be impossible without the help of others and God. I feel that I have 'over-extended' myself, and towards the end of the week I was feeling so overwhelmed. I asked Heavenly Father many times this week what it is that He really expects of me and how I can get away from being so stressed. My nieghbor across the street was laughing at me saying "Prince, I feel so bad for you. You always have your game face on!". I admit to you all that one of my weaknesses is taking myself to seriously and thinking to much.
In my head, when I first came out I thought to have sucess you had to be the best, I am learning more and more that competing is contrary to what Jesus taught. I realize now that all we must do is magnify our talents, and rely on the Lord where we lack, if not so, why would we need God? I admit to you all that I have made a very prideful mistake early in my mission thinking that I can do it all. So this week I am working towards getting back to who I feel I really am, that is a lover of God, a lover His work, and not a lover of myself and my own work. Attitude is everything. I cant tell you how many times that statement has been said in my mind this week.
I learned an acronym that really changed me while I was out on the street contacting this week. My companion and I were talking to a man about what it means to be carnally minded and my companion shared a scripture in 2 Nephi in which Nephi states " to be Spiritually Minded Is Life Eternal"- SMILE. This simple act can allow the spirit to enter our beings, the weight of our burdens to be lifted and the thoughts of our minds to be shifted. I had the impression early on in my mission with Elder Martinez that I needed to smile more and for some time I was doing great at it but it slipped my mind for a little while and this week it seemed as though all the teaching appointments I had someone again mentioned the power of smiling, so that is my goal this week. If we look for things to smile about we will find them, and there is always someone or something that you havent smiled about, know that when the work seems drudgerous I smile for you all.
I think of you individually when I wonder if the Lord is on my side, I reflect on what you all did in getting me here and it hits me, of course the Lord is on my side, look what he has given me. A less active member of our ward said something to me that has given me reason to smile all week. She said "Elder Prince, I know that the Lord sent you here, there has been a different light ever since you walked in my door 2 months ago". I have loved working with the less actives perhaps more than anything else on my mission. I have been shocked to teach less actives and recent converts who really have zero to little knowledge of the Gospel, it creates a bitter sweet feeling in me as I consider the missionaries who taught them previously who baptized them despite them lacking such simple knowledge as the Plan of Savation, the Restoration or other fundemental principles of our church. I'm disappointed to a degree but also grateful now that I have the opportunity to teach them. I dont feel right about baptizing anyone without a basic knowledge.
The work wit the war members continues to go great. We have a lesson in a members home last night with a 16 year old investigator and it went great. The boys name is Ben Kleidman, he is so bright and comprehends the things that we teach him so well it is as if it isnt real. We are teaching him more this week and are so excited. We have 5 progressing investigators right now and 4 of them came to church on Sunday! I am hoping and parying all continues to go well with them all.
Elder Sumsion and I also reached our goal of teaching 20 lessons! It was probably the most successful week of my mission. The I really experienced so much emotionally this week that I feel grateful to be calm writing this letter. I had a day where I contacted for 6 hours because my bike broke! My feet were pretty sore! One night this week, Elder Sumsion and I were teaching a Rastafarian man, this guy was puffing his marijuana right in our face and telling us all manner of sophistry, then a group of 4 white kids about my age came up and started to be interested in our converstion. The Rasta kept telling them all manner of things about Nature and God that seemed to be goind in circles without point. He began to sa how marijuana was a way to commune with the spirit and how it invites the spirit of God to be with you. At about that moment I asked the gathered group if I could share the scriptures with them. They all nodded yes and without thinking I flipped open to 2 Nephi where Nephi is quoting the words of Isaiah to his brothers. I begn to tell them about how in the last days men will call good evil and evil good, and shall place darkness for light and light for darkness. I then bore simple testimony to them that I was just a weak and simple young man from Utah with a message of truth, and then I bore testimony that Christ lives and is the Savior of the world. The spirit was so strong, I could feel it in my whole body. It was silent when I finished, where as before it was some-what loud conversation. I then asked "Would anyone like a Book of Mormon?", emmediatley one of the young men reached out his hand and hastly said "I do!" I gave it to him quickly and then one girl behind him shyly said "Could I have one too?". I wanted to share that with you all because it was the highlight of my week.
The power of testimony is not in the one who bears it, but in the One who confirms it. I want to bear you my own testimony ans start with the words found in 'Amazing Grace", once I was lost, and now I am found. I used to be that man who let the lying spirit distort my thinking. Strong drink, marijuana, poor thinking mantality, gossiping and loving the flesh is in my plain view every day and it destroys my area of East Cleveland. I know that Christ is the only answer to the ills of society. I know that He lives.
I'm so thankful for those who have helped me see.
I love you.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
- Elder Prince