So we walk into the gym for our normal Tuesday devotional and I’m minding my own business when one of the elders in my district asks, “Who’s tonight’s speaker?” Someone suggested Dallin H. Oaks but I was thinking differently. “We just had an apostle come last week! We’re not going to get another one!” Suddenly this kid in front of me turns around and in a super thick Texan accent says, “Have faith!” So I clasped my hands together, looked up into the heavens and said really fast, “I believe in Jesus! I believe in Jesus! I believe in Jesus!”
A couple minutes later, Dallin H. Oaks walked in.
Moral of the story: Believe in Jesus.
Before Elder Oaks spoke, his wife talked to us. She told us how, as missionaries, we needed to see “the picture.” Often times we focus on the smaller aspects of what we’re teaching. We need to remember that everything we believe in and teach is directed at one purpose: Jesus Christ. I really liked one of the comments she made when she said, “The Church is not just a nice way to live. It is the reason why we live.”
Elder Oaks spoke to us next. It was different than when Richard G. Scott spoke to us a week before. Elder Oak’s talk was more instructional, whereas with Elder Scott he repeatedly gave us his testimony throughout his talk. Elder Oaks didn’t do so much of that, but it was still really cool. He had some great advice for us as missionaries, first and foremost being the requirement of the Spirit when we teach. When we teach, it’s not so much our words that matter, rather whether we invite the Spirit. It’s the Spirit that testifies to the investigator that the message is true. He went on to say that “Nothing short of a testimony will bring light and knowledge to them.” If we don’t have a testimony of what we’re teaching, how can we expect to teach effectively? Not only that, but one of the most effective ways of inviting the Spirit is by bearing your testimony.
Among other things he talked about was the importance of Preach My Gospel. I have to admit, I didn’t like using it so much when I first got here, but I’ve been finding that it’s a HUGE HELP. Elder Hunter and I have prepared a few lessons with it and I think it’s great. It’s got some amazing scriptures and questions to go along with each topic–and the biggest thing is that it keeps things simple. There’s none of the over explaining that we tend to get ourselves into.
Speaking of lessons and preparing, Elder Hunter and I have gotten two new mock investigators. Yesterday when we met with one, we asked him if he had fulfilled his commitments to read Joseph Smith History and then pray about it afterwards. He said he read and prayed but he didn’t pray to know the truth of the Joseph Smith’s story. He didn’t quite understand the commitment. It was really really cool because we started explaining it to him. He asked some questions like “Why is it important to know that the Book of Mormon is true?” and “How do I get an answer–what does it feel like?” Elder Hunter and I flipped through several scriptures, right on the spot (in French, of course) and taught him through the scriptures. It was crazy because it wasn’t like it was planned, but the scriptures just came to us and he understood everything we were saying. I was surprised that I was able to do that in French! It’s definitely coming along. I’ve still got loads to work on, but I’m just really surprised by how much I already know in four weeks.
Also, Elder Ryan Garrison should be leaving today. He was supposed to be leaving yesterday. I went and saw him right before he left to the airport–I thought that would be the last time I’d see him. And suddenly he was at dinner that night! I guess they had two flights to catch but the first came late so they couldn’t make their second one. So now they’re going today! Anyway, he’s off to Argentina–crazy to think!
Annnnd, we heard the news about Osama bin Laden. Although we heard it late! We got our mail after dinner and one of the elders shouted, “THEY KILLED OSAMA BIN LADEN!” And then when I got to the end of my letter from my mom, I read the news. Everyone else at the MTC seemed to already know, though. Anyway–that’s so crazy! I really wish I could read a newspaper or something right now. But a lot of people were pretty happy last night. There was much eating of celebration brownies…
And last, I saw that I got put in the acknowledgments of my friend’s book, Max Quick: The Pocket and the Pendant. That’s seriously SO COOL!!! I’ve never been in the acknowledgments of a book before! Thanks, Mark! I think his book just came out a few days ago. It’s a Middle Grade/YA read that I highly suggest. Go get it, it’s one of my favorites! :) Max Quick: The Pocket and the Pendant by Mark Jeffrey.
Anyway, that’s all I have time for. We’ll see who comes for the devotional tonight. Rumor is that President Monson will be coming soon. Him or Jesus.
~ Elder Saul Marquez
P.S. – We watched Elder Oaks leave. He didn’t have a limo or anything like we expected haha. He drives a little white car!