Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pass downs and a Conference high

Another week has already flown by!! So crazy!! This week has seriously been so awesome!!! So before I get into the spiritual stuff I have to share some funny stuff!! This week half of our Zone is getting ready to leave to Hong Kong! They leave on Monday, which seriously sucks so bad! We have all had lumps in our throats this whole week because we all just want to cry that this is coming to an end! I have made so many lifelong friends since I have been here that I could not be dreading it anymore to say goodbye to them, but at the same time I am just so happy for them!! Anyways, so there is a little tradition here called "pass downs". Over the years at the MTC missionaries have left things behind as they go to their missions, and some of these things have been "passed down" from "generation to generation". So this week we had an absolute blast receiving some of the pass downs that came from missionaries before us! We spent an hour or so receiving all of these outrageous pass downs, but the very best pass down of all was given to Elder Q and I and it's a 4 inch thick foam mattress!!!! I slept on it last night and it was like I was sleeping on a memory foam mattress!!! UNBELIEVABLE!! Elder Q gets it tomorrow night and we are just going to switch off every night :)

So anyways, to the more important things!! This week was General Conference!! Holy cow it was so incredible! After Conference was over on Sunday I was trying to think of how I wanted to talk about everything and I figured the best way to do that would be to write down my thoughts and then just quote them to you later. So this is going to be weird but I am going to quote myself for a little while haha :) Here are the thoughts that I had and wrote down following Conference:

Wow! This has seriously been such an awesome experience! I think that if you compiled all of my notes from all of the General Conferences I have every watched, I would still have more notes from today! My hand has never hurt so bad! However the pain was well worth it! The Spirit has been so strong, and the Lord has blessed me with answers to a lot of the questions that I had going into Conference. So every talk that was given these past two days was amazing, but there are a few things that I would like to talk about! The thing that I really felt like the Lord was trying to tell me was that we need to Love and we need to Teach.

Obviously I am in missionary mode so I may be getting things that not a lot of other people got out of it, but I felt like this topic was in a great number of talks!! One thing that I have had a problem with is that when I try to teach others about the gospel- I force feed, and then I expect them to be able to feel the Spirit testify to them that what I just shoved in their face is true haha. This is NEVER how God intends His word to be taught to His children! God loves agency! This is our gift from God- given to us to choose as we will. God wants all of His children to come back and live with Him again someday, but it would completely go against everything that He said in the beginning if He told us what to do. We know that God does not go against His word because He says in the scriptures that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The thing that I realized is that God also expects us to let people have their agency!! He cannot give me the Spirit to relay the truthfulness of His message if I do not obey and respect one of life's greatest gifts! I really liked what Elder Richard G. Scott reminded me of. He said, "We all grow line upon line." Sometimes I forget that people will not have an unshakeable testimony over night!! It requires diligent scripture study and sincere prayers to our Heavenly Father over time, asking for help to understand the truth of what we are reading. I need to focus on helping to make the relationship between the people I am teaching and their Heavenly Father stronger than the relationship between them and I. I have been told today to have more faith in  my Heavenly Father! He will be able to touch hearts better than I will ever be able to, so I need to trust in Him and know that He has the power to change hearts. This does not mean, however, that I can just wait for investigators to fall right into my lap! I have to do what Elder Holland said and "stand up for what we believe in." That might not always be easy, but we will see blessings come from it! And second is we just have to love! This one I feel like is not very hard for me at all to do! Being here at the MTC, I have so much love for all of the people that are around me! I also think about the people that are at home! I wish that I could just share everything that I learn in here with everyone back home!

Well, to close I just want to share my testimony. I am so grateful for the knowledge that my Heavenly Father has given to me! I am so grateful and lucky that He trusted me with this wonderful message and the opportunity to go and share it with the people of Cambodia! I am so grateful for the courage of Joseph Smith. I know that he saw what he said he saw. I love what Elder Corbridge said about Joseph Smith. He explained that we will all have to decide if the Book of Mormon came from God or if it came from man. I encourage whoever reads this book to decide if it's the word of God or if it is the word of man. Elder Holland once said, "No evil man could write this book, and no good man would, unless it were true." I know that Joseph Smith was a man of God. I have received my own witness of that, and I have a firm testimony that anyone who truly desires that witness can receive it as well. Today is the exact day that Jesus Christ was born onto this Earth. Today is also that day that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was established back on the Earth. I know this is the true church! I am so grateful to have a prophet that leads and guides our church! I am so grateful for the power of the priesthood and the trust that God has in me, allowing me to use His sacred power to bless others! I know Christ lives and I cannot wait to go and share the good message with the Cambodian people. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Well, I guess today I'll echo the testimony of myself from last Sunday haha! I know this Church is true and I am so grateful to be a part of it! :) I love you all so very much! Thank you for all of your love and support and I cannot wait to talk to you all next week!! Twelve more days and I will be sending my letters from Cambodia!!! YA BUDDY!!!

Much love,
Elder Steadman :)

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