The past week has been full of progress and learning. We had a zone conference where we learned what we are made of individually. As the meeting started, President Slaughter told us that there weren’t words to explain what we would be learning that day. The best he could think of was that when an orange is squeezed, what comes out will be orange juice. He compared it to us as members of the Church and missionaries: when we are in confrontational situations or just teaching in general, what are we putting forth? The missionaries split off into groups where we did role plays of a variety of situations. I learned that often we have automatic responses to things when we should first think and be guided by the Spirit. For example, when someone tells us that Mormons aren’t Christian, usually our first response is to prove them wrong and say, “Yes we are.” Such a response just leads to arguing and we leave the presence of the Spirit. I learned that when interacting with others, it is not important to tell them what I know. I am here to help those around me increase their knowledge and come closer to Christ.
After the meeting Elder Vazquez and I went to stop by a potential investigator. A week ago this man told us that he just isn’t going to have time for the Mormons this year. We knocked on his door this night and when he answered he said it was not the best time. However, he wanted us to meet his wife. As we exchanged salutations he decided to let us in because it was cold outside. Often as missionaries we search for the needs of those with whom we come into contact. We are not good at it. We batter them with questions and pry at their lives searching for what they need to hear. After the zone conference, we learned instead that if we listen with love and care for the individual, what they need will be given us by the Spirit and by the friend we are talking to. Such was the case as Elder Vazquez and I spoke to this couple.
We were able to find out what mattered to them because they told us freely. We were able to teach the gospel and bear testimony based on what we were given. We were all able to be edified and strengthened by the Spirit that night and this couple readily invited us to return. I know that as we receive guidance and inspiration and act upon it, we will move forward in the Lord’s work.
Click the photo to watch the LDS Bible video “The Ten Virgins” Matthew Ch. 25
Recently the Church released another Bible video of Christ teaching the parable of the Ten Virgins. The oil in the lamps can be likened to our conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The five wise virgins tell us that we need to “buy for ourselves” the oil. Daily we accumulate oil of conversion as we read the scriptures, pray to God, do service, etc. However, are we buying our oil with pennies or with dollars? Reading the scriptures we gain drops of oil (we buy with pennies) and as we feast upon those words (2 Nephi 31:20), applying them to our lives we gain cups of oil (buying with dollars). As we pray, we express thanks for what we have received, we ask for things we need, and pray for blessings (pennies), but as we conclude our prayers as actively attempt to accomplish the work necessary to receive such blessings we gain buckets of oil (buying with dollars).
“I long have been impressed with the truth that meaningful prayer requires both holy communication and consecrated work. Blessings require some effort on our part before we can obtain them, and prayer, as ‘a form of work, …is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings’ (Bible Dictionary, “Prayer,” 753
). We press forward and persevere in the consecrated work of prayer, after we say ‘amen,’ by acting upon the things we have expressed to Heavenly Father. Asking in faith requires honesty, effort, commitment, and persistence.”
Blessings come as we actively work to receive them. We must go out and try to obtain them in order to demonstrate to the Lord our desires. As we act in faith we buy more oil for our lamps of testimony.
Daily accumulating oil, while important, is not our only responsibility. Just as the wise virgins we should remind those around us to go and buy for themselves. Reminding is best done through testimony. We are awaiting the arrival of Christ. Perhaps we are standing in the light and do not have the need to depend on our lamps to keep us safe. We are not going through immense trials, relying solely upon our faith and testimony to guide us to the next morn. In such fortunate circumstances, we can remind those around us by lighting our lamps or in other words, bearing our testimonies. As we put a little oil into our lamps, trim the wick, and let our light shine, it will inspire those around us to buy for themselves that they may also have such bright lamps. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16
I encourage everyone to let their lights shine, to bear their testimonies, to share truths that have changed your life, to share the Lord’s hand in your life, in order that we might help those around us have a desire to so buy for themselves.
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