Monday, April 30, 2012

Week 11 Zazraky!

Happy Sestra Pyšňáková

Draha Rodino! [note: Dear family]

This week has been a week of MIRACLES!! Sister Brimhall and I always talk about what we're going to write home when we are on our way to the internet cafe and today we were just amazed at the many amazing experiences we have had.

On Tuesday we had an amazing lesson with our investigator that has a new baptismal date and is planning on getting baptized at the end of May. We were teaching him Evangelium Jezise Krista [note: Gospel of Jesus Christ] with a member, when Pavla (our recent convert) knocked on the door and asked if she could be there with us. She loves teaching with us and it was an AMAZING lesson with her and the other member Vasek who recently returned home from a mission to Scotland. As we taught about baptism, our investigator asked us lots of questions and asked about the baptismal font. When he found out we had one in the building he got so excited and wanted to see it. After the lesson we went to show him. He got the biggest smile on his face and it just lit up like a light-bulb. Pavla got so excited to show him everything since of course she was baptized a few weeks ago. She was hopping around in the font talking to him about it. I'm not sure who was most excited, he, Pavla, or us. It was really neat. It DOES bring happiness when we want to follow priklad Jezise Krista [note: example of Jesus Christ].

Also, we arranged for our investigator to go to church in Trebic. Apparently there is a branch there that is closer to where he lives than either Jihlava or Brno. We made lots of calls and stuff, but arranged for a member family who lives in his village to take him to church! We called him yesterday to see how it went and he said it was great! We are so happy for him! He loves it!

Also, something I learned this week after a lesson with one of our investigators is how key the Book of Mormon is. She hasn't been reading in the Book of Mormon very much, actually like not at all, and because of it she hasn't made much progress. I've realized that reading from the Book of Mormon and pondering the words is directly related to an investigator's progression. The more investigators get into the Book of Mormon, the more they progress. It's amazing! It has made me realize just how important the Book of Mormon is for each of us, not just for investigators. If we want to progress and come to know Christ, we better be using that book. We better love reading it. We better ponder those words and apply them. Because the scary thing is that investigators who drop, stopped reading in the Book of Mormon, didn't pray about it, or didn't take it seriously. There's a lot of stuff going on in the world. If we want to keep our testimonies strong, if we want to stand unwavering in our testimony of Christ and his restored gospel, we better take the Book of Mormon as our guide.

Now, for this final experience, I have to go back to a few weeks ago. We had a lesson with Pavla after she was baptized and we were going over the Word of Wisdom. Her sister had said some things about the Word of Wisdom that Pavla was wondering about, and we were trying to answer and address her concerns. The Spirit wasn't really there though and it's hard to teach when the Spirit isn't there. I can't remember exactly what we said, maybe something about it coming down to knowing whether Joseph Smith was a prophet or not, but the conversation shifted into prophets. Pavla asked if these latter-day prophets had seen Jesus Christ. I shared with her Lorenzo Snow's experience of seeing Jesus Christ in the Salt Lake Temple and man it was like someone turned on a 1000 watt light bulb in a pitch black room. The Spirit was suddenly there with such force it blew me away. It was electrifying! It hit me hard as I realized what we had done wrong earlier. We hadn't talked about Christ. Christ is the center of our message so we should always be connecting back to Him. It was an amazing testimony to me that I should talk about Christ more in my contacts, in our lessons etc.

Well fast forward a few weeks. We had companionship study, Sister Brimhall and I, one morning. We took a Check your progress assessment from the new 12 week training program for new missionaries. It's a program that was just implemented, maybe 3 transfers ago I think, so it's brand new. Anyways, we took this assessment to see how we're doing in different aspects of missionary work. We went through it after to see how we had answered. Everything was on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best. We realized that we both had given ourselves a lower score on "I seek to help other strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ as I teach" and "My investigators understand my role in helping them receive the blessings of the gospel and of the atonement of Jesus Christ." We both felt that we need to be more focused on Christ in every lesson we teach and on his atonement. As we talked about this, the spirit was really strong. I heard in the MTC that during these hours of study we have in the morning as missionaries, that that is the time we are the Lord's investigators. I definitely felt that way this particular morning as we began to be taught by the Spirit about the importance of Christ and His atonement. We watched a short video clip (yes, we have a DVD player in our apartment for training purposes) from a talk by Elder Perry on the atonement. We realized that everything we teach our investigators, everything we ask them to do is to help them unlock the power of the atonement in their lives.

As we dug deeper into this concept, we talked about how to incorporate Christ's atonement as we taught him the Word of Wisdom. We discussed some thing, but then I prayed in my heart for Heavenly Father to help us learn more. Then it clicked! We are told in the scriptures that the only way back to God's presence is by relying completely on Christ's atonement. And in Alma 7 we learn that the atonement wasn't just for sin, but also for every pain and sickness and trial we face in mortality. So how does it relate to the Word of Wisdom? Well people get tired so they have to have their coffee every morning. They are sad, depressed, tired, upset so they turn to drugs and alcohol. But those things provide temporary satisfaction.  The Word of Wisdom tells us to avoid those things, and by avoiding those things we can rely on the atonement more. See Satan is super clever. He tricks people into turning to substances to be healed rather than to the Savior to be healed through His atonement. And it isn't just those harmful addicting substances that people turn to, but other things. We need to remember that the Savior's atonement has the power to heal and satisfy, provide strength and happiness no matter what we are facing. It's amazing!

Well I hope that makes sense. Those are just some of the thoughts that I had. But anyways after this amazing companion study Sister Brimhall and I were on fire. We went out contacting on the Namesti [note: City Square] a couple hours later. We were headed to what we call "light bulb" street to contact when Sister Brimhall suggested we go a different away, kind of around the outside of the Namesti. We did and contacted a few people on the street unsuccessfully, and then we saw a man that looked like he was about in his 40s. We started talking to him and introduced ourselves etc. He said that he wasn't a good man. He said he had done so many mistakes in his life. He said he hadn't lived a good life, made lots of mistakes, and that he didn't think he could change. Can you just picture this moment?! Sister Brimhall and I were on fire from our study of the atonement this morning and as soon as we heard this we just testified that he could change, that Jesus Christ provided that way through his atonement, and that it would take effort on his part, but that he could repent and change. We invited him to begin this change by coming to church on Sunday. As we talked with him, thinking of the miracle it was that we had been so prepared for this contact, when I felt how much Heavenly Father loved this man. I realized that this is Heavenly Father's son and he wants him to return home to him. I realized that Heavenly Father was inviting this man to change, through us. It was amazing. I felt the reality of the atonement. I knew everything we were telling that man was true. And you know what, that man came to church yesterday.  We have a lesson set up with him this week. Yes we can all change! It's because of Christ that we can change! I know that!

Well, I need to go. I love you all so so much. Thank you all for your emails and letters. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission. I love it! I am so blessed! I know Jesus Christ lives and is the center of our message. Through Him we can find true joy and peace in this life and return to live with our Heavenly Father. It's an incredibly simple message and yet so deep and profound. I love you all!

Love, Sestra Melissa Pysnakova

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