This week continued to be busy from Tuesday night!
Wednesday: I drove to Mount Vernon with the Zone Leaders to have my monthly stewardship interview with President Birch. I love that man! He is amazing!
Thursday: I going to be honest. I don't remember what happened Thursday haha I know we saw a few people but that is all I know.
Friday: We did farm day at the Welkers. Elder Decker broke one of their truck back windows when we were throwing wood in the back. It was super bad but funny! It got fixed that night so that was good! We stacked wood! I feel like a red neck now stackin wood! Then we say a few families.
Saturday: Saturday was long but wonderful! Saturday afternoon I had a Bishops Welfare Meeting. I learned a lot. Also I am not the only new bishop/branch president which was nice. A bishop was just called last week so I actually was able to answer some of his questions! It was a great meeting where we got training on how to minister the Lord's consecrated funds. Then we had the Priesthood Leadership meeting. It was wonderful! I got even more excited about family history! I learned something this past weekend in that meeting. What is the work of the Lord the Lord is referring to when he says I will hasten my work (D&C 88:73)? Many members would say missionary work. Temple workers and family history addicts (my grandparents on both sides) would say temple and family history work. Well it is more than all three of those. We find the answer in Handbook 2 in the beginning paragraphs of chapter 5. It is the work of salvation. The work of salvation has 5 parts according to the handbook. They are 1. missionary work 2.convert retention 3. activation of less-active members 4. temple and family history work and 5. teaching the gospel. This helped me a lot this week. Lately I have had the internal struggle between doing branch president work and doing missionary work. But it should be the same work! It is all the work of salvation.Then we had the adult session. President Birch is amazing! He talked about how easy it is to invite. Inviting is all we are asked to do as being missionaries. Well in the middle of his talk he told of how he invited a co-worker to go with he and his wife to the YSA ward in Columbus last Sunday. She went. Then he told of how he invited her to the meeting tonight. And she was there. Then he invited her to the pulpit with him! There was a good 500 people there. He asked her questions that she already knew he was going to ask. They were questions about how she felt about the invitations and how she felt during and after church. She knew the questions but he did not know how she was going to answer! That is crazy! Then he invited her to read the Book of Mormon in front of everyone! She accepted and stayed for the rest of the meeting. If President Birch can do it so can you! We got home at 11:15ish that night so that was fun
Sunday: We had the Sunday meeting! It much like the Saturday sessions were spirit filled! How can you not love stake conference! The work of the Lord is hastening!
Here is the gospel insight for the day that I sent to my dad. It is a little scatter brained. In Ephesians 5:8 it says, "Walk as children of light" What I love is that light is a word that can be interchanged for many words. If Christ is the light we can say "Walk as children of Christ". That phrase is difficult for some people to understand , Children of Christ I thought we were children of God? Well we are and we learn about this in the Book of Mormon, "And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters" (Mosiah 5:7) Another reference to it is Mormon 7:19, "Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethern, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ." There are other references to Child or children of Christ but these are the useful ones. We see in King Benjamin's sermon that to become children of Christ we must take on a covenant to change and repent. That covenant is the baptismal covenant. We become children of Christ or Children of light according to Ephesians by being baptized by the proper priesthood power. Therefore light is change. Light represents repentance. The footnote under light in Ephesians 5:8 is Romans 12: 2 that says," be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind". The foot note under transformed is coincidentally Ephesians 5:8. It is amazing! If light is change we could say we are children of change or children of repentance. We could even say that we are children of the Atonement. Because as King Benjamin taught "becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and become a child" The only way we can change and become a child in the spiritual term is to utilize the Atonement. Therefore the Atonement is also light.
I am doing pretty good! It has been a long week! But who needs sleep anyways. My head is full of thoughts and things so I will just share with you whatever comes to mind. So prepare for it to be pretty scattered. I usually would be emailing tomorrow but I have a meeting in Columbus that will take a decent portion of my p-day so I got permission to email today.
It has been a great week! We got another companion. It is kind of fun being out here in Coshocton. With the responsibilities we have being in a tripanionship helps a lot. While I am in meetings I am on splits with a counselor while the other two can do work within the area. It is great. So we got Elder Blanch. He is from Alaska. He is a great kid! We have been having all sorts of fun together. I think counting the MTC he makes 21 companions so far. At this rate I will have more companions there are are months in my mission. So transfers are this week and we are hoping to keep Elder Blanch.
Being a Branch President has had its ups and downs. It is amazing to me how someone can be a bishop and have a full time job. Right now I feel like there is no way to do that. We plan our day out the night before and then the calls roll in the morning and our plans change. It has been anywhere from helping a member with trees that fell down in his yard, meeting with people for callings, helping members with food orders, to ministering to others through the priesthood. But ALL of it are grateful opportunities the Lord has given me. I have been really reflecting this past week on the grand opportunities the Lord has given. How many missionaries can say that they were assigned one place and among a crazy turn of events, the Lord touches the heart of the missionary and his mission president concerning reassignment. And among many attempts it finally is given to the Apostles for a decision. I have been blessed with the opportunities of leadership in some many ways. I have sat and talked with the Amish Saints that were discussed in Sunday nights CES fireside. Boy is there faith strong! I have heard their testimonies many times in the past 18 months. One monumental, life changing experience for me was about a year ago. We were in the room where they have church. As I sat with 30 other missionaries in a leadership council. At the very end the 3 couples came to the front and each bore a solemn, strong witness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. As I sat with tears running down my face I realized that the sacrifices the Lord has asked me to make is no where compared to the sacrifices they made. But even more important to me was the added strength their testimonies of the Restored Church of Christ added to my testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel. I have taught with my mission President on many occasions. One time I was teaching by music the restoration and atonement of Jesus Christ while President Nilsen taught by words to a congregation of a small church in a small town of Ohio. I have had the opportunity of ministering to the saints in Ohio with my mission president and 2 stake presidents. I have seen the gift of healing, the gift of tongues, the gift of faith, and many other gifts of the Spirit. Now the Lord has given me the grand opportunity of being a Branch President in a branch in red neck Ohio. Daily I learn of the doctrine of Christ. My heart is full of gratitude for the strange, exciting, different, life changing mission I have had and the opportunities that have been given to me. Life is a result of the choices we have made in the many opportunities given to us. I know that everything that we have and will ever have is truly the Lord's. They only thing that is uniquely ours is our choice. Our will. Our will is what the Father asks. The sacrifice necessary for exaltation is giving up our desires, our choices, our will for the desires and will of our God. Daily is the task to give up the desires of ourselves so that we can become new creatures in Christ. This life is about changing ourselves so that we are worthy for exaltation in the highest glories of heaven. The only way we can give up our will is through change. The only way true, solid, change that results in exaltation happens is through the Atonement of Christ. King Benjamin taught that we should put off "the natural man and become a saint through the Atonement of Christ the Lord". A modern day apostle Elder David A Bednar said "One of the principle purposes of our mortal existence is to be spiritually changed and transformed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." It is our decision and responsibility to change so that we can receive the fullness of the blessings the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has to offer.
Hope you all have a wonderful week! I love each and everyone of you! And more importantly the Lord loves you!