Alrighty, here we go! I have been challenged by my dear, sweet mother to take a picture every day! Two words: challenge accepted.
First of all, I have received an abundance of inquiries concerning the subject of Elder Hou, my new companion. To begin with, he really IS from China, and yes, he had to learn English. The church actually is getting quite a foothold in China at the moment. There are around 300-400 members in his city. They are not allowed to build a chapel yet, nor can we send missionaries in there, but they can share the Gospel in their homes within themselves. It’s purely member-missionary work over there right now. Elder Hou has been a member now for 4 years, and most of his family are members now as well. I think his stake currently has around 15-20 missionaries out in other countries right now! He is not the district leader, but I’ll tell you what, this guy can cook! My recipe book, (courtesy of Jessica-thank you again), will be twice the size it started out when I’m done serving with him. …And so will my weight. Thankfully we have a gym at the bottom of our flat complex that we can use in the mornings, so my goal is to keep as little of my impending weight from being fat as I can! Oy vey.
But anyways, speaking of member-missionaries, I’m so proud of you all for opening the home and also opening your mouth! Sometimes it can be scary to talk to people about the church. I beleive it was one of my childhood heroes, Albus Dumbledore, who said, “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.” Ten points to Gryffindor, Packer family! When we share our beliefs and our testimony, we put ourselves “out there”. It feels unprotected and nervous, but I assure you that when you bear pure testimony of the truths you know, God will not leave you unprotected. We had a training in our district meeting this week, and Elder Bright told us something concerning our responsibility to talk to everyone, he said that when we talk to someone, we give them two things: Agency and Accountability. When they are invited to hear more and come unto Christ, they have a choice to listen and act, or block us out and reject it; and whatever they choose, they are now the one responsible for the outcome. But if we say nothing to them, they don’t have that choice. The accountability lies on OUR shoulders. What a tremendous decision to make for someone else!
Likewise, even when we are not full-time missionaries, the Lord will provide us with ample opportunities to invite our friends. Take advantage of these opportunities! One of two things can happen if you do.
1) Line upon line, they will accept the message of happiness that the Gospel brings, and they will embrace the kingdom of God; at the end of it all you will have a fullness of joy together and they will thank you.
2) They say no and you go back to playing video games or cake decorating or whatever it is you were doing.
Either way, you lose no ground.
I can personally testify of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and I know that he loves all his brothers and sisters, even and especially those who are wandering right now. I can also tell you from personal experience that you will be glad you talked. It can seem scary now, believe me, I am there, but it’s not as bad as you’d think. And I challenge EVERYONE READING THIS to pray for and act on a missionary experience this week, and then e-mail me and report what you did and how it went! I want to hear from ALL of you!
That’s all for this week, I luv ya, and I’ll see you next Monday!
Love, Elder Packer