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Monday, August 31, 2015

Miracles take Work

Shalom, Shalom! San Antonio is still blazing hot, the bikes have been
fast and the work of salvation is rolling forth! I do not believe that
I have ever been so busy in my life. Perhaps the only moment that
could rival the amount of business would be Wednesdays on my second
semester in college, where I started work at 4 in the morning at the
Clyde Building on BYU campus and didn't get off of campus until the
end of Barbershop Choir practice, which usually ended at about 9:00.
Otherwise, no other point in my life have I had so much to do. And
never in my life has it been so rewarding.

On Saturday we had a wonderful lesson with a family of four. The
missionaries knocked on their door about a month ago and have been
trying to teach them a lesson ever since, and my great companion Elder
Nebeker and I as well as a member of the congregation came to the
lesson. The family was so touched that we came and discussed with them
the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we offered them a
Book of Mormon they said that they would read it together as a family
every night, even when their sons (Who are trying to get on the junior
olympic soccer team) were out of town on a tournament. It was quite
amazing to see how much they agreed with us, and were willing to
accept our invitations. To me, it was a great testament of why we do
missionary work. The holy spirit testified of the truthfulness of our
message so strongly during that 45 minutes we had with them. With
people like the Silarios, one cannot help but expect miralcles of
missionary work in their life.

Unfortunately, miracles take work to happen. You can't put on a
nametag and say you are  representative of Jesus Christ and expect you
to turn your coke into pepsi every day. Just because you know and
follow the doctrine of repentance and humility doesn't mean everyone
is going to recognize you as a man of God. Goodness no! Miracles take
work. Many miracles happen only after all we can do, then the
beautiful gift of grace kicks in. Nephi, the son of the prophet Lehi,
only received a spiritual witness of his father's words only after he
read the scriptures, prayed to know of its sayings, and pondered
deeply and humbly. The legendary stripling warriors were saved from
the sting of death only after exercises diligent faith in the commands
of there leader, Helaman. They did not miss an order, they did not
falter in their belief, they simply did the work, even when they were
chased across the countryside, confronted in heavy battle, and faced
with starvation. Likewise a miracle such as the Silario family cannot
happen unless Elder Nebeker and I have done all we can do to fulfill
our purpose as a missionary. Which almost always includes work.

One of the most efficient and helpful things that Elder Nebeker and I
have done is work with members to help them in their missionary
efforts. As missionaries, we have been working alongside many members
of our church to help their personal work of salvation. We do not care
who does, we just want people to come unto Christ and the fulness of
his gospel! It is not our place to steal the blessings of missionary
work from the members of the church. It turns out that if we are the
only two people inviting people to read the Book of Mormon, come to
church, go to mutual, have family home evening, it isn't the most
productive and uplifting thing in the world. But as we help members go
about fulfilling their duty of opening their mouths and preaching the
gospel lovingly and accordingly, there's a lot more missionary work
going on. And, like the investigators that we teach, we follow up with
them, see how they did, and then decide what they can do next. We
don't meet with members for us, we meet with members for them. So they
can receive the blessings of heaven. This is something that Elder
Nebeker and I, along with a little help from other leaders, have been
trying to implement in our areas.

When you are a missionary, you are given the opportunity of a
lifetime. Every day you have the goal of, "How can I be a better
person? What can I do to better serve my God?" Most days this is hard,
because of work, family, sports, quilting, whatever it is. But when
you are a missionary, you have 24 hours every day to to see what you
can do more. It's quite the blessing. And I admit, it isn't what I
thought it would be. But there is one thing that I always knew it was
going to be, it was always going to be worth it. And it is!

Peace, Love, and Happiness,

Elder Richard Hall

Richard went to the baptism of this young man, who he taught in his last area.

This is his new companion from Wendell Idaho

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