Indonesia, Jakarta Mission 3/13 - 3/15

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 6 -(posted out of order- April 14 follows)

So, ya, glad to hear that you are all doing well!  Things here are great!  It has been a  pretty exciting week I guess.  Not that all that much crazy stuff has really happened, but I have learned and grown a lot!
So no, we have not yet had the opportunity to go teach a congregation of Pentecostals, but we will work on it again and try to set up a time to get out there.  But ya, for the most part our visits have just been normal stuff this week!
So, actually for the last few weeks it has felt like all of Manado is kind of in a slump.  The work has seemed to be going really slowly and we have been having a lot of appointments fall through and stuff just not going as well as it sounds like it used to be here.  And that has been hard on all of us.  We have been trying to figure out why things are going so slowly, why we are getting in so few appointments, and why we have just been feeling confused.  We have all felt like we are working hard and doing our best, but the results just haven't been happening.  But we did realize that we are hopefully preparing for a breakthrough, and that just like running, when you hit a wall, that's when its the most important to keep going, because when you keep going and break through that wall, that's when the strength comes and growth happens, and that in the Lord's work, that's when miracles happen!  So we have just been striving to keep going.  And, towards the end of this week, it has seemed like we have started to begin to pull out of this slump.  We have started to have more appointments happen, started finding some good new investigators, and stuff like that.  SO that has been good.  Still not quite to the point we are hoping to get to, but we will keep going and working for the blessings!
So this week I had a really cool experience in answer to fasting.  I have really been wanting to get more faith and charity, and so yesterday for fast sunday I fasted for that.  Well, it was one of the quickest answers to a fast I have ever received!  I was talking to Elder Giolas, and we were just having a mini testimony meeting during lunch yesterday, and we got talking about the conversion story of Alma the Younger.  Alma himself was not seeking to repent, however his Father had great faith and desire for him to repent and come unto Christ.  He gave himself to prayer and fasting for his son, and cried unto the Lord for him.  Now, Ama's father nor the Lord has power to take away Alma's free agency, or to force him to change.  But, what can happen is the Lord can step in and give experiences and work a change of heart that drove Alma to choose for himself to realize the error of his ways and to repent.  It is the same for us as missionaries.  Here in Manado there are many people caught up in a church that is a major social organization that has a strong hold on them, and even those that realize the truth and see the error of their ways, often have a very hard time leaving the church they are in.  But, the same as Alma's father, or the earthly being that had Priesthood authority over Alma, who prayed mightily and called down a blessing from heaven to work a change in his son's heart, we have that same ability here.  We are the authorized leaders over those whom we serve amongst.  We have been given stewardship over them.  And we have every right, if we are living worthily, to call to heaven in mighty prayer and call down a blessing to be poured upon them that will bring about a change of heart.  We can create experiences like that of Alma the YOunger for those who we serve amongst.  But it requires our faith and obedience, and the will and timing of the Lord.  So that has driven me to pray more meaningfully for the people of Manado, and individual investigators, and I feel like it really will help them.
I was also talking to the senior couple, and he was talking to me about the importance of listening to promptings and thoughts, and being willing to follow all of our righteous thoughts when with investigators and stuff.  He said that too often we have a thought, but are shy and brush it aside as just a thought, and not as an actual prompting from the Holy GHost.  But he said that in his experience as Bishop, most commonly it was those simple "thoughts" that were answers to questions and prayers of others or himself.  So, he said that we need to follow each of out little simple thoughts, and that doing so will bring a greater power into the work, and will help us see how much power we truly have--that it is beyond our imagination.  So, yesterday after hearing that, I tried to do it.  I can't say that there were any miraculous miracles or anything exceptionally different that happened because of it, but I truly did feel a greater power in what I was saying as I followed each little thought of what to say to investigators, even those that rejected us.  I just felt a greater power and peace to my testimony, and felt that I had said all the Lord desired, and that I hadn't left anything out.  It was a great feeling, and all these experiences helped me recieve a great increase in faith that I have been seeking!  ANd I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers and fasts, too! 
So, it has been really cool in that regard!
Well, I am loving the mission and am so glad to hear from all of you and that you are doing well!  I know that the church is true, and that the Lord answers prayers and guides us!  I love you all so much!  Hope you have a great week!
Love Elder Wood

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