Monday, November 18, 2013

18 November 2013

Dear parents and everyone who this email gets forwarded out to, So BIG news this week! Lightning has struck twice here in the SCCM and Elder Bednar came to visit us once again! He just came this past Saturday I don't know if I mentioned that he was coming. It was an amazing experience. I love Elder Bednar. He let us know that he has never ever, visited the same mission a year after he came. I felt so blessed! It was a lot of fun too. Elder Bednar is way funny! It's so cool to see an apostle as a real person :D he was fun and real with us but at the same time he invited the Spirit so much. He didn't have an agenda, he didn't have a speech, he just simply talked with us and allowed the Holy Spirit to teach us. This is basically how the course of the meeting went: He first asked, so if you were here last year stand up. All us 'seasoned vets' stood up, it was crazy having the whole mission there and seeing that a little under 30% of the missionaries were here last year. There are so many new missionaries in the field! Out of 100 sister missionaries only 10 stood up. But he then asked us, so what did you learn? And we shared things that stuck out to us for a while and he would expound on things when he felt prompted to. Then he asked us what we learned from reading the three of his talks that we were asked to read in preparation for the meeting. Basically talking about the talks led us into learning about how we follow the Spirit and he used this analogy. So our plans in life, in lessons, in things are this little boat. We're Peter riding along in a boat. We need to be willing to jump out of the boat whenever we feel prompted and rely on the Spirit to fulfill the promises contained in the scriptures. Then for the last two hours of the meeting we asked questions. It was amazing. This year I got to ask him a question and simply asking a question was such a beautiful learning experience for me. I'll try to explain what happened. Before he opened it up to questions he said, so many of you have probably prepared questions to ask me. Whatever those questions are, bag em. Throw em out. An inspired question has all to do about the right person, at the right place, at the right time. So all of our questions ended up being about jumping out of the boat or following our spiritual promptings. So the Spirit promises that our mouths will be filled and I felt really prompted to ask a question. When I got that prompting I started thinking about what are some things that I could ask him. I thought on different things for a couple minutes and then I realized that I needed to jump out of the boat. I was so nervous. I raised my hand and I had absolutely no idea what I was going to say. Not a clue. I simply felt very strongly that I needed to ask something and that's all I had. He looked straight at me for what seemed like an eternity but in reality was only about 2 seconds before he pointed at me and said Elder, what's your question. I stood up, I was so nervous! I had nothing! Here I was standing up in front of 270 missionaries, all the stake presidents in South Carolina, President and Sister Holm, and an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and I had nothing! But I regardless relied on the very strong prompting that I felt and prayed that the Spirit would give me utterance. After I stood up I paused for a moment which also felt like an eternity when in reality it was only about 4 seconds, but then I just started talking. My question ended up being, "How can I gain confidence in jumping out of the boat?" -Me "That is a great question" -Elder Bednar (I'll never forget the way that he said that) "Do you mind if I ask you a question?" -Elder Bednar "No...go ahead" -Me "So I can get a feel of where you are at what do you understand about jumping out of the boat?" -Elder Bednar "...well, so far..I know that on paper, if you jump of the boat, the spirit will support you......that's it" -me (In my head at this time I was thinking to myself, what a silly question to ask. I already know that if I want to get better at something or gain more confidence in something then I just ought to do it until I gain that confidence, I already saw that I was gaining confidence by standing up and asking a question despite the fact that I had nothing on my brain) "So you have a theory here, you seen stories where it's worked out with other people in the scriptures and things is that correct?" -Elder Bednar "Yes, that's right" -me I don't know verbatim what was said at this point but some very simple eternal truths were presented to me and my Spirit was touched. Elder Bednar said, God is going to let you struggle. He let the Savior struggle when He performed the Atonement. But He will never let you falter. I love that so much. I was putting my trust in myself thinking that all it took was practice to do something right. But if I hadn't received that insight I would've gotten discouraged in myself when I did struggle. Now I know that everything needs to be focused on the Savior and relying on Him to fill our mouths and give us the confidence that I need. It's so much better that way too. I can instantly feel that strength with literally little to no practice at all. I love that God qualifies whom he calls and doesn't just call who He feels like they've proven themselves by experience or anything like that. He just needs a to rely on the little spiritual nudges that He gives us. I love that phrase that Elder Bednar used about spiritual nudges. I've been able to recognize those so much now as a prompting to jump out the boat that you have and trust the Spirit to fill your mouth. It especially comes for me in the feeling that I know I need to ask someone a question but I don't know what. I used to start thinking about what question I would ask them and often times just miss the opportunity. I now know that I just need to take that leap of faith over the side of the boat and trust the Savior, not my past good experiences, to guide me in the right direction. As I do all that I can do to "be a good boy" as Elder Bednar says in one of his addresses, by doing all in my power to be the best missionary that I can be and the Spirit will be there to guide me. I love that promise. When we sang the closing hymn, We Are All Enlisted, the last verse where it says, Dangers may gather, why should we fear? Jesus our leader ever is near, He will protect us comfort and cheer We're joyfully, joyfully marching to our home. It took on a whole new meaning to me. I'm struggling to hold back tears as I think about that. I love our Savior so much. He will never let us down. This is His work. And if we do it in His way by following the Spirit and doing all that we can to be good boys and girls He will take over if we get out of the way and let the Spirit do the teaching. This mission has meant so much to me. I'm so grateful that Elder Bednar came back. I needed it so much. Last time I feel like I learned a lot about teaching others, but this time I learned a lot about teaching myself. I basically need to apply the same basic principles of teaching others to myself. I can ask myself inspired questions! It's so simple but it took me twice to finally catch it. I love this church. There is no doubt in my mind that Elder Bednar is literally a special witness and an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Looking into his face and speaking directly with him is one of the most cherished experiences I've had in my life thus far. The gospel is true. Missions are the best. Love, Elder Nair

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