Monday, April 8, 2013

 General Conference, Riding Bikes, & Testimonies!
Elder Langford's Update: April 8, 2013
Hey everyone,
Hooooooooooo boy!!! Conference was fantastic right??!! When you're on a mission, I think naturally you just get so much more out of it, because you learn how to focus more, and you really know and understand more of what you're learning and trying to get out of it. This has been an extremely eventful week, and I don't know if I can account all of it (especially because my planner's at home :/) but I'll do my best!

First off, we had the baptism for the Yost's daughter on Wednesday, and we were able to bring our 11 year old investigator to it. He loved it, and is very excited to be baptized! It was a great baptism, and they had delicious food afterwards! I really was able to feel the spirit as I had the chance to look at Olivia as she got back from the baptism, and she had this peaceful, calm look upon her. IT was a surreal moment, and obvious to see she was ready to keep the promises she had made to her father in heaven.

I also had the opportunity of getting sick again for luckily just 2 days of the week! In those 2 days alone, I lost 8 pounds... but luckily after I was able to eat again, it came back real quick after some Smithfield's tasty barbecue ;) Mmmmm!! Dang I had so many things to say, but I don't have that planner... if you could see me right now, I paused typing and just face palmed myself... ahh!

We had an interesting exchange to Harker's Island. I was able to go, and as we were going to sleep, I asked the other Elder what his biggest fear was in the mission. He said that when he would go up to teach, or the moment to act and do missionary things such as contacting, or blessings, or any action, he'd always get this terrible anxiety thinking am I really ready? Am I worthy? Am I qualified to do this? We had a great talk about how we are qualified, and how fear is one of Satan's strongest weapons, and that faith, literally, is the opposite of fear, and if it is always applied, always takes it away. We had a revelatory experience on some of the details of understanding the practicality of faith in our lives and how to apply it, enough that we felt the prompting to get up and write it all down to further study later. It's been studies like this on topics that have really changed me in the mission field.  I've come to see that there is knowing things, knowing truth, and then understanding the spirit of the truth, or conversion to it. If you ask someone, who read 4 to 6 novels on how to ride a bike, man I bet they'd be able to go into such detail on how the brakes work, how the shocks adjust to your bumps, and the spokes connect to all these different hinges, and the importance of your bike choice, and all those different specifics. You could also ask someone who's been riding a bike for a couple years, and think of the difference in the lesson and explanation in his demonstration on how to ride a bike. The first example is having a testimony, a firm knowledge that the gospel is true (that you can ride a bike). This is so key! If you don't believe you can ride a bike, you'll never be able to! The second example is conversion. You know that your testimony of the gospel is true, because you live it and apply it's principles daily in your life (you ride the bike ). Now, the more you ride the bike, the better you get! Just like on the mission when I first came out, I knew how to 'ride a bike'. Now, I know, and have been converted to ride a bike.   I can ride without hands, and do all sorts of new things I never would've known if I hadn't tried them for myself. The Gospel works the same way. It is in the application of the knowledge that we have on the gospel, that we gain further understanding on it's principles. The difference between someone that knows how to ride a bike, and someone that rides it for a living, is a landslide. It's in the doing that we learn and understand! And as we understand, we find joy in our understanding, and as we find joy in our understanding, we want to find more knowledge and understand to find more joy in it, thus, Our eternal cycle of progression can be narrowed down to our desire for the application of our knowledge, to ever increase our joy. Pretty neat. I gotta say.

Anyway sorry tangent... We had a baptism right before General Conference, and it was one that I'll never forget. Before he had told us here and there that he had a slight fear of water... How great did we underestimate that statement... He had asked me to baptize him, so we walked into the font, we got in position, I said the prayer, (he's about 6 foot btw) and laid him down in the water... He lifted up his head, and look absolutely terrified... We adjusted him, comforted him, and tried more times, but whenever he would go down, we would not put his head under the water... It got to a point where he started to say that he didn't want to do it anymore... The Bishop and Elder Packard leaned in from the witness area, and we said a little quick prayer for him. We asked him to get on his knees in the water, and to just put his head and shoulders under after the prayer. After 3 more times, he was fully baptized. He faced baptism with courage that we all didn't even fathom someone had to have. He had a testimony of baptism, but just like the bike analogy, had never really had anything to do with actually swimming in any sense his whole life. Not even a bath. His step of faith and courage he took that day, in implementing his faith to be baptized was one of the bravest things he could have done. He felt so good afterwards about the whole thing, and after the talks were given, the bishop got up to welcome him into the ward. He honored him for his undying courage, and testified boldly of his bravery in this act. The spirit was extremely strong, and a witness of the love that the ward and the Bishop had for this man was easy to recognize. I felt a very peaceful feeling that as the missionaries come and go in the lives of these members and investigators, the members would always look out and hold a place for him in their hearts. Great way to start conference weekend eh?  Literally a half hour later we sat down and watched conference, and I wish I had time to talk about it!!! I learned things that have changed my perspective on so many things, and the take away I've received from it has been life changing! But ahh my time is up, and I again want to tell you all how much I love you all. Thank you for you constant support and prayers. We need them out here :) The district's looking good for at least four more baptisms this month.  The Lord's blessing us immensely as we strive to humble ourselves, and strive for exact obedience to his commandments. Thank you all again so much and I love you!!!!  Love, Elder Langford

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