Monday, January 13, 2014

Strengthening others to follow the Savior, January 13, 2014

Jan. 13, 2013

Hello again,
So it’s a brand new year with a new companion.  The reason I did not email last week is because nothing really new happened.  Right after my last email, we got a message from our Mission President telling us all to return home and prepare for a huge storm that was coming.  This ended up throwing off the schedule for all the missionaries to get their new companions. 
As a result, I got to spend some more time with my beloved companion, Elder Graff, as we were trapped in the house for the next three days.  We started the fun by cleaning out the bathtub so that we had some fresh water in case all the pipes froze in the storm.  Although I think we did an awesome job cleaning it, I am glad that we never had to use that water.  It is weird having that much time to do nothing.  It did not take very long before Elder Graff and I got bored out of our minds. 
When you go from doing so much all the time with not enough sleep to doing nothing all the time with too much sleep it really throws you for a loop.  We were glad to get back to work after it ended and gained a new appreciation for doing the work of the Lord.  I have learned that it is not the number of hours you sleep that gives you energy to do the work, but it is God that gives you the energy to do His work.
I am happy to say though that I do have my new companion now and he is great.  His name is Elder Calvert and he used to play for BYU's basketball team.  He has been out for under a year and is learning the area pretty quickly which is kind of scary because if he learns it too quickly there might not be any more use for me here and I might get transferred out. 
We are both glad that the holidays are finally over because now we can meet with all our people again.  As missionaries, we find that during the holiday season no one wants to meet with the missionaries because everyone is either out of town or spending time with their families.  Most people just tell us to come back in January.  Now that it is January though hopefully we will be able to have a ton of new opportunities to share the gospel.
So I do happen to have one story from this week about a member we went to visit that has had some struggles coming back to church after her long absence.  She told us that she did not feel worthy coming to church because she was breaking the Word of Wisdom.  She said that she knows now that she needs to be following them but that she does not feel right going to church while she is still sinning. 
These are the things that we said to her:  We told her that church is not for the perfect, that just as Christ came into this world to save the sinners from their sins, so, too, is church a place for the imperfect to come to purify themselves.  We told her that if only perfect people went to church you would find all our church buildings empty.  We then explained to her that church is for those that realize they are not perfect but are doing what it takes to make themselves better.  The reason that I share this story is because not always do the people we teach humble themselves to the words we say.  But this member did and because she did she received the words which we spoke into her heart and it changed her.  Even to the point where her fears of coming to church vanished and they were replaced with faith.
I am sorry to say this but I don't have any more cool stories from this week.  I am not sure if it is because nothing out of the ordinary happened this week, or if it is just because I am so used to all the crazy things now that it has all of a sudden become normal.  But I thank you all for the examples you set and the name which you bear.  And I hope that you do not forget the name you bear but that you wear it proudly and righteously.

Elder Erb

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