Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gators that swim but don't bite

(Sent Monday, May 12

For those of you who don't know, missionaries are allowed to call/Skype home twice a year on Christmas and on Mother's Day. So yesterday was the best. It was weird, though, because I felt like I just said goodbye to my family last week...not 3, almost 4, months ago.

But it was a gloomy Mother's Day because it snowed. Yes. Exactly. It snowed in the middle of May. And guess what? It's still snowing right now.

Anyway I think the title of this post was pretty darn clever. Let me tell you why:

B. I've only met with her once since being here. She's progressing very slowly because she has quite a few questions about religion, life, and truths, and they are some very reasonable questions and concerns that she has. But she's only come to church once since February. She hasn't been to church since and her main concern is that since the church is so family-oriented (because the family unit is the most sacred of all units), she wants her family in on it as well. A legitimate concern.

J. We've met with him twice since I've been here the past two weeks. He's also progressing very slowly because he also has legitimate questions on the fullness of the truth that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just happens to hold. His main concern, however, is that he doesn't know quite yet if baptism is the thing God wants him to do right now. He says he's still waiting on an answer from God.

So, with a brief description of two of the investigators here, I'll go on to explain my brilliant title. A "gator" is simply an "investigator," or someone who is looking into the church and seeking for truth. J and B are these gators. They're swimming, moving forward, and progressing, but they're not biting onto anything that will provide food or nourishment or even just an anchor for them. They don't feel prepared to bite onto that one commitment of a baptismal date until they've received a sort of knowing that it's the right thing to do.

This brings me to revelation. Oftentimes we think revelation from God must come all at once. An answer from God must be a sort of immediate knowledge that comes when you pray. But I am here to testify that that is not always the case. Revelation can come in bits and pieces. J says he's continuing to take discussions from the missionaries because he feels good about it. He looks forward to his meetings with us! That feeling that he has is an answer. Every time he learns more about the church is an answer to the question of whether this be the right path or not.

And, yet, revelation from God doesn't always come. Does a parent give his or her child the answer to all the questions on the math homework? Or does the parent provide tools and guidelines that don't necessarily give the answer away immediately but, instead, require the child to use those tools and guidelines to formulate an answer? In reality, it's really both ways BUT, for the sake of this analogy, it's usually the latter.

God doesn't give answers away immediately. He's given us brains and the power of reasoning for a...well, for a reason! We make the decisions on our own and then act on it. And most of the time, we won't know if the answer on the math homework is correct until after we've handed in the homework and acted on our faith that it is correct. That gap between your question and your answer is ultimately filled in with faith. It's pretty cool.

So, I've learned quite a bit on my mission so far. Teaching by the Holy Spirit is amazing, but learning by the Holy Spirit is far better because I've learned a whole lot more through the Spirit than through a normal, everyday study. But, then again, you learn even more when you both teaching and learning are awesome. I love it!

I love serving the Lord so much! I hope you all have an amazing week!

Sister Wen

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