The Greatest Joy

May 30, 2011 – Gyumri 1 (North), Week 2
The Greatest Joy

So I am here in Gyumri like a chicken with my head cut off. I’m not going to lie it’s hard. I only know a few of the members. My companion is so laid back that I usually call too many of the shots and we haven’t found anyone new to teach for two weeks.

I guess that’s how it works. I still have high hopes for this city. The members in the District are amazing. I’m learning a lot from the other Elders.

You know it is really intense being entrusted with the missionary work here. I am constantly pondering how I can help the Elders in the district, my companion and our investigators. It is a lot of work  and hard, but the reward for such work by far, outweighs the cost. We are talking about eternal happiness, forgiveness, love, and divine guidance. Things that can’t be bargained for or bought, things that cannot be forced nor faked. It’s all worth it.

We are teaching two people right now. They don’t quite understand the importance of church, which is a sad truth. We receive so much personal and divine guidance when we gather in places of worship.

The Lord has been molding me, sculpting me. I feel that this fire, this furnace will only help me despite the struggles and lack of visual success.

The members here are amazing. They call us and ask us if we need their help. They really do so much with the missionaries. It’s inspiring.

Well the Stake is doing an activity and asked me to answer this question so I thought I would share with you the response, maybe it can help you.

2.       We would appreciate a short letter to the Mt. Vernon Stake youth sharing your testimony, your feelings about missionary work or advice about preparing for a mission.

I know that the central and first purpose of the Book of Mormon is to help us gain a deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ and the power of His Atonement.
I too can testify that “Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah.” (Book of Mormon, Introduction, Paragraph 9)

I know that the deepest and most mysterious doctrines of the Lord’s Kingdom are written plainly in his scriptures, especially in the Book of Mormon and in the words spoken by our living prophet.

I bare witness that missionary work is the greatest work we can ever do in this life. The work of bringing souls unto salvation is the Savior’s work and if we truly seek to become like the Savior we will find ourselves while being lost in this work. The fruit of the Tree of Life is very real, it is waiting for us. All we need to do is draw nearer to God through His revealed word and help others partake of it as well.

The best way to do missionary work is to forget your feelings and your reputation in the moment of opportunity. When you get a chance to share the gospel remember what the Savior did for you, and then remember what he did for the person standing in front of you. Then remember that only selfishness will hold one back from sharing such a wonderful message. This is a message of love, forgiveness, redemption, friendship, power, guidance and divine help. We must not deny anyone the blessing of hearing the gospel, whether they choose to accept it or not in this moment.

I would give a few pieces of advice to any who want to share the gospel and to those who would like to serve.

1) Read the Book of Mormon with the intent to answer life’s questions. Write those questions down as well as their answers refer to them, use them to help friends and family. The Book of Mormon answers the questions of the soul. When we begin to resolve personal concerns we will not hesitate to help others resolve their concerns, whether they are members of the church or not.
2) Ask your local missionaries how you can help and then sacrifice to help them. They are representatives of Jesus Christ and you will only be in the service of your God when you help them.
3) With Love, tell your local missionaries how you feel they can improve. As they become the missionaries you can trust, they can help you share the gospel with your friends. Don’t be shy; this is the Gospel of Repentance and Change. Respect them enough to help them become better.
4) Use Chapter Six in Preach My Gospel. Strive to be worthy of receiving these divine attributes. As you become more like the Savior you will be able to perform physical and spiritual miracles for those you serve. This life is a time to prepare to meet God, in other words, this life is a time to become like the Savior. Seek his attributes consistently. Pick one a week and work on it. As you focus on one at a time the Lord will bless you will revelation/insights on what you can do to be more like Christ.
5) Trust you leaders and their direction. They receive revelation whether we think they are right or not. We must always remember that their guidance is, in a more fundamental way, the Lord’s direction. We will be blessed for obeying and respecting his chosen servants.

I love you all.  I continue to learn from your examples as I ponder my experiences with you.
Elder Cook

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