As our ward mission leader Brother Crew would say, "This was a dynamic week in Dallas!" In the most Southern accent you could conjure up. I love that man. Really though, this was an amazing week. Elder Anderson and I worked hard to find, teach, and invite. We had some awesome miracles this week and met some great people. We spent a lot of time just out talking to people. A lot of great experiences. I love getting out of my comfort zone and opening my mouth to proclaim the restoration of the gospel and having it be filled. There were two amazing instances of that this week. I went on an exchange this week and I asked the Elder I was with, "What do you want most as a teacher? What do you want to be able to do?" and he gave a great reply, "I want to teach by the spirit." and I asked him, "Well Elder, how do you know that you are teaching by the spirit, or when you've taught by the spirit?" and he said, "That is a good question." I began to explain that I know that I am teaching by the spirit when the words I speak are not my own. They are quite literally being given to me as I open my mouth. I know that I have taught by the spirit when I am just as edified by that lesson as the person I taught was. There were two instances this week where it was clear to me that my words were not my own.
The first was with this lady when we were tracking. She opened her door and said she wasn't interested because she was a Seventh Day Adventist. We asked her if we could pray with her and she said that that would be okay. After the prayer I felt inspired to ask her how the Seventh Day Adventist's beliefs differed from most protestant churches. She was kind of caught off guard seeing that I was so willing to hear what she had to say about her faith. After showing my openness she really opened up too. We were able to teach her the entire restoration, and then some other amazing things. She was astounded and loved every bit of what we had to say. While I was speaking during this lesson I could seriously listen to the words that were coming out of my mouth and knew that they were not my own. I was not taking thought as to what I was going to say next, I was just speaking and it all made sense. Elder Anderson and I walked away from that door just astounded. Immediately after we walked away from the door Elder Anderson turns to me and says, "Did you hear yourself?" Haha.
The second instance of teaching by the spirit was in GNC. Yes, the health store. Haha. This GNC just opened up by our house and we wanted to check it out. So we went in there and there were two workers in the store. One of them had a best friend that was on a mission in Brazil. He mentioned that he went to seminary once with his friend. I asked him if his friend ever had the chance to share his beliefs with him. He said that he has heard quite a bit from his friend. He then said that their beliefs differ in some areas. I asked him what beliefs they differed in, and he said that he didn't believe that The Book of Mormon is necessary to have apostles and a prophet today. Immediately I began to teach about the apostasy and the restoration of the gospel. Just opening my mouth and watching it be filled with the words I should say. We spent about 40 minutes in that store discussing back and forth with the two workers. They both agreed to read and pray about The Book of Mormon. Not once was there ever arguing. Not once was there ever a feeling of bitterness. I am telling you, if you know how to tell our story you don't have to argue! I love the restoration, like I say in every letter. It is the best news to every Christian. But you have to know how to teach it.
During this exchange the Elder asked me how I became the good teacher I've become (and I am not sharing this story to pat myself on the back, but to make a point). I asked him, "What do you really love, what are you passionate about?" and he said, "Well I love fostering animals, acting, and books." And I said, "How long could you talk about those things for? Could you talk about them to anyone? Because I can tell you love those things since we've started this exchange. It is clear to me since I've started to get to know you that you are passionate about those things. I guarantee that you could make me love, or at least interested in animals, acting, and books just because I can tell that you LOVE them so much. Even if I had no interest in them at all at the beginning of the conversation, just the enthusiasm that you have for those things makes me excited and want to learn more. That is how we HAVE TO BE about the Gospel when sharing it with others. And we cannot be this way unless we truly love and are passionate about everything that we teach the way we love and are passionate about our other interests. If people can see that you truly LOVE the Restoration of the Gospel, there isn't someone that would not take the time to listen to you." I shared with him how when I first came out on my mission my love for music, snowboarding, and electronics far exceeded my love for the Restoration. Those were the subjects that I could talk to anyone about. Throughout my mission that has changed and my love for the Restoration exceeds my love for anything else, and people can see it, and that is why they listen to me. I think that this is a very important lesson that I have learned on my mission. You have to LOVE what you do, or else people are probably not going to love what you have to share.
Real quickly to update you on our investigators. Pam was not able to make it to Church this week, but is still doing very well. We are meeting with her soon. David came to Church and loved it!!! Things are going great with him. We are very excited.
I love you all so much!
-Elder Ryan Romero