Sunday, August 9, 2015

Faith is Required for Our Salvation, Not Proof

Here's Nicole's email from last week. Enjoy! :)

"Friends and Family! 

      Not much has happened since Wednesday, so this letter will be shorter (at least it's suppose to be, haha). 

      Friday was a great day :) We had another lesson with Pam! Tatiana, the other foster child, even joined us! Pam said she's been reading from the Book of Mormon a lot lately and that it is REALLY helping her! It's all marked up :) It makes me so happy! She's been reading it with Tatiana and they both feel good as they read it! They said they believe it is true! Tatiana became our new investigator and we're super excited to teach both of these beautiful girls! As we read from the scriptures together, they are often telling us what it means and how it applies to life! The Gospel is so beautiful the way it touches us!! I LOVE MY CALLING!!!!!! We also met a nice young man named Frank. He is a neighbor to one of our members. He said him and his wife are looking for a church. They have a few kids all younger than 12. They're going to be gone off and on all this week, but he told us we can come back in a week and share a message with them!! I want so badly to be able to teach a family! After all, God's plan is for families to be together for eternity! I'm excited to see where it goes! 

     Saturday, Deer Park had their annual corn feed activity. It started out years ago as going to just eat corn, but has now turned into a huge potluck! SOOO many less active members and nonmembers were there, it was great! Sister Erickson has bad knees, so she had to sit most of the time (: ) while I got to walk around a talk to everyone. Luckily, a less active man sat next to her and she got to talk to him a lot while watching me walk around everywhere. I felt like I was in Heaven!! It was one of the most joyous times of my week! We even had some less active and part member families say we can come back!! It was super exciting! 

      Yesterday, we had the opportunity to hear the members of both wards bare their testimonies! What a wonderful spirit was felt there! I love testimony meeting! Last night, we had a long talk with a pastor named Jason. Jason is moving into and remodeling a home, so his neighbor referred him to us to offer service. We went over, knocked on the door, and as soon as he saw us he grabbed his Bible. I knew where this was going...We explained we were there to offer service, and he politely declined. He then told us to try to convert him. He said we could share our beliefs with him and then he would do the same. We started simply sharing the message of the Restoration. A minute into it he had questions and pulled out scriptures from the Bible. Scripture after scripture he gave us and when it sounded like he was contradicting himself, he would explain it in a way that made no sense to us. Out of all the differences we talked about, I realized the biggest difference was the interpretations of the Bible. This was exactly what got Joseph Smith confused...all the interpretations of the Bible! Although I felt so inadequate at first, I became very grateful for a living day Prophet to help us better understand the Bible so that all this confusion wouldn't exist. Jason was super nice about all of it and was sincerely interested in what we believe and why, but we could tell he seemed pretty set in his ways. As he tried to prove us wrong, I realized that it all comes down to the principle of faith. We are commanded to have faith, not proof. Faith is required for our Salvation, not proof. I'm thankful that I can have faith. I'm grateful that I have had the experiences with the Gospel that I've had to strengthen my faith. As missionaries, we're not out trying to prove anything to anyone. We're simply sharing a message centered on Jesus Christ and how much He loves us and then asking people to use their agency to either accept or reject the message Jesus Christ has asked us to share with the world. I know the gospel is true and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. Yes, I've had doubts and I've questioned things. But, time and time again God helps me get back on track and helps me to see things clearly again. I know it's true. If I didn't, I would not voluntarily leave everything behind, go through trials that only a mission can bring, and see and hear things that tear you apart for 18 months. Again, I love my calling and I love this Gospel! 

       Since this letter ended up being LONGER and not shorter, I think I'll end now :) I love you all and am so grateful for each of you! I'm thankful for all of my friends of different faiths, those who don't believe at all, and those who accept, or don't accept, me for my beliefs. I'm very thankful for all of you and our part in getting me here! God bless each of you and I pray your week is FANTASTIC!! 

Sister Wilson"

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