Training, Talks and a Sugar Fast.....Oh My
A lot happened this week, as always! At the beginning of the week, Hna Cedeño decided to go on a sugar fast, and I followed suit. It's not just to be more healthy, but we're doing it for a month with the prayerful purpose of sacrifice. It might be a little silly, but the Lord knows our hearts! And definitely, doing this over Halloween is a HUGE sacrifice for me. But it hasn't been as tough as I thought it would be, because we have a purpose!
On Tuesday, I was asked to give a training to my zone about the Doctrine of Christ in relation to the Book of Mormon ... it was a little bit of a vague topic, so during my studies I started going through lesson 3 of Preach My Gospel (which is the Doctrine of Christ) and looking at the Book of Mormon references cited. I noticed that there were a lot, which led me to figure out the percentage of the scriptures cited in that lesson that were from the Book of Mormon ... that led me to be curious about the other lessons, and long story short, I ended up doing calculations and statistics for ALL of the lessons in PMG as well as the Topical Guide. So, nerd alert: I'm about to overload you with stats. (I will mark this section before and after with asterisks, so feel free to read it at another time or skip it all together :P)
****In all of chapter 3 of PMG, which is where the lessons are outlined, 38% of the scriptures cited are from the Book of Mormon. That's a pretty high percentage when you think about how long it is in proportion to other standard works, because it's definitely not 38%. It makes sense, obviously, because it's the keystone of our religion.In lesson 1, however, only 27% of the scriptures are from the Book of Mormon. Again, this makes sense - lesson 1 is all about the Restoration, so you talk mostly about the times of Christ and ancient prophets, and don't introduce the Book of Mormon until the end. Lesson 2 - the Plan of Salvation - has a higher percentage of 42%. Lessons 4 and 5 have 36% and 23%, respectively. So in none of the lessons are more than half of the scriptures from the Book of Mormon.Except the Doctrine of Christ. 55% of the scriptures that are referenced in this section are from the Book of Mormon. Now, the Doctrine of Christ is the first principles and ordinances of the gospel (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and Confirmation) along with Enduring to the End. It's the road-map Christ has given us to be able to return and live with Him and our Father in Heaven once again. What's really interesting is that if you look in the topical guide under the sections relating to baptism and confirmation, only 25% of the scriptures listed are from the Book of Mormon. So why were 55% of the scriptures in Preach My Gospel chosen from this book? The Book of Mormon truly does contain the fulness of the restored Gospel. It makes clear things that the Bible doesn't. It shows us exactly what we need to do, and outlines the Father's plan for us in detail. We never have to doubt whether or not we're on the right path, because it's all there.Anyway, stat-time's done :P I just thought it was super interesting and a huge testament of the power and importance of the Book of Mormon.****
We had some great lessons with Luis this week! We were able to share some spiritual thoughts and get him to actually start reading a bit in the Book of Mormon. He was really confused by a lot of it, though, so Saturday night we went over and started reading through the introduction with him. We only got through the first three paragraphs because he had so many questions. But I kept telling him, "Focus on what you feel more than the questions and thoughts that you have." We obviously want to help him answer his questions, but I still have questions after being in this church my whole life! I testified to him that even before he completely understands, he can know that it's true, just like he knows the bible's true. It was also something Hna Cedeño and I had talked about, because almost every time we've asked him about how he felt he says vaguely, "Bueno," or, "No senti nada." (I didn't feel anything.) It's been frustrating, so we focused on helping him recognize the spirit. When we started talking about how Jesus Christ visited the Nephites in the Americas, he all of the sudden jumped in his seat, looking a little startled. He showed us his arm, and he had goosebumps. He started talking about legends in Mexico from the Mayans and the Aztecs other civilizations, and you could see that the spirit was helping him to recognize the truth of what we were teaching and that those legends are remnants of the true record that we have in the Book of Mormon. We testified of that to him, and it was really powerful! After we had our closing prayer, he looked up at us with this little smile and said, "Les digo - senti algo diferente ahorita." (I tell you - I felt something different just now.) I left the lesson with my heart literally singing for joy -
We met a few new potentials this week (and some people really, really prepared in English). It's amazing when you meet people how you can see the Lord has been preparing them, whether they recognize and receive it or not. He truly has His hand in our lives!
On Sunday, I played the piano in sacrament again, AND Hna Cedeño and I gave talks! We got the text from Presidente Martinez asking us to speak on Saturday, and we were so excited! He didn't give us a theme, so we both prayed and prepared individually. I felt prompted to talk about how I received my testimony of the Book of Mormon. It was a really personal talk, and I testified of the importance of personal conversion. I talked about how blessed I was to be taught by my parents, but that if that was the basis of my testimony I wouldn't be here today. I'm so grateful for the scriptures and for the Holy Spirit which testifies of truth to all those who seek for it!
This past Thursday, we did service for most of the day helping to set up for the Special Olympics in Mesa this weekend. And then, on Saturday, we went and volunteered to help run it! It was a really fun day! There were a bunch of kiddy-sports, arcade-style blow-up games. The elders were assigned to run them and help the participants play. The most service we did was literally just cheering for the athletes! It was so precious seeing these special children of God enjoying themselves and feeling proud of what they'd accomplished! I kept my clapper.
I love you all, and can't wait to hear how you're doing!
<3 Hna Garner
Saturday night, we were driving away from trying to contact one of our potentials, and saw this HUGE column of smoke. We drove over to see what it was, and one of the complexes that's been in the process of construction caught fire! It was crazy being that close to everything, but we were just glad it wasn't in the neighborhood of our members (because we thought that's where it was when we first saw the smoke! It was really close!). We don't know if anyone was hurt (we don't get the news) but hope that the construction was done for the day and no one was there!