The Book of Mormon: It was warm and it was powerful.

Monday, September 23, 2013

This week has been CRAZY! I'll try to be calm as I let you know all about its amazing-ness, that way I actually make sense in my letter haha.

Ok so in my last email I mentioned briefly about bearing my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I realized this week that many people back home don't know how I gained that testimony. So let me do that before I continue on with the rest of this week...because it relates.

In the 10th grade, one of my friends and I were talking about religion. At one point she said, "well if you grew up going to that church, how do know you don't just go because of your parents". I was stumped and totally didn't know how to answer her question. I didn't know. I had done nothing that proved that I went to church because of something I had a conviction of. I knew the church was true, but I just didn't have a burning conviction. So I decided to do my Faith Value Project for Personal Progress on reading the Book of Mormon. I started in June/July and finished in October. Did I get an answer like I expected? Absolutely not. No burning in the bosom, no sudden excitement. Sure, I was happy I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the first time, but I didn't get a convincing feeling. I almost felt like any time I would pray about it, Heavenly Father was like, "you know it's true. Why are you even asking?" And my response would be, "yeah I know it’s true, but I want and need that conviction". It wasn't until many months later when Laura was giving the FHE lesson and shared a story about this girl who went through a similar situation. She read the Book of Mormon multiple times, but received no answer. She later then she realized that she had gained her testimony as she looked back at the past year of her life and saw how reading the Book of Mormon had changed her life. Then and there I had flashbacks of all the times I read the Book of Mormon and each time I had read a doctrine/principle and tried to apply it to my life. As I looked back at how I changed as I've applied the teachings into my life, I received that conviction and evidence that it was true.

So, when it comes to bearing testimony of the Book of Mormon here on the mission, I bear testimony that I know reading it and applying the things you learn will change your life and bring you closer to Christ. I have felt it. And I still feel it every single day as I study it. I don't, however, ever promise people that if they pray about it, they will receive an answer. It is always my companions who do that part because I don't believe in making empty promises. I can't promise something I've never experienced. 

On Tuesday we had district meeting and we did a role play where the Mattoon Sisters were going to practice asking their investigators to pray on the spot with them. Elder Anderson chose Elder Dingman and I to be the couple. So we were acting as the Mattoon Sisters's real investigators. So they asked us questions and we said we hadn't kept the commitments to pray about the Book of Mormon. So they asked Elder Dingman to offer a prayer right there and then and ask if the Book of Mormon was true. I’m kneeling there SO awkwardly because it was just all too weird for me...and then what happens?!?! Elder Dingman starts CRYING. I’m starting to feel even more awkward. After the prayer the Mattoon Sisters ask Elder Dingman if he will get baptized and he says yes. Then they turn to me and ask how I felt. SO AWKS. I'm like "err...well i definitely felt something." Oh goodness. Then they asked if I knew it was true, and as the investigator I was like, "well I guess if I keep praying and applying it I will".

Then they asked me to pray and ask. Oh my goodness, let me tell you! If there was anything so awkward and uncomfortable I've ever had to do, IT WAS THAT. Because that wasn't how I received my own answer. I was scared that as their investigator I wouldn't feel anything. But I did as I was told...and the moment I started praying I started chocking up. I just felt this "whoosh" feeling come over my body as I said "please help me have the conviction to know that the Book of Mormon is true". It was warm and it was powerful. I couldn't even speak anymore. I just started crying. When the role play was done I went back to my seat so overwhelmed. I had just experienced what most people do when they gain that testimony. It was so weird and so amazing at the same time. Sister Fernandez said she just felt the spirit so strong as I prayed because she knew I was getting an answer from the spirit. IT WAS CRAZY!!!!! 

It definitely boggled my mind all day and made me really think about how I receive answers. And it bugged me a bit. I was writing in my journal that night expressing how I was feeling and questioning if the way I received an answer was even a real answer. (See how satan plays with your mind? he's just so bad.) As I was reflecting on all the times I've ever asked a major question to Heavenly Father, and then remembering how I received an answer, I realized that I'm just different. The Spirit is able to bear witness to me, and God is able to answer my questions only AFTER I've acted with faith. I've never received the burning in the bosom for anything. It was always after I've acted that I was able to know. And so that brought me comfort and peace knowing that Heavenly Father tries my faith and trust before He makes it known to me. And I’m grateful for that because that IS the only way I'm able to receive a strong conviction of anything. And now, I am happy to say that I can make that promise to my investigators now because of that experience at district meeting. I can still bear testimony about how I gained my testimony, but now i am ALSO able to make that promise that they can receive answers through the spirit when they pray about it. :)

And yeah, that's how my crazy week started! The Book of Mormon is amazing. I was reading Pres Benson's "Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon" and it is SO important for us to share it with people. Seriously, do the family-to-family Book of Mormon program that Pres Benson talks about. 

This week has just been so great. We've met most of our goals, the Spirit just guided our finding efforts, and the people we've talked to have just been so inspiring. There have just been so many tender mercies and successes this week. It feels great!!. I wish I had more time to write about them, but I don’t, so I'm just going to have to leave you all hanging :P Just know that it was AWESOME.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Miss and love you!
Mucho Lovin'
Sister Limas

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