I enjoyed your notes, I printed them off so I can go through them! It's always inspiring to hear the words of the living Apostles and church leaders. I've decided that the more we listen to their counsel, we open our hearts to God's counsel for us. We prepare ourselves to hear when the Lord calls.
One of the greatest lessons I have learned on my mission, that relates to one of your points, is that Jesus Christ is all the difference. We would naturally be crushed by the demands of justice and receive a just reward--spirit prison. Fortunately, Christ's Atonement allows Him to offer conditions of mercy, through grace, because he paid those demands of justice. Although we are very much imperfect beings, it is by Jesus Christ that we can be made perfect everyday. ----like a business partnership between a struggling company (us) and a company with infinite assets and power, (Christ) our use of repentance allows us to be joint heirs of that perfection. We don't own it, but we access it. It all comes down to that condition of repentance. If applied constantly, we will return to God's presence perfect. Teach everyone to repent and apply it yourself and you see miracles.
"It's heating up here in Selma/Parlier, it has been 87-98 degrees all week, and it's only May! July is going to be brutal. Consequently, I have a bad missionary tan- super tan arms, face, and neck, but super white everywhere else. This area is on bikes and it's challenging in the heat.
Investigators are making their way toward baptism, we had this guy, that knows the Bible super well, come to church. (Enrique) He is a talker. We had to show him a teaching record and explain that we needed to teach certain things, not just talk, and we finally got a lesson in and brought the spirit. He destroyed gospel principles class and did not like it. I was squirming in my seat, trying to keep the peace and the Spirit, because that teacher was clearly not taking it well.
Then we got him to sacrament meeting and everything got better, so that was good. He wanted to come back at the end of it. (The Branch here does classes first and then sacrament meeting because the English Ward is in the chapel when we start.)
Our Zone Leaders also did an awesome training about leaving behind all of our "nets" or the distractions of our past life; that really inspired me to go and do more! (see Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk...about Peter on the shores of Galilee after the crucifixion.) We were invited to write things down that we want to leave behind on that seashore, so that when we bare that final testimony in front of the mission, "we can be there without purse, nor scrip, nor a fishing net over our shoulder." -Elder Kennick, paraphrased That really was inspiring to me. I set goals to leave those nets behind and had a better week. There were still trials, but I tried to learn from them!
I'm blanking on what we did this week with the work! Well Betty has a baptism date set for but we were unable to contact her -. Hopefully nothing bad happened. As mentioned, Enrique came to church. We'll see how that unfolds. We're striving to teach people to repent more clearly, because there was a point about half-way through the week where we realized we had just taught about 4 "scripted messages" instead of teaching people. (Missionary principle: teach people, not lessons.)
I've discovered recently that "The fundamentals of missionary work" that are taught to missionaries in the MTC book and "The District" movies are what help missionaries teach effectively. These are: Receiving revelation by: 1) The Holy Ghost 2) Prayer 3) Reading the Book of Mormon 4) Going to church. That's how people get answers!
President Clark's Book of Mormon challenge has been great for me. (To read it and not leave a page until writing something that was learned.) It has been a slow read-through, but I have pulled more out of the first 4 chapters of 1 Nephi than I ever thought I could. Give it a shot if your read throughs are boring. There is also a talk by Elder David A. Bednar, I think it's "A Reservoir of Living Water," that explains how to effectively study the scriptures. It's a favorite of mine.
That's all I've got! It's going good, but I intend to get it going great!