Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tis the Season.‏ 12/22/14

-Planning properly produces proper possibilities.
-Christ is Christmas.


Christmas is coming! Surprisingly, loads of people we talk to on the street are not excited. Not surprisingly, they don't understand the significance of Christ's birth. It's all about the shopping in Torbay.

This week we did a lot of planning and went to work. We went through all of the less actives of the ward list, organized them into areas, and then made plans to share the He is the Gift video with as many of them as possible. We wanted to reach the standard of excellence for the mission of 20 lessons each week, and it has seemed impossible so far. Our record was 14 before this week. The video and less active grouping seemed like the best way to do this. Each night for planning I took the time to see what street each person was on and map out a route to stop by each of them in the area in a loop so we don't have to run around. Saturday we had a list of four different areas with around 5 names in each area. It was exhausting but it felt so good when we got back to the flat, counted it up and we had 7 lessons in one day. Sunday we went up to one area with a list of more than a dozen people to stop by. We were hoping for big things but we realised on the bus ride back we were one short of 20. So we stopped by “C’s” and read 2 Nephi 32. It's a solid chapter with only 9 verses. When we got home we were shattered. Planning p-day we were thinking we'd just stay home and lounge around. Then the other Elders called and we decided the usual football sounds like more fun so we'll head up there soon.

I hope that these lessons did as much for the people as it did for our accounting, but either way it gave us so much determination to go see loads of people and share something every chance we had.

I am grateful for the opportunity to experience Christmas as a missionary. My eyes are opened more and more as I learn about it. I spoke in church Sunday about Christmas' meaning to me. Although I had a week to prepare, the only thing I thought of before Sunday was about humility. I knew I wanted to share something about how humble His birth was but I couldn't decide. I continued to think about it all week but then even Sunday morning I only had fragments of ideas (D&C 84:85). By sacrament meeting, the third hour, I had a plan. I scribbled it out while we sat on the bench to pass the sacrament and then slipped it into my classy English slim suit.

I briefly explained that when I was a child Christmas meant the same thing for me as it did for most kids. It's all about the presents! Then I illustrated how I slowly learnt the joy of making others happy by giving meaningful gifts, gifts of love. I proceeded to explain how the experience of Christmas as a missionary has changed it for me. Hopefully my writing can help you relate to my two main points.

Christ's birth is the epitome of humility.

His mother and His mother's husband were each descendants of King David. He was fit to be a king. The Jewish people anxiously awaited their Messiah to come in glory to establish the kingdom. He would establish peace (Isaiah 9:6). But who would the King of Heaven and Earth first be manifested to? People in authority of the church or kings? Neither, the first to know were shepherds watching over their flocks by night.

There was a massive influx in population due to the laws of the census being taken, so all of the inns were full. He was born in a manger for animals, but it's likely not even a wooden structure but a limestone cave commonly used in the area (Jesus the Christ, James E. Talmage, p.69). He was wrapped in rough, cheap, swaddling clothes. The contrast between His birth and how it would have happened to a newborn prince at the time is dramatic.

He continued to live his life in perfect humility. Although He would perform the most important event for all of mankind, his life was never one of glory. He walked with the poor, the sick, and the afflicted. Gaining an understanding for His humility has helped me understand how I should treat my calling as a representative of Him. I wear His name but that should make me even more humble if anything.

Another main connection I made was how true the Book of Mormon is (#mormonmissionary). The law of witnesses states, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" (2 Corinthians 13:1). There are TWO books that prophesied of Christ's coming. Isaiah prophesies in the Old Testament. Nephi, King Benjamin, Alma, and Samuel prophesy of His coming in the Book of Mormon.

In the birth story, the shepherds are the Old Testament. They were sent to tell all the people but without a second witness, some people might not believe their tale. The wise men, or kings from another land, are the Book of Mormon. It clarifies and testifies of truth. I'm not sure if that made sense but it was like a light bulb went on for me. I was really excited! haha

I will miss you all this week but I am grateful for your support. I know you love me. I appreciate the cards, mail, and Christmas ornaments. If the parcel with the tree in it would arrive I might hang them up... haha! I also want to thank Heather and the Mattingleys for each sending me FHE ideas about how modern Christmas items remind us of Christ. I was sceptical when the first one came but the second witness testified of truth. ;) Dang missionary jokes are dry... 

Anyway, I am blessed to be away from home for Christmas to learn more of it's meaning, and appreciate Christmas more in the future. That'll be here in the blink of an eye though because it feels like I just flew out last week. Skype ya later!


Elder Price

Monday, December 15, 2014

How can I be lonely when I'm never alone? 12/15/14

Christmas is coming!
The mission was able to attend the temple in three different shifts this week. We left Wednesday, took a bus to Totnes and a train to Plymouth where our zone would get picked up to go to the temple. The coach had to go pick up the Bristol Zone on the way their so we arrived at the temple accommodations around ten. We had breakfast in the morning, checked out, bought some stuff at the Distribution Centre, and then Elder Oleson and I went and found a picnic table to study at on the temple grounds. It was serene. 

The Lord blessed me with a special tender mercy in the temple. Coincidences are mini miracles and this was a small miracle to help me recognise the potential our investigators have. Earlier in the week I was thinking about how sad it is how many members go inactive, so this reminded me how much influence one baptism can do.

There were multiple variables that had to align in order for this to happen. We were queued up after changing and a few missionaries in front of me left to go use the toilets. Then the temple worker that I was supposed to see had to step out for a moment. I went in and when he heard my last name he asked where I was from. He started to say, "Do you know..." and whenever people say this I just think they have no idea how many members are in Utah, but then he said the name of my father's older brother that served in England I knew it was him. Brother Broad explained that my uncle baptised him years before. We embraced for a few moments. It was an emotional experience. He wasn't regularly working that week but he was filling in for someone, the one day of the year that I would be there. Amazing!

After we went through the temple we had a big missionary dinner together. We sang carols with bells and had a devotional from President. We left a little bit later than planned to get home. Then there was traffic, construction, weather, and it took forever to get back. We took a midnight train with our district back toward our area (Newton Abbot) where we stayed the night. The train broke down so we didn't end up getting there until 2:30. Because there wasn't transport that late we had to walk the sister missionaries to the senior couple's flat to stay the night. We were really tired and everything was starting to get funny. It was ridiculous really. Elder Oleson forgot his bag with his rain jacket so he got soaked walking to Elder and Sister McBride's flat. We get there and E Oleson stands by the doorbell intercom all dramatically and says, "This is going to make it all worth it." He has ongoing friendly banter with Elder McBride, so when the confused Irish voice finally answers the doorbell E Oleson shouts, "TOP OF THE MORNIN TO YA!" In a fairly accurate Irish voice.
  "Who is this?" the Irishman responded.
  "Who do you think it is?" still in an Irish accent.
  "Well it sounds like Elder Oleson. What are you doing here are this hour?"
  "I'm wondering the same thing Elder McBride!"
When you're tired things get funnier but this was the most hilarious thing! You guys probably aren't going to think it's even funny but I couldn't stop laughing. It probably helps if you know the people too. I wish I had it on video.

Once upon a time, Elder Oleson left me on a bus this week... He stood up and thought another man that stood up and got off with him was me. When he stepped off and turned around the door shut, the bus drove off, and he saw me still sitting in my seat. When I noticed he wasn't on the bus I panicked! The other people on the bus probably thought I was a loon when I frantically hit the stop button and looked around to see if he was messing with me. Unluckily, the next stop was a couple blocks away, but luckily we just met up between the stops. I felt insanely alone walking down a busy street in the rain and the dark. Being stuck together drives me nuts sometimes but I don't want to get separated again!

Among all this we managed to squeeze in a little missionary work too. We got in more lessons this week than last week so it was pretty good.

Love,   Elder Price

Monday, December 8, 2014

Everyday you write a page of your autobiography.‏  Dec 8, 2014

This week I had an amazing opportunity to be humbled. We'll see if I can get my point across clearly. “A” and “T”are in a bit of a financial crisis. They're working with a support worker to help “A” find a good job. “A” got a job and worked two days and then came to a baptism on Friday. The Spirit was strong enough at the baptism to compel “T” to admit she wants to be baptised (I think she did all along) and “A” to question his new job because they had him scheduled to work the next few Sundays. He had us say a prayer with him to help him know what to do. My head was buzzing when we knelt in prayer. Afterwards I told him to read the Work and Personal Responsibility chapter of Gospel Principles and to talk to the bishop before making a decision.

I decided to fast for them to receive guidance in their hard situation. Before church started I was a bit surprised to see “A” walk into the building. Him skipping work meant that he would lose that job and probably upset the support worker. I found out he hadn't read the chapter or talked to the bishop. It was wrong of me but I thought he was being irresponsible.

He was stressed throughout church, which was understandable. He was acting quite English and being sour in the lessons. Then when testimony meeting came around the Spirit was so strong it pushed that pessimistic attitude all the way out of the building. He bore a smashing testimony about the Sabbath day and obedience.

Later Sunday evening we were over at their flat for a lesson. Toward the end of it “A” got a call and I was confident it was bad news. We watched his face slowly light up and discovered he had been offered a better job!!! He'll work more and get paid more. I was so humbled for thinking he should've gone to work that day. I got out missionaried!

The point of this story, there is power in prayer and fasting. Blessings are preceded by obedience and us asking for the blessing in prayer. I love you and happy Christmas!

Elder Price

PS tweet, share, favourite, link, post, blog, etc. He is the Gift.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Well the church is true.‏  12/1/14

-Just read the Book of Mormon already, I dare you.
-christmas.mormon.org. Share the gift.


Over the last week we have had a few ups and downs. Something was just off Monday through Wednesday. Elder Oleson and I each had to deal with little colds and while we weren't feeling well the first two things that became hard were exercise and waking up on time. We had to go to Plymouth for a leadership meeting Wednesday and I was feeling like such a waster. We had to leave early and skip exercise and study and I felt like I used my sore throat as an excuse to sleep while Elder Oleson was in the shower. When your day starts off bad, everything is miserable. It took me until later that evening to try and get on my game. I had to get on my knees and beg for the Spirit back. I knew I didn't have it with me very strong all morning because I did not deserve it and I didn't ask for it. 

The Spirit is everything as a missionary. I don't think I knew how to listen to it before my mission, or even how to recognise when I was feeling it for that matter. I think the biggest difference has been daily Book of Mormon study. And praying each time to know what I have studied is true has helped me so much. Sometimes I think it's mad how much my testimony has grown in such a short period of time!

My testimony of the gospel is simple. I know, without a doubt, three key principles that serve as a solid foundation to build upon. First, God is our Father and he loves us so he sent his Son. Next, Jesus Christ atoned for us due to his unfailing love for all mankind. The final thing I can say I know, not just believe but really know, is that the Book of Mormon is true.

As I have learnt about these things I have come to believe that we can develop a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. Through study of families, scriptures, and personal experiences I understand that he wants to build that relationship with me, but it is my choice to act. I learnt that our Redeemer suffered for all of our afflictions as well as our sins.

I have learnt that because the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith must be a prophet, and this is the church of Jesus Christ restored in latter days. All of my other concerns about the history of the church or the gospel can be brushed aside because I know the Book of Mormon is true, which means that God is directing this church. Once one can understand this they can trust that God has a reason for everything and following our prophets and priesthood leaders becomes a lot easier. We don't need to understand everything because we have that trust. Many details aren't vital to our salvation anyway.

I promise that no matter what stage you are in your life, reading the Book of Mormon daily will bless you beyond measure. Joseph Smith explained, "[The Book of Mormon] is the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other book."

I think I told you to read it last week too... haha! Missionary status to the max.

“C” played the organ in sacrament meeting for the youth to sing "As Zion's Youth in Latter Days." She even came back from her holiday in London early to play it. Once she learns the Book of Mormon is true she's going to be so solid it's nuts. She also prayed in front of me for the first time yesterday so that was fun. She still did her little Catholic cross thing but I'm not too bothered yet.

With “T” we tried to help her understand the importance reading the Book of Mormon (something I think I'm getting good at). She already "thinks" the church is true but she hasn't put the effort into finding out if the BOM is. We read the title page, introduction and all the things before 1 Nephi with her. Which, by the way, is really cool. If you haven't read all of that, I recommend trying to learn and understand it. I'll tutor you when I get home if you want because once you grasp that, reading it becomes fun. Anyway, once she understood the overarching plot better and started to see how excited I was about it, she decided she'd give it a go. She asked if it's really clenching if it's okay if she reads more than a chapter a day. It took a lot of thought but we gave her permission to read as much as she wants.

We're working with a few others a little bit but its off and on with them usually. The work continues to move forward, slowly. You need to be patient but persistent. We're finding through the new "He is the Gift" initiative. If you haven't heard of it you need to go to christmas.mormon.org right now and watch the two minute video. Then watch it one more time and think of two people to share it with. Their background honestly doesn't matter because it's so ace. If you can hear my typing you'd understand how enthusiastic I am about this new promotion. It's unreal! It's similar to last Easter's "Because of Him." They bought loads of adverts in Times Square and they bought the main YouTube ads this Sunday! Someone will have to let me know how that is.

Well I used all my email time bearing my testimony so I'll have to write you all next week. Love you!

Elder Price