Something that stood out to me this week in my studies was Isaiah 41:10. It was the inspiration for one of the verses of How Firm a Foundation. I really love the powerful words of "Fear thou not; for I am with thee... for I am thy God". It makes me think of "Be still and know that I am God." All things are in his control and I need not worry about every little thing. In the words of President Gordon B Hinckley, "It will all work out".

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I learned this week of the importance and power of grace.

January 12, 2015

This week has been a really good week.

We had a special zone conference on Tuesday about our goals.  Last year we had set a very high goal that we did not achieve but President Choi explained that the goals we set last year were to help us raise our vision and "push against the rock" to build our strength.  He expressed that this year is the time for us to actually move the "rock".  It was an intense meeting.  After the meeting, we began an exchange with our Zone Leaders.  This is when I met Elder Carpenter.  I can best describe him as a Mormon Garrett.  He's great!  I was able to learn a lot from him and he was able to teach me as well.  It was during this exchange that we determined we wanted to be roommates haha.  Anyway, we were able to involve Jing with a lesson and she truly caught the spirit of missionary work!!  She loved being involved and sharing her testimony! It was a successful visit, although the woman does not desire to meet with us still, Jing and her created a friendship.  Elder Carpenter and I basically sat on the couch and listened to them speak Chinese to each other.  It was pretty funny.

When we exchanged back, I saw a huge difference in Elder Pulini.  Normally zone leaders don't exchange with normal missionaries because that is the responsibility of the district leader and the zone leaders generally exchange with each district leader of the zone.  Yet, the zone leaders felt a need to exchange and I am very grateful for it.  Elder Pulini came back from the exchange with a resolve to be exactly obedient and he has been.  We have seen quite a bit of success this week!  It was truly amazing to see the change in him.  We were able to work effectively together.  We taught 23 total lessons this week, which is the highest we've seen in this area in a few months.  It was more than a 33% increase!  It was truly phenomenal.  We were able to bring many members out with us as well.
On Thursday, we had a cleaning check from our housing coordinators and then another surprise one from the Assistants.  We are truly being hammered on our cleanliness, because that made 4 in 6 days.  I might say it was a tad much, but I understand the importance of keeping a clean apartment because a clean apartment brings the spirit.  We don't just do it because someone is going to check it.
I learned this week of the importance and power of grace.  As defined in the bible dictionary, grace is "divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ".  I truly experienced the enabling power of grace this week.  I witnessed it in the change in Elder Pulini and I felt it myself in another incident spanning Saturday night to Sunday afternoon.  It was a distinct incident that has helped me understand the power of the enabling power of grace through the atonement of Christ.  A few weeks ago, we had a zone training where we were asked to remember a time when we had felt the cleansing power of the atonement and a time when we had felt the enabling power.  I could recall the former but struggled for the latter.  I have since began studies of that enabling power and I was able to recognize it Sunday afternoon as Elder Pulini and I sat down to overcome an intense argument that had driven a wedge into our companionship.  We felt that enabling power and changed what could have destroyed our companionship into something that built our relationship and actually strengthened it.  I am grateful for that experience.
I hope you have had an amazing week!  Sorry for emailing so late, we had a mission activity this morning and then we decided to visit the Microsoft visitors center.  That was pretty cool.  I love you!!
Elder Connor M. Garriss


pics: Elder Pulini doing a handstand and me posing on the docks in the park on Pine Lake.

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