My Testimony has grown so much stronger while I've been here in England for the last 3 and a half months. This week was fast Sunday and right after the bishop bore his testimony I stood up to bear mine. I have knocked on so many doors and talked to so many people this past while, and of course all of the conversations inevitably turn towards one question, that being; ''Do you believe in God''. I have had countless people tell me ''no'' and try to explain to me why and how God is a creation of the human mind and is only in place to control people's actions. They say that religion is in place to control people. They say ''if God existed, there wouldn't be all these bad things going on the world, like hunger and plague and war and terrorism and turmoil''. They say that bad if God existed he would stop it all, if he really loved us he would end it all. This, they say, is their proof to me that God doesn't exist.
I understand why all these people feel this way, I really do. But, nonetheless I know that God is real. I know that he is more than a God, he is my loving heavenly father and he has a plan for me. People often tell me that they have a hope that God exists, but they don't believe he does. I also have a hope that God exists, but my hope led to more than just a hope. I acted upon the hope. I read the book of Mormon. I went to church. I prayed and asked God if he is real. This week a few days ago, I finished again reading through the Book of Mormon, and I read of course, the promise that the final prophet in the book of Mormon, Moroni, makes in Moroni chapter 10 verse 3-5.
It says that if you pray and you ask God with a sincere heart and with real intent (which basically means that you will be willing to act upon the answer you get) he WILL manifest the truth of himself, and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon unto YOU by the power of the Holy Ghost, who's main role is to testify of eternal Truth.
I did this. Like Joseph Smith the prophet of the Restoration in this dispensation did, I knelt down and prayed to God and asked if these things are true, and I received a very strong witness of it's truthfulness. I know even more so now that God is real. I know this because I took that hope and I acted upon it, and it grew into a faith, which is similar to a belief. That faith however, because I took action and prayed to know if my faith was a reality, has transformed into a knowledge. I know that God is real. I know that his Son Jesus Christ is our savior and redeemer. I know that through him I can return to live with my heavenly father and receive all that he has.
So like you mom, I have been thinking a lot about faith. About MY faith. Why I have it, how I have it, what I need to do now that I have it.
During missionary service many things are continually shaken within me. My work ethic is sometimes shaken. My attitude is sometimes shaken. My resolve is sometimes shaken. My obedience is sometimes shaken. My teaching and speaking skills are sometimes shaken. But my TESTIMONY is and hopefully never ever will be shaken. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's kingdom here on earth, and it was established by Jesus Christ and prophets of old, and restored here again in these the latter days by the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that this church contains the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and contains the proper Priesthood authority (God's authority) to administer in all the saving ordinances required for us to return to God and, just like Jesus Christ has spoken of, to become Perfect, even as He and Our Father in Heaven is Perfect.
It's going really well here with Elder Faingata'a. He talks a lot less than Elder Jaeger. And in lessons I talk most of the time, but then he comes in and Testifies like a boss. We're doing awesome.
Story: last night Elder Wright and Shreve went to the bishop's for tea w/ Sarah, and then they took Sarah home. This morning there was a knock on our door and it was Sarah, who had lost her keys and stayed up all night sitting in the streets because she didn't want to bother anyone. So we made here breakfast and hot chocolate and now she is here with us in the library while we e-mail because she still cant get into her house. So I'll let you know how that goes next week.
Also yes we went to Sis. Thompson's with Vida and she LOVED it. She is doing really well, she came to church again yesterday. She has a big problem with alcohol, I'm not sure if I've explained it before, but she has a really hard time because alcohol was a coping mechanism for her to relieve pain and heartache after she was kicked out of her house and was homeless, and later when she was severely beaten and abused. So she is going to start coming with us to the Addiction Recovery Program at the church with us this week to try to get over it. She is hesitantly scheduled for baptism on the 21st of February but I don't know if she'll be able to stop drinking. She really really wants to be baptized though.
Just a bit about some other people we're teaching. There's a guy named Leroy who has been in and out of prison pretty much his whole life. he has a really big family lots of siblings and one is a member in Leeds. He feels however alienated from his family because he was absent from their lives for so long. He also was a heroin user and is over that now but has to take other drugs to keep himself from using heroin again. (methadone I think it's called). Anyway we teach him once a week but he is really struggling. He's been investigating for 3 years, pretty much since he got out of prison and moved up here.
Also there's another dude named Craig who has a similar story but is super chill. Elder Jaeger and I talked to him on the street once and he basically invited us to his moms house for Sunday dinner. He is on parole and has a curfew of 7pm so we see him any night we want. he's in his 40's but addicted to various substances but knows its bad and wants to stop and loves the book of Mormon. Multiple times though we've been teaching him while he rolls a joint in front of us. He's cool though. He's really Geordie he always says ''aye'' ''spot on, spot on'' ''yaright lads?'' '' stay lucky'' ''aye thats champion'' ''tada lads(goodbye)'' its really funny. ''spot on dudes''. ''i divina like'' Geordie man.....
I have had a very spiritual week. I'm reading through the Gospels in the New Testament and I love it. Jesus Christ is perfect and I am trying to be more like him every day. It's champion mate.
With Vida and Elder Faingata'a