Monday, January 26, 2015

Real Intent

Hey everybody!

Good week this week, and a pretty tough one to sum up...we had two exchanges, I was with Elder Lattin on Tuesday and Elder Mosley on Friday, which made for lots of fun. They're both really sweet guys, and awesome missionaries, and Elder Mosley came into the mission at the same time as me, so it was cool to see how much he's grown. Unfortunately, however, he got kind of sick from the clams and shrimp we ate at a Chinese member's house that night...

Things are going really well here in Luxembourg lately! The work's really been picking up, and I really know the members well. I feel like I'm having the most fun of my mission, while doing the most good. It's just a wonderful feeling!

You guys asked what I would say to an investigator who had diligently read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it and felt nothing. There are a lot different things that could be keeping someone from receiving an answer, I guess. We can say that the answer doesn't always come as quickly or in the way that we want. God accomplishes his works in His time, and that time is not always our own. I've seen people receive an answer, or at least, to me it seemed that they had received it, but they just hadn't or wouldn't realize it. Personally, I like to focus on making sure that the person understands what is meant by "real intent". That phrase is really the key for me. One of the General Authorities that came and visited us talked a lot about that. "Real intent" doesn't just mean that we really want to receive an answer, or that we pray really hard or really long. It means that we are ready to act in accordance with the answer that we receive. On my mission, the number one thing that has stopped people from receiving an answer that they were praying to have was simply that they weren't ready to put their life in accordance with the answer they were trying to receive. Obviously, someone is much better off if they don't have any drug or alcohol or law of chastity problems that they need to give up, but maybe there are some other little things, things that we all have, that keep one close to, but not 100% on the path towards our Father. Another part of real intent is consistency. I think doing really well by reading scriptures often and trying to obey the commandments and doing the little things we are asked to do also can help. All of these things, combined with sincere, fervent, consistent prayer, show to the Lord our sincerity and desire to have the great blessing that is a confirmation of our testimony. 

Honestly, it's a pretty hard question to answer, and one that really depends on the person. It takes a lot of prayer, relfection, study, and effort to get a testimony. It's a pretty big question to ask, and something that stops a lot of people from ever reaching a testimony because they give up. But the feelings of discouragement and wanting to give up don't come from our Father. It takes diligence and hope to receive it. For some, it comes quickly, for others, it takes time. But the important thing is that the person doesn't give up. I found out a few weeks back that the guy Yannick that we used to teach in Nogent is still coming to church and still seeing the missionaries occasionally because he wants to find that answer. I had some of the most powerful spiritual confirmations of the Book of Mormon there with him in his apartment, but he never seemed to feel what I was feeling. But, despite that, he's still looking, and I know he'll find his answer one of these days.

I hope that helped a little answer your question and I hope you all enjoy a good last week of January!

Elder Bigler

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