iHola Mi Familia y Amigos!
What's up everybody! How's everything out in that big cold world? I'll tell you what, although our outside time is limited in the MTC, it has been a surprisingly warm January, as in no snow (although it's supposed to tonight) and I am comfortable sometimes in no jacket. But how are you guys? I'm glad Ryan's team finally got off that losing streak, keep those updates coming I love those. I heard through the grapevine that Kobe had 40+ in 5 straight games? Thats #swagga. Lauren, I got your Christmas present and I absolutely love it! Everyone here is envious of it! It is so awesome I love it so much, congrats on the Science Quiz Bowl and have an awesome time in Vegas. Can't wait to hear more about Pops and Dancing with the Stars. haha That'll be one for the ages for sure. Dad v. David. #TeamDavid # SorryPops.
This week was seriously so awesome. Since we have virtually the same exact schedule everyday some of the days run together but this week was seriously awesome. Every Sunday and Tuesday there are devotionals that everyone attends. This Sunday's talk was good although I don't remember who gave it. After Sunday devotionals they have like 6 options of previous talks or church movies that you and your companion can attend. This week we went to a talk by Elder Holland that he gave at the MTC a while ago. It was one of the all time greats for sure. One thing he said that I love was, "The reason this work is hard is because Salvation is no cheap gift, not for you and not for those who you teach, YOU HAVE TO EARN IT! It was never easy for the Savior so why should it be for us?" It was a great talk for sure. Tuesday devotionals are always the General Authority speakers. Guess who it was this week dad? Elder Kevin Duncan of the Seventy. I tried to get up to the stand and talk to him after, but he was gone too quick. If you get the chance, tell him I loved his talk. He and his wife both spoke on the changes that occur for missionaries over the course of their service. The thing that hit me during his talk wasn't something he said, it was a thought I had as he spoke. The thought was: People search their entire lives for a cause or a work that they truly love and that they can dedicate themselves to; I am fortunate to have found the ultimate labor of love and joy at a young age and I want to be sure that over these next two years I give 100% of myself to it. It was a great talk.
And it kind of segways right into what I want to share next. This week Hermana Colverwell (one of our 2 teachers) gave a lesson on prayer. She showed a video of a convert who was willing to join the church and give up her friends, image, and past way of life, but she needed to know that the church was true. She prayed to our Father in Heaven to know and got her answer in the affirmative. As I watched it reminded me so much of Alma 22:18 (I think) where King Lamoni's father is praying and says to our Lord, "Manifest thyself to me and I will give away all my sins to know thee" I love that passage. What great faith that displays. She then gave a lesson with roleplay where she was the missionary and she taught an "investigator" how to pray. At that time and for the rest of the night I experienced what was probably the strongest spirit I have ever felt in my life. I felt what I would describe as joy. I dont know exactly what did it, but it was the greatest feeling in the world, Elder Parry and I taught our best lesson yet to an "investigator" that night, it was just a great night. You hear R.M.s all the time talk about how much they loved their missions and how happy they were, and I am convinced that is the feeling. It is joy. It's that feeling when the spirit manifests the truth of something you have taught to an investigator, or when they pray. Joy is incredible, and I'm sure the magnitude of it and how often it occurs will only increase as my mission progresses. Joy is the feeling that we can have for eternity in the presence of our Father in Heaven if we do what is right. Joy is what our Father in Heaven wants us all to have in this life and the next, and as we as missionaries take this message of the restored gospel to all the world, more people can experience it. It is truly a blessing to be on a misison.
Last thing before I go, Miles, Hadley, Colin, Brady, Trevor, Bryce, John, Maka, Bisciut and all my other boys leaving soon: Learn to take advantage of and love the time for personal study you get while on your mission. It is incredible! It may be hard to focus at first but pray for the ability to focus and it will come. One thing I learned this week from it is an awesome quote from M. Russel Ballard's Our Search For Happiness. It reads: "That's the way it is when Jesus Christ becomes a reality in your life. It isn't that He somehow makes you do things that you wouldn't do otherwise. Rather, you find yourself wanting to do what He would do and respond as He would respond in an effort to bring your life into harmony with His. And an interesting thing happens whenever you attempt to place your feet in Christ's footsteps. If you really concentrate on trying to walk the way He walked-- loving, caring,serving, and obeying each step of the way- one day you'll look up and discover that His path has led you directly to the throne of God."
I love you all so much. Thank you all for your letters, love and support. I love each of you and your letters more than you know. Stay Strong, #143 and of course #JakeHeaps