We had a last meeting yesterday. It was 8 hours long and was primarily about preparing to enter into the mission field and how to have an positive attitude about it. I learned a few important things that I wish to share
1. The best way to share the gospel is through members. But you have to have the trust of the members in your area. If they don't trust that you will represent Christ and they see you acting improperly, how will you bring the Spirit of Christ into the lesson.
2. The second thing I learned at this meeting was how to tell if you are a "successful" missionary. The teacher summed it up in one sentence. " Did you leave the Ward/Branch better off than when you first arrived there. Did you change the ward for the better.
I had a spiritual experience that I would like to share.
We were having a lesson taught by a teacher. He was in his late 30's and from what he said he had a family. He wore glasses and was balding, he still had some hair on the top of his head. I was sitting in the front row. He would walk back and forth and I looked at him. His clothes were too big for him, his shoes were scuffed and worn, and his belt was badly falling apart. He didn't seem to have much money. This man was our teacher for a good 5 hours of the day. I knew him and the stories he told. I had a feeling in the back of my head " give him your belt". I thought if I did that then it would just be awkward. So I ignored it. Then i had the same feeling " give him your belt". I finally decided to follow the prompting and slid my belt of quietly. After the meeting ended with the prayer, I went up to him and noted that he looked like my waist size and that he was in need of a new belt. I handed my belt over to him. He looked at me and thanked me sincerely.
Why do I tell this story? The Gospel of Christ teaches us that when "We are in the service of our fellow beings, we are in the service of our God." I know that when I help others. When i serve others, that is when I am the happiest in my life. That is why I am on my mission. When I serve others I obtain JOY. When I serve myself I only obtain pleasure. There are two ways to have happiness in this life pleasure and joy. When one is selfish and makes oneself happy, that is pleasure. But when you make others happy, when you serve others not yourself you receive JOY. Joy blesses both parties. It is the feeling of a parent when they give for their child and the feeling afterwards is an experience that you can't describe.
As this letter goes out through email/blog/facebook. I want my family, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, acquaintances to all know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know it by the words it contains. I know by the feeling I have while I read it. I invite all of you to investigate the Mormon Church and read the Book of Mormon and see how it can bless your lives. Talk to the Mormon missionaries for I am one. When you talk to them it is the same as talking to me, I wish I could teach all of you but I am assigned to West Virginia. Know that I love you and that your Father in Heaven loves you as well.
Elder Eric Kochenderfer