Monday, May 5, 2014

The Three Lighthouses

Next week will be Jacoby's last email from Ecuador as a missionary.  If you want to write him one last email, send it before May 12th, because that will be his last day to check emails.
Also, if you would like to hear Jacoby report on his mission, he will be speaking in church on Sunday May 25th, at 11:00am. It will be at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 4300 Dale Road, Modesto, CA.
Thank you for the love and support that you have shown him throughout his mission!
Elder Remington's Mother

Family and Friends,

We had a tender baptism this week of Alejandrina Loor. She is the mother of two less active sisters and grandmother of several less active children. Her family was a referral of a ward missionary and when we first met them all she wasn't interested at all. The first few times she wouldn't even join us in the lessons or is she did she'd hardly say a word or just tell us that she was Catholic and wouldn't change and that was that. We pretty much wrote her off and focused on other people. Then one we went to their house to teach her daughters to reactivate them but they had left and Alejandrina was the only one home. My seasoned, calculating, and efficient mind told me that teaching her would be a waste of time and her odds of progressing were very low thus our time would be better spent teaching other investigators with greater odds of progressing.... but the Spirit gently touched my heart and I had the subtle feeling that we should stay and give her a chance... so we stayed. We listened to her. We showed genuine interest, love, and concern. She opened up to us. She shared that her husband had been unfaithful and left her for another woman several years ago and that she was sad and lonely. We also detected that she greatly lacked confidence and felt timid about participating in our lessons not because of a lack of interest but because she didn't know how to read and felt embarrassed about it and nervous that we might call on her to read and she wouldn't be able to do so. We shared our love for her and taught her of the love our Savior and Heavenly Father have for her and that they're always there to help her as she turns to them. We read and analyzed the doctrine of Christ in 2 Nephi 31 with her and I felt the distinct impression (I had never done it before) to testify to her and promise here that if she was faithful and obedient to God that in this life or the next He would bless her with a good and faithful husband that would love, cherish, and respect her and she could be with him for all time and eternity. We taught that God is merciful and just and He won't rob her of any of the blessings of exaltation if she is faithful and does her part. A gleam of hope brightened in her eyes as she listened to us teach and testify. We set a baptismal date for May 3rd in that very first lesson and she accepted tentatively. Day by day she became more and more comfortable with the idea and after a week she was excited to be baptized. It was a lovely experience and lovely baptismal service :) I love this work and I'm grateful for those gently promptings of the Holy Ghost to guide us to the elect of God because we'd be lost without them.

Last week, my great friend Sister Walker sent me some wonderful advice that I felt inspired to share with you all, Now you are approaching the last leg of this part of your life. In track, when you run a distance, there is something to be said for pacing yourself, for keeping yourself strongly in the race, but remembering you needed to save something for the end.  Now you are to the point where you thought you were already giving it all, but you can dig a little deeper and give a little more.

Thank you Sister Walker! What a great thought and solid analogy. To be completely honest two years of working hard all day really does tire the body, mind, and spirit haha a LOT! Of course it is a good tired, a happy tired in a positive way but its tiring nonetheless and there have been days where my body begs for rest and a long nap seems so appealing... BUT that's when we really show the Lord what we're made of and just how much we love Him and just how dedicated we are to His work. Anyone can work hard and positive when they feel well rested and there's a nice breeze and there are lots of investigators progressing and things are going great. Its when you're rejected, all your appointments fail, you're tired, hungry, and the sun is blazing hot... that's when it really takes diligence and heart to keep going with a smile and faith and hope in the Lord. When we do so the Lord helps us and when we kneel and ask for the strength to keep going, He hears and answers. Its not always the answer that we want but its always the answer that we need. As we trust in Him and work our hardest things work out. Several times this week these words from Sister Walker came to mind and helped me work even harder.

There are many of you who are probably wondering why I put the title of Three Lighthouses and if that means I went to the beach or something like that haha lighthouse is faro in Spanish and it has a bit of a different meaning in Spanish. Our beloved President Amaya has three "lighthouses" (that's the literal translation but it'd be more like the three keys or three fundamentals) of the mission that are the key to success that he always teaches us. I'd like to share them with you all. 

1. Concentrate your mind on the mission. Don't have a girlfriend to distract you, don't think about home, don't get absorbed in thinking about what you're going to buy or do or see on p-day, avoid all distractions, and stay focused always 100% on your investigators and your work as a missionary. Have a balance of being fun and happy yet focused and obedient. 

2. Submerge yourself in Preach My Gospel. There are many good things to read and study and focus on during the mission but the most important, most relevant, and thing that will most help you grow as a missionary is PMG. Love it, study it, live it. Every single day study it for at least 20-40 minutes and if you want for the whole hour. Do the activities. Look up and ponder on the scriptures. Watch and analyze the videos. Be a PMG missionary. President teaches that you know you're a PMG missionary if the Holy Ghost whispers parts of PMG to your heart and mind at times. Its happened to me on several occasions and its a great feeling. PMG really is the most important and it sets a foundation for the rest of our life. 

3. Have your Mission Purpose in between your eyebrows. In all that you do be focused on bringing souls unto Christ. Put baptismal dates in the first lesson without fear. Always think about how to better improve your sector and bring more souls unto Christ. Every lesson and everything you do should be focused on completing with your missionary purpose. 

Many months ago in a car ride with President Amaya I asked him for specific feedback on how I could improve as his assistant. He chuckled and repeated to me the three lighthouses and said "Elder if you have the three things down then all the rest will take care of itself. Focus on those three things and that's all." At that time I was a little bit let down because I wanted something a little more specific but I now realize that his answer was very wise and that those three lighthouses really are key and as I've developed and perfected them more and more during the mission since that car ride its brought me more and more success. 

I love you all!

Elder Remington