Monday, February 24, 2014

Saving Souls (Week #20 in Tubuai)

Ia ora na tatou!

This week we had the splendid opportunity to travel back to Tahiti for a mission conference with Elder Russell M Nelson, Tad R Callister, as well as Elder Pearson and Elder Tarati form the Pacific Area seventy, along with all their wives. It was an awesome week, full of personal revelation, blessings, and improvement.

Since we went to Tahiti, I don't have a lot of news concerning the area here at Tubuai. The only thing I think I can say is that last week H----- and T----- got married! And today, we ran into them to find out that they no longer live on their parents' property, but they found another place to live. They are no longer under the bounds of their parents. This is a huge blessing for them! This week, we will continue to teach them and see how we can help them. They missed us this week, we could tell!

It was a good week at Tahiti for sure. First day we had a good training meeting by the assistants. Those guys are studs, such good missionaries and spiritual powerhouses. They trained us on extending commitments, and they emphasized that we must not be shy but be confident that the Spirit will lead us in how to help them and commit them. These assistants are missionaries so powerful, they commit people to baptism in the first conversation and succeed. I don't really know how they do it, but it definitely makes me wanna be more bold! Always gotta listen to the Spirit though, and be sensitive to people's feelings, we can't go around forcing people to be baptized. Really good and inspiring meeting.

The next day, we had our interviews with President Sinjoux. Its been a while since I had a good interview with him, so it was great to talk with him. He asked me how many weeks I've been out at Tubuai, and i told him about 20 or so. He then said to me, "I think its about time Elder Ball. Expect a transfer call soon." Gulp. Not sure if Im ready to leave yet, but we shall see.

We spent our week at the missionary houses at Pirae. I slept in the same bed in the same house as my first sector, definitely brought backs some memories! We went on splits with the Elders of Pirae 1, they have some great investigators. We also had the chance to see some baptisms, one from Pirae 1 and another from my first sector Pirae 2. A woman named Wina, who I taught a few times before getting transferred, was baptized. It was a great, spiritual moment, and great to witness! It was also great to be able to chat a little bit with some of the members in the ward. It felt good to be able to speak fluently with them, since before it was a little more difficult!

Then of course, we had a great mission conference with the general authorities. I don't have enough time to discuss everything they said, every talk was solid. But one talk that struck me hard was given by Sister Nelson. She told the story of Oskar Schindler, who saved some 1000 Jews from the holocaust of WWII by hiring Jewish people into his business and bribing Nazi officials with expensive items and large sums of money. In spite of saving all these people from death, after the war he recounts that he could have done more. He said he could have sold his car for 10 more Jews. He could have sold his gold pin for 2 more Jews. He had so much more material worth to give to save lives, but he didn't. He said, "I could have gotten one more person... and I didn't!"

She then made the comparison with us, the missionaries. The only difference is that our mission, though it may not appear it, is much more serious. Its not just death we're talking about; its eternal salvation that is the question. As missionaries, our time is our money. How well are we spending it? Are we really doing all we can to open our mouths, talk to everybody and bring God's children home? Or are we too distracted by the luxuries of this island paradise? Are we serving in a manner that will please our Heavenly Father in doing absolutely all that we can? Or are we serving in a manner where we will say, at the end, "I could have gotten one more person... and I didn't"? That scared the bejeebers outta me. It totally put things into perspective for me. Our job is so joyous and really is a blessing, and it brings so much happiness and is a lot of fun. But it's serious stuff as well. This is a matter of saving souls. We are the ones who must do it, it is our mission and if there are people who could have heard us but didn't because of a lack of diligence on our part, the sin is on our heads. Doctrine and Covenants section 4 says it well; "Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day."

It truly has been a great week, and I learned so much on how I can be a better missionary, a better instrument in the Lord's hands. I know the Lord has called me to the work, and I know that it is His work and His church.

That's about it for this week!

Love you all, and a faaitoito!
Elder Ball

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