Yesterday Elder Hyun and I were planning on visiting a couple of potential investigators at their stores, but we couldn't find one of them and on the way to the other I realized we were in the area of a previous investigator so we called and he said we could meet. This specific investigator is in his mid seventies and has met missionaries for a long long time with no progress. During our meeting we were able to get him to open up about why he has commitment problems and how he doesn't want to get baptized because he'll feel a raised responsibility to keep the commandments and keeping the commandments is hard.
After we left, Elder Hyun asked me if I felt the Spirit during the lesson. When I said that I did a little bit he asked "When did you feel it? What were we saying?" I started talking about how I don't remember exactly when, but how he shouldn't worry because it was a great lesson and he did really well. Then he took me off guard by saying:
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not worried about whether or not I did well, I'm just trying to figure out his needs so we know what to focus on next time. I asked because whatever we were saying when you felt it is what we need to focus on next time."
I assumed he was just seeking validation about how he did in the lesson, because that's what I do naturally, but he helped me remember that it's not about us. He was only focused on what our brother needed.
This specific investigator also has no problem believing the Book of Mormon or that Joseph Smith was a prophet. "Yup, that's God's word." Elder Hyun and I also discussed that phenomenon: How people can know that the Book of Mormon is true but not be motivated to do anything about it. I've had an investigator that has struggled to believe in God yet said of the Book of Mormon: "Oh yeah, there is no way Joseph Smith could have written this"
We decided it's because in these cases the knowledge is superficial, logical understanding. We can read the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith History and say "Yeah, that makes sense, I'll buy that story" that's easy, but that kind of testimony will never fuel the kind of sacrifice and dedication that true church membership requires. It may give enough motivation to keep the explicit commandments and come to church regularly, but to go beyond superficial discipleship we have to be taken by the Spirit across the bridge linking knowledge with conversion to Jesus Christ.
To allow that to take place we must prayerfully read the Book of Mormon and ponder and apply it's claims to our current situation.
Life is really good, but we are running out of investigators. It's hard to maintain faith to find sometimes.
My favorite scripture right now is in 1 Nephi 16 (I actually changed the words a little bit)
19 And it came to pass that we did return without investigators to our apartment, and being much fatigued, because of our journeying, we did suffer much for the want of investigators."
28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into a super remote part of Gwangyang, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.
31 And it came to pass that I did talk to a bunch of high-schoolers, insomuch that I did obtain investigators . . . (and they all got baptized and were deeply converted to Christ)
We actually haven't done this yet, but it's the plan for Thursday. I'll report on how it goes. :D
I love you,