Dear Elders and Sisters,
We had a wonderful conference this weekend in Providence with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland! During one of the meetings, Elder Holland mentioned the power of words. When God created the universe, he used words. When we make covenants, we use sacred words. When we invoke the priesthood, we do so with words. Words are the most powerful tool we have.
Yet, words do have their limitations. If someone tries to explain what a morning cup of coffee tastes like, those of us who have never tasted coffee will not really understand. This is because words themselves do not generate understanding in a vacuum. (Even if you have tasted coffee, we have no way of knowing whether we actually experience the same taste. Have you ever wondered about that? We have all been taught that the sky is blue, but do we really know that the “blue” that I see is the same “blue” that you see?) The point is, if we are going to teach or learn anything new, we have to use language, but our language only communicates meaning if it triggers knowledge or experiences that are shared by both the teacher and the learner. For example, we can tell you what it is like to love a child, but you younger missionaries can only process that concept through the lens of a child – not as a parent. You will not truly understand until you have your own children. Each one you will have difficulty using words to explain what happened when you cried out to God for forgiveness and felt His love and acceptance wash over you. Those of us who have lost loved ones in death can’t really use words to communicate the profound comfort that the temple ordinances and our faith in Christ brings to us. Moreover, words don’t adequately explain what “spiritual experiences” feel like or, more importantly, what they mean, and words don’t fully explain God’s love, His acceptance, or His fullness. Doctrine can be explained with language, but true comprehension of spiritual matters comes through experience – personal, individual experience. As Ammon explained: “I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.” (Alma 26: 16). Elder Boyd K. Packer is fond of saying that he cannot teach us most of what he knows. Paul said it this way: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:13–14.) If we are trying to teach someone who does yet understand the things of God, or if we are trying to understand spiritual truth ourselves, words fail us miserably because we are trying to explain something that is learned primarily through experience. When it comes to the deep things of God, we are unable to learn or teach very much on our own. However, we can connect ourselves to the True Vine! (John 15:5). Christ can and does teach people every day in a way that transcends language or even human thought. With His infinite mind and through His Spirit, He speaks directly to our souls and gives us the capacity to comprehend things that we could not naturally comprehend. Christ also gives people what they need to understand – experiences through His Spirit that communicate what words cannot.
We are grateful that all of you are learning the language of the Spirit and the critical role it plays in your spiritual education. We pray that you will teach others how to look for and receive the same Spirit and to rely on Christ to help us learn through Him what we cannot learn on our own.
President and Sister Packard
I loved presidents letter! This is something that I have used a lot in lessons when I just can't find the words and I have gotten so many reactions of, "I know right!? There are never the right words that I can use to describe!" :)
He who must not be named has been hitting everyone pretty hard lately and considering the amount of good that is happening in this Mission and you all are doing he must be getting really scared. It feels like a crazy angry toddler let loose on everyone. We have been talking a lot on ways we can improve and "Kick satan to the curb" as we said before. ;) (I will never Capitalize his name so don't fix it!)
We got our home blessed by a priesthood holder in our ward. The spirit was so strong and I knew that that was something we needed so badly. Then we changed our prayers to be more specific in praying for each other even when it's a prayer for the food. :)
We have had so many Tender Mercies! The Lord is so sweet to us! :)
One of them is this:
I followed a prompting!!! We went to visit a less active but she wasn't home so as we were about to leave the apt. complex Sister Scott had the urge to play a hymn on a piano that they had in the Lobby so she did. :) There was a kid sitting on the couch and a man sitting at a table. Now you see, I have been working on being more courageous in following promptings to talk to people and that has been what I have been praying for and as you know... Faith without Works is dead! After Sister Scott finished, I had a moment where I could have left with her and not followed the prompting..but.. I told myself, "Stop making this so hard for your self!!!" I turned around and gave the kid a card then as we were walking away the guy at the table asked which one of us was playing the piano and I responded to him that it was Sister Scott as I pointed to her. He was intrigued by the "Sister" and asked us what we did. We told him that we were Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints and gave a brief summary of what we do and then asked him if he would like to hear more...He responded 'Yes" enthusiastically then told us to take a seat with him at the table...'Oh!...Ok!!!" :D
We talked a lot and he is a very spiritual guy but of course he has some things that he believes that are his own. We are really excited to teach him and he even told us to not forget him and call him to make another appointment! We hope that doing our best and helping him to feel the power of the Spirit will fill his heart and that he will want to be Baptized. :)
I'm So excited for this Friday when we will get to see Elder Holland Speak!!! I am still trying to pick out what I will wear! ^^
Love you a Million battles won!!!
Sister Patterson :)
Some of it is from the Zone P-Day we had after Mothers Day! We made t-shirts and now we have Springfield Zone Zion! ;)
The others are from the P-day activities :) haha!
and then the birds nest with the eggs in it hatched!!! they are kind of ugly...haha!