Wow. I love being on a mission! It seems like every single week brings so much new knowledge that I would not trade for anything in the entire world. I love to be able to change and repent. It is so amazing that the Lord does not force us to stay in the circumstances that we live in, I think that most correction that is given from the Lord is given to those that already do the most. Someone said this week, "If you need something to get done, assign it to an already busy man." I believe that the Lord does that too, Spiritually and Physically, that if he is going to invite a man to repent, he gives the correction to an already repenting man.
Last P day we got to go and have a camping experience in Yorktown, they live in a trailer so it is just super small, but they have like 40 acres to themselves too. We built a nice little fire and found a grate in a pile of garbage so we burned off some of the ecoli and tetanus that was on it and made some deer burgers. So Good. We also had a whole ton of Smoreo's. Everyone thought that they were just the best thing that they had ever had. Me too. Me too.
We had an amazing experience with Megan this week. After about a month of not being able to get into contact enough to teach her, we finally had a lesson. I might have mentioned that a couple of weeks ago when I was emailing she called and wanted some "Boyfriend Advice" (Clearly I haven't dated in a year and a half and know everything right?" But she woke up and just felt like something wasn't right. She told us that she wanted to find herself and that her boyfriend was just not what she was needing to be doing right at the moment. She had been dating the guy for 2 years already and basically they were engaged. (I won't rant about promise rings right now... ) Basically I just talked to her for 10 minutes or so and told her what I thought, and what the churches stance was on it. Really trying not to give life advice, but I could share a bit about my experiences and stories. Anyway she got a prompting from the spirit to break up with him, this whole time she has had a hard time understanding exactly what the spirit feels like and how it directs her life. She broke up with her Boyfriend, and found out that he was stealing from the family, and cheating on her. She learned a powerful spiritual lesson that day, she had a manifestation from the spirit and upon giving up all that she had to follow that prompting she learned the "why" of following.
I feel like that is how I learn most of the time. A couple of weeks ago President sent out an email, banning all musical instruments because there had been problems in the mission. I was pretty bummed out about and decided that the rule didn't apply to me, because I had gotten his permission for mine. I was sitting there this week in Zone Conference and it hit me that I wasn't immune from the rule, and that I wasn't the exception. It wasn't a rule of Musical Instruments, it was to see, for me how I was willing to live my testimony of the Kingdom and the Keys of the Priesthood. Yall will be getting my viola probably on Wednesday. I am grateful I got to use it while I did.
We had a zone conference this week. I love Zone conferences! That is where 3 or 4 zones get together and President comes to teach us all. I don't get to interact with President basically at all so it was a rare opportunity. Meetings are alot like Thanksgiving dinners I reckon. I remember thinking that if I didn't eat a couple of years ago, for a day or so before that I would be so hungry that I would be able to eat more then I had. However, I think that my stomach shrunk and I wasn't able to eat hardly anything! Spiritual preparation before a meeting is as important to eating and expanding our ability to feast the day before the Spiritual Feast. I feel like I had prepared for this meeting more then I have ever before. I came ready to learn and soaked in everything that I could.
I learned about Revelation and it all makes so much more sense now. We act, and as we act we receive really. I always have heard people say after being invited for a calling "I will have to pray about it and get back to you." Now I realize there is really nothing to pray about, the revelation has already been received, now we are just in the mode to act!
At the end of Zone Conference he let us ask about the "Forbidden Fruit of the mission" namely. Marriage. It was hilarious to see the questions that people had about dating when none of us have dated in years. Love it. Of course I took the opportunity to ask, "What should our time table be to get married after the mission?" He looked at me and said, "Well Elder Funk, I would say more then a week, but 4 years in spiritual Suicide." I guess announcing my engagement at my homecoming talk is out of the question, but everything else is fair game. It is interesting to see what different things that we asked as we have all grown up over the past year and a half, all the Elders questions were basically hinged on how to provide, and care for a family. President gave us some guidelines on how to select a job, that WE want. One of the most important things that I got from the meeting was something that was never said. I don't reckon that God really cares to much about the minute details of our lives, in a spirit of seeking answers. I believe to me He is a God who allows us to grow. For example through every prophet since the Restoration he tells us to "Prepare and get married in the temple." Obviously he doesn't tell us "who" for a reason. More and more I begin to understand the importance of becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ, because revelation turns a person into a revelator and we are able to know completely what we should do, because we changed who we are. I don't really see Elder Holland getting down on his knees and praying about how he should do a certain task and waiting and saying... "Wow! I finally got that warm fuzzy feeling! I'm so glad, it only took me an hour! I guess now I will know that I can read the Book of Mormon for 300th time!" Fuzzy feelings are a tool I suppose, but not the freeway from where revelation flows.
The Lord wants us to make our own decisions, yes we are instructed by Alma to Cry unto the Lord in everything, and we should, but how much greater would a prayer be if we could be giving thanks 100% of the time, and asking for more strength to serve more, instead of asking of things 100% of the time and asking for strength to be grateful.
There has been so much drama here in the ward. I feel like a referee half of the time between members and we teach more about love and forgiving, so that they can repent and come back to church then we do teach restoration lessons. I am willing to do whatever the Lord directs, we have been able to see alot of Less active families come back to church these past few weeks, even though we haven't really had any success in the baptism category. All is the Lord's work, someone enduring to the end is as important as someone getting baptized.
I am so grateful that I am able to learn things from the spirit. I think now that there hasn't been anything taught from any person, when it comes to spiritual lessons. The only teacher that I have is the things that I learn from the Holy Ghost. I sometimes wonder why I have to be so hard headed but I know that "The lord can only trust those who he can correct." (President Slaughter) Well I am always ready for more and more correction.
Easter was pretty good! we went over to the Drury's to have a dinner, have you ever seen someone put a pan of milk out for their cats and the strays come along too? That is kinda what eating with members on family holidays is. I am grateful that someone likes to feed the stray cats too! Every stray cat has a mom and dad somewhere that care about them and hope they get fed! We got to sing in Easter for church in the choir. Singing is such a great conduit of the spirit. I don't really understand why though we don't sing all the verses of the songs in the church. I don't really try and say my prayers and leave out the "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen" If the Song is Prayer unto the Lord, why do we cut it short? Just the ramblings of a missionary in God's Country.
I wish that I could just tell yall everything that I learn every week. There would probably be not enough time. I love being a missionary, it has changed my life so much. I hope that everyone that who is worthy, will serve a mission, and if not worthy, get worthy and go. It is worth anything that you have to do to get out here. For a Sister or an Elder. Really it doesn't matter, why, just get out here and do it. I love it so much! I am by far the happiest I have ever been. The Lord blesses those who do His will. It's all true!
Remember who you are and what He stands for!
Elder Paul Funk