Elder Phillips and I have put together a list we like to call, "What Okies Love". So far, this is what we came up with!
What Okies Love:
The words/phrases "God bless!" "y'all" "fixin' to" and "conversatin'"
Talking about the weather (because it's insanely unpredictable)
Of course, this list is a broad generalization, but it describes a lot of what western Oklahoma is like. I love Oklahoma. God bless America!
Yesterday, we had a couple of great lessons!
The first lesson was with a couple in their 50's--Daniel and Sharon Thacker. They haven't had a specific religion in their lives. We taught them about the Restoration a couple of weeks ago, so we taught them the Plan of Salvation yesterday. They had a whole bunch of questions which we mostly answered with scriptures from the Book of Mormon. It was awesome! The spiritual bazooka strikes again!
As we taught them, Sister Thacker wanted to know about the outcome of little children who die at birth. She had lost a couple of children at birth herself. We shared that "little children are alive in Christ" (Moroni 8:12,22) and testified that Sister Thacker has the opportunity to be their mother again and that families can be together forever. She was teary-eyed and the Spirit seemed to have hit her pretty hard.
This morning, we Real Played as Sister Thacker and discovered that the Plan of Salvation is her main motivating factor. Yes, Joseph Smith being a prophet is good and it is good to have the Church on the earth again, but she really wants to see her kids again. This is going to be very helpful when we teach them some more. Real Play works! She read the first 6 chapters of 1 Nephi since the week before, so that's a definite good sign! We got Brother Thacker a large print triple combination, and Sister Thacker suggested that they read together, and we didn't even give them the idea! This is a good sign :)
The other awesome lesson we had was with Cheyenne Kugler. She has met with missionaries on and off over the last 1 1/2 years. She has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith. She has had a hard time quitting smoking though. She has tried the stop smoking workshop multiple times to no avail.
As we discussed her situation, the thought came to me about the time the early disciples couldn't cast out a devil from the son of a man whom the man brought to them. After rebuking the evil spirit, Jesus taught the disciples that "this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21). I also remembered the commentary James E. Talmage gave at the end of a chapter in Jesus the Christ. He asks if there is a certain sin we have trouble getting over--something we seem to slip back into. He says that it may be something that "goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
We read the event in Matthew 17 with her and "Fasts" in the Bible Dictionary (she got a "Quad" for Christmas from her less-active boyfriend's mother), emphasizing that fasting will help her develop the spiritual strength necessary to repent and forsake her sins completely. This weekend we're all fasting together (including her less-active boyfriend) and they're going to come to church. Awesome! Now they just need to get married and everything will be great!
The thing that made these two lessons so great was that we used the scriptures a lot. Elder Phillips and I have been wanting to use the scriptures more in our lessons. Yesterday was a witness of the power of letting the scriptures do all of the talking. It was great!!!
As I was studying on Saturday, I came across Doctrine and Covenants 138:57, which states:
"I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead."
I thought of what President Taylor had said in Zone Conference on Friday about the Doctrine of Christ. He asked us where we can find the Doctrine of Christ in the scriptures. We started shooting out answers, "3 Nephi 11!" "2 Nephi 31!" "3 Nephi 27!" and then a missionary said, "Everywhere!" President Taylor said, "That's right. It's everywhere!" He talked about it a little more and then said, "It's all about the Atonement and the Doctrine of Christ. What else is there to talk about?" He's exactly right! What is going on in the Spirit World? The Doctrine of Christ is being preached. That's so awesome! I'm excited to learn all I can about the Doctrine of Christ. After listening to Elder Ballard's talk in the stake conference broadcast yesterday (in which he talked about keeping the Gospel simple), it's so clear that the first principles of the gospel are the most important doctrines to study. I think I could try to understand "Faith in Jesus Christ" for the rest of my life and still have a lot to learn about it. The Gospel is so cool!
Anyway, that's all for this week. Thanks for the letters and love!
Elder Woolley :)