Monday, June 30, 2014

"True Desires"

We met a man named Tom this week. Tom right now is looking for a job, he is very smart and has a lot of experience but he has still been having a hard time finding a job. He is already Christian and was baptized in '09. He has a strong faith in Christ and he says that through these past rough times he is really trying to focus on Christ. It definitely was no surprise that at this time in his life God would lead us to him. We met him on the street and shared a brief message and rescheduled him for last Saturday at the church. When we met him for the second time  we gave him a tour of the church and shared the message of the Restoration. He has a good connection with Joseph Smith. He said he has the same question as to which of all the churches are true. When we bore testimony of the first vision and the evidence of that Restoration I could definitely see things starting to click. He very quickly accepted the invitation to read, ponder, and pray about the Book of Mormon and its contents. We then invited him to be baptized and set a date as a goal for him to be ready, he accepted. He is very prepared for the Gospel and now is the time in his life where he has the great opportunity to accept it.

We met with Dorothea on Sunday afternoon. We met her outside the McDonald's and then walked over to a nearby park. While we were waiting for the fellow shipper, Dorothea said that she had made her decision. Her decision was to stay Catholic. She said that several things that had happened in the past two weeks had lead up to that decision. It literally was just like "The District." I knew that if we just tried to teach her what we already had planned for her and not really listen, we would lose her. We dropped our original lesson plan and decided to just listen and through the spirit's guidance, ask questions. We established what she believed, what she understood, and what she had doubts on. Her faith in Christ is sound. She believes the Book of Mormon. She believes the first vision as well as our church. However... she also believes that there is more than one prophet on the earth today.   At the start of our lesson, it sounded like she had made the decision to be catholic and wasn't much more interested in our church. However, by the end, through the spirit, she had grown a strong desire to learn more about the prophet, Thomas S. Monson and Joseph Smith, as well as the true meaning of the word "Prophet."  She has committed to keep learning, as well as to ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon Introduction's last paragraph. Specifically if this is the one and only true church on the face of the earth.

I've really been pondering about "true desires." What are the Savior's true desires, my true desires, and the world's true desires?  From several scriptures we learn to lay up our treasure in heaven. (3 Nephi 13) We need not spend money for that which is of no worth. (2 Nephi 9:51) What are things that are included in that scripture? Some things we may be able to actually purchase with money, but others might be more figurative things. Things like the clothes, cars, phones are obvious. However, the reason behind learning the language can also be considered a stumbling block. That leads us back to true desires. We can be doing the right thing, keep the commandments, and doing a lot of good. However, if our heart isn't in it then it will be as if we never did the good deeds in the first place. If you give a gift unwillingly, it is as if you never gave it at all.  Having truly righteous desires is definitely a journey in itself. Because our situation is constantly changing, we might run into things that cause our desires to change our motive behind doing the righteous things. For example, the scriptures mention not just praying out in public and making sure everyone sees, in order for them to think they are righteous. When we have truly true desires, we are focused on what God thinks of us instead of what everyone else thinks of us. It is then and only then that we truly fear God more than man. But like I said, it is a journey. Reaching that point cannot be achieved in an hour, or even a year. It is a lifetime of work. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be serving the Lord full time right now in order to help me on this journey. There's nothing better in the world than knowing I'm doing what Heavenly Father would have me do.
Love, Elder Zach Cederlof


Monday, June 23, 2014

It has definitely been a blessed week.  Through much pondering I have come across some principles that I feel have helped me and are continuing to help me. In the following sentence what is the definition of hard.  "What was the hardest part of your week?" When I think of that use of the word hard, I think of words like dislike or hate. When people ask me what is the hardest part of the week I think that they are asking what is the part you disliked the most.  When asked that question, I sat and thought about it for a minute. I honestly couldn't think of any part I disliked or hated. I love every aspect of missionary work. I've had to push myself more than I've ever pushed and work harder than I've ever worked. Do I ever feel tired? You betchya. Is it a lot of work? Most definitely. However, the blessings of the work are ever so abundant, and very visible. Have I had struggles, difficulties, challenges? Every single day I'm faced with those. The blessings far out weigh the "hard" parts. (This whole paragraph probably makes more sense in my head than it does on paper/email) I have come to LOVE hard work, and have found the prophecy fulfilled that says when we lose ourself, we find ourselves. The Savior's invitation to take upon His yoke is ever so real for me right now. The more that we point ourselves outwards, towards others, the more we can feel these scripture blessings in our lives. The mission is a challenge. There is no denying that. But when we accept the Savior's invitation, our burden is lightened. This principle of the gospel has very much affected me the past week.

A quote that is on display at a store we pass almost everyday reads: "Good Morning, This is God. I will handle all of your problems today."  The world wants a comfortable God. Someone who not only doesn't rock the boat, but a God that doesn't even rock the boat. (as shared by Jeffrey R. Holland)  God's purpose for us is to grow. This requires we struggle, this requires problems. The very thought that God is simply going to take away all of our problems is simply wrong. I'm thankful for the problems and trials we face because it is only through those very things that we can become our best selves. I'm thankful for what the gospel has taught me regarding this aspect. "To know God is a struggle" (The District). It is through our obedience that we come to know God. That is the only way.
We didn't have the opportunity to meet Dorothea this week due to work and a friend from Australia coming to visit. I got to talk to her on the phone and her desire is still strong. She wants to find a good time period to pray about the authority, because she hasn't had the time yet. I invited her to find that time this week in order to know. That is going to hold her back if she won't pray about it, but luckily she understands that and is willing to pray.

Andy went to the mainland but is back now so we can meet up with him again. I'm really excited for his progress and decision to follow the Savior. He has a very kind heart and I already consider him one of my best friends.

The blessings of the gospel truly cannot be numbered. The more time I'm here the more aware I feel of His blessings. The more aware I am of His blessings, the more I realize there is so much more that I don't understand yet, that I need to be thankful for! The Gospel is amazing!
Love, Elder Zach Cederlof

Monday, June 16, 2014

This week we met with Dorothea again. Unfortunately she had to work so she couldn't come to church or the baptism wuih (what's the full name in English again?) We had an awesome lesson with her at Cheng wuih jeung's house! We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she practically taught us about most of it! She definitely has a love for Christ and the opportunity the Gospel gives her to change. We invited her to be baptized again but she said she isn't sure if we have that authority yet. We talked about the Joseph Smith experience and the evidence of the Book of Mormon but she still hasn't quite connected the dots yet. She thinks that her old church might have it. She has accepted to pray specifically about the "authority" question, and I'm excited for the answer she will be receiving! Once she has this answer/comes to the knowledge, she says she will already be willing to keep our church commandments! We haven't taught her most of them yet, but at church she heard about the Word of Wisdom and keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. I'm so grateful that I've had this opportunity to help her come closer to Christ and to learn and grown as well.

This definitely has been a week of miracles. Andy, someone we met a taught 2 days in a row about 3 weeks ago, has come back! He has been super busy this past while and hasn't been able to schedule. But we finally got him scheduled for last Saturday morning.  Chan Hingdaih taught along with us and he is committed to be baptized. We didn't set a date, it didn't feel the right time, but he then attended (brought his mom as well) the Ward Health activity that night. He also came to the Baptism wuih (still can't think of that English word) the next day as well as church. Andy is awesome! He has a great personality and is a very bubbly person! He loved meeting a bunch of new people at church and seeing the Baptism wuih.

We met with Gok jimuih this week (me and a member met her a couple weeks ago at a less active visit activity).  She is a less active members aunt. Last time we gave her the Book of Mormon with the invitation to read and this time we came to follow up. We reviewed how we should study the Book of Mormon in order to get stuff out of it (pray first, read, ponder, pray)  She is very busy but she is also very open. She is super nice and the Gospel will change her life, if she allows it.

Tony.... he was the person that tried to get me and Elder Koochin to take those conspiracy theory notes to the police/fbi. He called us on Saturday and asked what time church was. He called us twice on two different phones and at first I didn't know who it was, but then I recognized the voice. He came to church on Sunday for a little bit. He seemed normal. Our Ward Mission Leader said not to contact him because of the situation last time, but if he wants to come to church, let him and he (Brother Chan) will talk with him a little bit. 

We met a "wise man" on the street. He kept on talking about the wisdom of the world and trying to advise on what we should do with our lives. I felt really bad for the man because he is soo blinded by his "wisdom" that he can't even tell. He said that his wisdom makes him free. But it doesn't. Just like 2nd Nephi 9 tells us. If we are wise but hearken not to the council of God, it is foolishness. I pray that what we said left a little impact on his life and hopefully he'll take that and truly ponder it.

Elder Allen is leaving (as you know) and I'm very grateful for being able to room with him. For the last couple nights (probably about a week now) he gives me advice. He asks me what topic I want and then thinks about it throughout the day and at night we talk about it. It has definitely been a huge blessing!

In the scriptures Jesus talks about being the 'salt' of the world (Matthew). He then continues to say if the salt has lost it's flavor, it is good for what? To be trampled on.  God has given everyone special gifts or maybe even parts of their personality for a reason. If we lose our "flavor" we're then good for what? That is why every person is specifically called to a specific calling or place. God is just using the right amount of "flavors" to create the perfect soup (church)   I thought that was kinda cool when I read about it this morning.

The biggest lesson I learned this week is that the Lord will bless us. Sometimes it might not always be in the ways we want or expect. But he definitely always blesses us. When we look at it through our "grateful glasses" all is well. This is the Lord's work and he is by my side and has been and will continue to be there. I'm so grateful for this week's challenges and opportunities to stretch and learn, thus becoming more like our Savior!

Love, Elder Cederlof

Yes, we eat steak

Monday, June 2, 2014

Mom -

This week has been awesome! We haven't seen the strange man and I told our ward mission leader about him and he said "ya don't worry about contacting him again".  To be honest I was thinking about calling him and rescheduling him cause I want everyone to have the chance at the gospel, but when I dialed and the phone rang twice I hung up. I couldn't do it. Must be a sign!  I love being out here and the time is going by sooo fast!!  Oh yes you need to go to lunch with Hailee's mom. I don't know why, but I think it would be super fun!  I love you mom! Thank you for being awesome and my best friend! Oh and when I show people our family picture they're like "wait is that your mom!? She's beautiful!!" My response, "yes she is!"
Love you mom!!
Love, Elder Zach Cederlof