Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Week 7: Investigators, Lessons, and General Conference!

October 1, 2016

Hello again friends! Sorry about the week number mix up. But, this is definitely an email in the midst of week 7, not 6. We only have 17(ish) more days until we're flying out to Croatia! We'll be getting our flight plans next week, I guess, so I'll know details for my next email, most likely.

A few times this week in class, when learning grammar, our teacher, Sister Watts, has been having a few of us go up to the chalkboard and re-teach something we learned last week. And of course, she then acts as a student who doesn't remember this stuff, but somehow has all the right questions to ask. Pretty funny.

Teach-back at the Chalkboard
For the devotional on Sunday, one of the things the speaker talked about is how Satan knows all of our buttons and just how to push them. Some examples might be him giving you the thought, "I'm not good enough", or "I'm not even making a difference". Don't let Satan push your buttons.

This week we also had the Bulgarians in our zone leave for the mission field. It's sad that they're no longer here, but I'm sure they're having a great time in Bulgaria.

My friends from Ohio, Elders Ralph and Peterson, also both shipped out for their mission field of Salt Lake City South (hey elders, I hope you're having an awesome time!)

 There were a few rough things this week, but one pretty funny thing was when we got our new investigator, Suada (who is really one of our teachers, role-playing as a Muslim from Serbia). When we walked in to meet her for the first time and set up a lesson for later, her role-playing was so good that it felt like we had been teleported straight to Serbia. It blew our minds (and the minds of everyone else that met Suada that night). So, now Elder Leach and I teach Suada and Jadranka, plus we each have one of our classmates role-playing as an investigator to teach.

Can you find me in this picture? This is us learning how to teach gospel lessons.
 The devotional on Tuesday was about commandments. To me, commandments serve at least 3 purposes: 1) to protect us from making ourselves unhappy, 2) so God can bless us for our obedience, and 3) to help us learn how to become more like Christ, doing good continually. So, I challenge you all to pick a commandment that you can better live, and improve upon it. Maybe you could pray with a more contrite heart. Or, try to judge others less. We each have faults to improve on.

On Friday morning, we had our first lesson with a member of the church who is a native in Croatia! We got to talk with them for about 20 minutes over Skype. Elder Leach and I taught a man named Daniel. Since he also spoke English, he helped us with our Croatian grammar by explaining in English =P Our lesson was on Charity, the Christ-like love for others. That night we also had our one-on-one lessons with other members of our class, pretending to be investigators. (BTW, for those that don't know, "investigator" is the term we use for someone that's interested in learning more about our beliefs) Honestly, I went into mine without any plan at all, except to teach Lesson 3: The Gospel of Jesus Christ (which generally follows the topics of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of The Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end). I focused a lot on getting "Jake" (Elder Heaton) more personally involved in the discussion by asking more questions for him to think about and answer, as well as having him read certain passages. It was probably one of the best lessons I've taught, and the Holy Ghost was there testifying of truth to both his heart and mine. He asked some really great, potentially hard questions, but I was guided in how to answer them in such a way that we both learned. Apparently similar things were happening in adjacent rooms with the other lessons my classmates were teaching. We are given to "speak with the tongue of angels" (2 Nephi 32:2) if we just prepare ourselves to receive that guidance. On that note, your homework is to read and ponder about 2 Nephi 32. Short, but great. 

I love the Book of Mormon
Today, we get to watch General Conference! And tomorrow too. For those who don't know, General Conference is when we get to hear from living prophets and apostles. If you have any desire to learn more about what we really learn of in this church, General Conference is the perfect opportunity. You can watch it on LDS.org in your very own home! There's a session at 2:00 today, a session specifically for the men of the church (though it's open for anyone to watch) at 6:00 tonight, and then two more sessions tomorrow at 10am and 2pm. I promise that you will learn something about how to come closer to Christ, if you simply listen with an open heart. If you even have a question in your life that you need help figuring out, write it down and ponder about it while you watch. I promise with all the sincerity of my heart that it will be answered.

I hope you all have a great week! Feel free to tell me about your lives. I love you all!
Elder Ryan Echols
2005 N 900 E Unit 232
Provo UT 84602

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