Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WEEK 27 - The Lord Prepares his servants

Well, it's been busy lately! We get our transfer calls tonight, so I'll find out whether I'm staying or going.... but, you'll have to all wait a bit longer!!! bwahahaha!
Yeah, so we're all taking guesses and stuff, it's pretty fun. Everyone seems to agree on the fact that I'm leaving, so it's probably a pretty safe bet.... I've been here 6 months, I'm finishing training and they'll want elder Cannon to lead an area, etc. Of course, now that I've said that, I'll end up staying, haha.

Mom, your voice is officially in my head.... haha Remember how you always said it would be one day? It seems I always hear you reminding to brush my teeth and stuff.... haha don't worry, you tell me you love me sometimes, too ;)
So, we went to Washington D.C. yesterday for P-Day, which was way fun! It was two of our group of four's first time, so I wasn't the only wide-eyed kid in the group :) It was cool seeing interviews going on all up and down the mall the day before the election. We were even asked to participate in one! But we had to say no because we're missionaries... it was a bummer, haha.
Well, I hit my six month mark this last week, which was kind of.... weird.... I don't feel like I am.  I have so much to learn still!!! What's really weird, is that some magical thing happens at six months... people think I know what I'm doing now... haha All of a sudden, I'm no longer "new" by definitions out here.... and it all happened in like a day! haha some things about mission life are very odd....

Tony had his baptism Sunday night, and it was fantastic. The spirit was so strong, I didn't want it to end! And it almost didn't, it went on for two hours! But it all seemed so short! The talks and testimonies were just so wonderful! Tony is definitely a strong convert to the gospel, it's a blessing to be a part of.

We expected to be doing a lot of service this week due to the storm. Nope, haha. There's like NO damage here! One member though was on a cruise during the storm... He showed us some videos, it was insane out there! haha. The ships pool just wouldn't stay in the same place! The water was everywhere! the cruise of 2200 people ended up only being like 550, so I guess he practically had the ship to himself, but EVERYONE was sick, and the waves out on the ocean looked like something from a movie! They were Gigantic! One girl we met in D.C. too showed us a picture of her younger brother in New York New York South. Looks like THEY have some service to do!!! haha. Tyler is definitely busy with that right now I bet....

This week, I wanted to share a bit about how the Lord prepares us for the things he needs us to do. That has always been plain to me, but it's shown up so often this week. It's all in the little things. I've earned a spot as Ashburn's bicycle repairman for the Elders who have bike problems. And, so far, every repair I've done is something I learned either on or in preparation for the tour my priest's quorum did. My dad taught me some things in the weeks prior, my leaders taught me some on the trip, and some I figured out on the side of the road, but because of that bike trip, I've known what to do to fix these bikes that are such a great asset to our work. Then, last Thursday, I ended up fixing a lawn mower... My mind was drawn back to when I was in 8th grade... I signed up for a Saturday morning/afternoon class about lawn mower engines.... and why?!? haha Why would a 13 year old kid spend a large portion of their Saturday learning about the engines in a lawn mower?! Because I thought it would be interesting, I guess.... I remember thinking to myself that day as well: "I might need to know this someday...." And I did. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but He puts us where we need to be when we need to be there so we can do what we need to do.
Another example of that has been with Tony. As we've been working with him and the Purdon family, we've been essentially a gathering of musicians talking about the gospel. Because of my background in music, I can, with the help of the spirit, explain things using musical analogies and other explanations and relate them to Tony in a way that I never could have otherwise. On top of that, the Lord has blessed me with a gift in piano performance that has proved one of my strongest tools here in the mission field. Brother Purdon said it this way: "One of the ways the spirit communicates to us is through music. Missionaries have an added measure of the spirit in all aspects of their life, so when they play music, it's as if the spirit itself were to play it and drive it home straight to our very hearts."   Bishop Smith said at Tony's baptism: "So often musicians strive for perfection in everything they do, like most artists. I have both a daughter and a son-in-law who are majoring in music performance, and I have heard some phenomenal musicians in my day, but I have not heard anything like the music we have heard tonight when beautiful music was accompanied by the Spirit of God." 
The Spirit makes all the difference.
 I have been blessed from a young age with the ability to play the piano, but I have never experienced anything like playing for investigators and for Tony's baptism. The minute I stop playing for me, or for somebody in the audience, and start playing for the Spirit and for the Lord, something happens that I can't quite explain, but is very special. It seems as if - without being perfect - the music just happens. I'm no longer playing something from the music I see in front of me, I'm playing something that I feel inside of me. The piano just seems to become a part of me responding to little things I feel prompted to make it do. It seems I have played the piano forever, but when I have the spirit with me like that, it is something special   The Lord can make it sing. He helps me bring the song of my heart into fruition. It's a beautiful thing to be a part of, and I'm always very sad when a song ends. Long story short, the Lord prepares us. He has given me the opportunities to build the skills I needed to be able to bear my testimony through my music. He has prepared us in all things, and he has prepared people for us to meet and teach that we are especially prepared for. It's a fantastic thing to be a part of.
I love you all and I'll talk to you soon! Maybe from my second area... haha
-Elder Matt

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