Email September 8, 2014 – Elder Kenneth Wm. Burton
"The result of every learning is repentance." - David A. Bednar
Bunch of Burtons
Wow! Amazing week! And Elder Bednar's visit was definitely the highlight. We found out President Sederholm has been friends with Elder Bednar for about 20 years. President Sederholm served as the elders quorum president in the stake that Elder Bednar was the stake president for.
It was such a neat experience! Elder Bednar lead the mission in a question and answer and I was able to talk face to face with an apostle of the Lord! I loved the way he taught us. Before he came he gave us three talks to study and learn from, and then once he arrived he simply asked "What did you learn?" and asked for volunteers to stand and explain what they learned in their own learning by faith. This allowed for us to review for ourselves what we had learned and then to see what others learned in new perspectives, and from that learn more. And then he would ask individuals what they were doing to apply the things they had learned. The hardest part of teaching is helping others to learn. The key is helping them to act and not be acted upon, he pointed out the typical pattern of teaching in the church where a teacher will play the game "what’s in my head", by all of a sudden pointing at a specific student and asking them a general question. All of a sudden that student was turned into an object, something being acted upon. Any answer that they did have immediately leaves their mind and they end up feeling dumb or just coming out with a simple primary answer rather than something that applies to them. Elder Bednar promised he wouldn't turn us into objects and he told us to stop turning others into objects in our teaching as well. Instead he would ask questions that would make us think such as "What did you learn?" and people would volunteer with answers that had personal meaning to them. This way we actually had to act in faith to learn.
I'm trying to apply this into my work, into my teaching. The hardest part of teaching is helping others to learn. I'm trying to learn how to help others to have the desire to learn. I can sit in an investigators living room talking for hours and they will not learn a thing if they don't first have the desire. It would be as if I was talking to myself in front of my companion and investigator.
Elder Bednar told us "The result of every learning is repentance." And repentance is change! I love that repentance is a way for us to change to grow to become more. It’s a positive, eternal cycle. Whenever I mention the work repentance to someone on the street you can almost see them flinch, to often is repentance looked at as a negative, that one who needs to repent is bad. It couldn't be more false! Repentance is amazing! The fact that because of what Christ did for us we are able to change our weaknesses into strengths, we can correct our mistakes and grow! We can throw out the quote "If it ain't broke don't fix it" because it cant get better if it ain't changed. Imagine if no one had fixed the square wheel, I'm sure it sort of worked, definitely wasn't broken, but with change it became so much more!
Another suggestion from Elder Bednar, if your studying/preparing something such as a talk or essay, 6 ten minute chunks are better than 60 minutes. Giving yourself small breaks allows for your mind to rest and then you come back and look at things in a whole new light.
So many great quotes from this week! Elder Eisert showed me this one...
"Brethren the spirit of this work is urgency, and we must imbue our missionaries and members with the spirit of now. N-O-W. We are not just waiting for natural slow growth. We must move more rapidly. We must take things up a notch. If we have to call down miracles or angels, then call them down. The drama is unfolding and we must do whatever it takes to ratchet up the work.
I feel an incredible sense of urgency. I feel such a sense of urgency in my chest that I can hardly breathe. Every dispensation begins with a vision. We must have a vision. We are the church that dreams dreams. We are the church that has visions. We must believe in miracles... We must believe and build on what our forefathers have done. We are just going to putter along, be average until we wind up to the level when our heart is up in our throat and if we opened our eyes, we would expect to see angels.
If this is God's work, and if He still lives, then the miracles and angels are still there. We must live up to our potential. God will bless us with whatever we need, God wants us to just see what he sees and know what he knows. He wants us to ratchet up the vision. God is easy to please and hard to satisfy. This is not convenient easy work.
We have got to take things to the edge. We have to move into the realm of the miraculous. We have to live in such a way that we cannot do it alone anymore, where we will resort to the Lord where we will cry, without thy help I will fall. Help me fly; Go to the edge where miracles happen. Move into the realm of the miraculous. Welcome to the apostolic work."
-Jeffrey R. Holland, 1995 in Paris, France
One of the best feelings as a missionary is when you have so much work that you literally can’t sit still. You become filled with a sense of urgency that fuels you desires to bring every soul unto Christ. To go out into the cities crying repentance to all the people! You feel unstoppable! Yet you are humbled because you cannot do it on your own. You find yourself on your knees even more, pleading for the Lords aid with the faith that it will come as you give it your all. Your desire to change builds. So that you can better yourself so the Lord can work through you.
I'm excited to continue to try to apply the things we've been learning from Elder Bednar with all the amazing people we are meeting with. The work is hastening here in Holbæk!
We have been having a hard time getting a lesson with Gitte because we have to have a third man with us but there aren't very many members who live in Holbæk itself so its been hard finding someone to come with us. We're beginning to make a list of all the members who can potentially come on splits with us and what days they will be free so that we can know who we're able to call for different appointments.
We had two amazing lessons this week with Margo and her son Jakob from Russia, they have both been in contact with missionaries for maybe 6 or 7 years and I feel like now is the time that they are beginning to move forward more. Jakob told us that he didn't know if there is a God but that he hopes there is! Hope is the beginning of faith! We answered some questions which he said made more sense than anything anyone else had explained, and we shared with him the plan of salvation which he told us he wanted to think and pray over more and talk to us what he thinks next time. His mom told us about how whenever she prays with a question the Mormon missionaries always end up getting in contact or stopping by within a few days. Not anyone from her church, always the Mormon church. We told her we believe that is because this is Gods church and she promised to pray to see if the Book of Mormon is true!
Yesterday we had a short 15 minute lesson with Aot, a young man from Tyland, and he wants a Book of Mormon in Tie so he can better understand it. He said that he would try our "experiment" and read and pray to see if it’s true!
So much good is happening here!
I hope everything is going well back home too!
-Elder Ken Burton