April 10, 2017
Dear Friends and Family,
First things first, just to make you aware, we find out about transfers a week from today, and for whatever reason, they will be on Tuesday and not Wednesday. So my address could change very soon.
On Friday, we went to try and make contact with a less active family. No one was home, but as we walked back down the driveway, I had the prompting to do some tracting. This is my least favorite and most commonly felt prompting. I follow the prompting far less often than I should. Most of the time when we do start tracting after such a prompting, nothing comes of it so far as we can tell, at least in terms of people to teach. Because of this it has become easy for me to rationalize or second guess my way out of these promptings. Fortunately Elder Rasband just gave an amazing talk on recognizing and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost in the Sunday morning session of General Conference. In particular he talked about following the first prompting to do something. In his talk he said,
"We must be confident in our first promptings. Sometimes we rationalize; we wonder if we are feeling a spiritual impression or if it is just our own thoughts. When we begin to second-guess, even third-guess, our feelings--and we all have--we are dismissing the Spirit; we are questioning divine counsel. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that if you will listen to the first promptings, you will get it right nine times out of ten."
I walked to the car, we got inside and then I looked at the door of the house we had been parked outside. I knew we had to knock on it. My companion recognized the look of dread that comes from knowing you've got to do something you don't want to do, and we got out and knocked on the door. The man who answered, was old and hard of hearing, but upon realizing who we were promptly told us that he was good and didn't need to hear from us. We knocked the next door through which a man had just walked, but he didn't answer. Then we got back into the car and drove on our merry way. We should have knocked more, but as we left I had the distinct feeling that God had prompted me to knock so that I would know that He was aware of me and where I was as well as to remind me that this is His work and I need to be listening a little more closely.
Elder Rasband taught, "First promptings are pure inspiration from heaven. When they confirm or testify to us, we need to recognize them for what they are and never let them slip past. So often, it is the Spirit inspiring us to reach out to someone in need, family and friends in particular. “Thus … the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things,” points us to opportunities to teach the gospel, to bear testimony of the Restoration and Jesus Christ, to offer support and concern, and to rescue one of God’s precious children."
He made us a few promises as well. When one of God's chosen servants makes us a promise we can be sure of it, for when led by the Spirit, they speak for God. Here are a couple of the promises I saw in his talk:
"If we let the Lord know in our morning prayers that we are ready, He will call on us to respond. If we respond, He will call on us time and time again and we will find ourselves on what President Monson calls 'the Lord’s errand.' We will become spiritual first responders bringing help from on high.
If we pay attention to the promptings that come to us, we will grow in the spirit of revelation and receive more and more Spirit-driven insight and direction. The Lord has said, 'Put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good.' "
And finally, what are promptings? Elder Rasband teaches, "The Spirit speaks words that we feel. These feelings are gentle, a nudge to act, to do something, to say something, to respond in a certain way. If we are casual or complacent in our worship, drawn off and desensitized by worldly pursuits, we find ourselves diminished in our ability to feel."
Heavenly Father is aware of us and he wants to bless us as well as give us the opportunity to be a blessing in the lives of others. One way we can do this is by acting on those nudges to do good. I love how he said that often promptings come to go to the aid of family and friends in particular-to those we love the most and want to be of service to the most. I have seen that in my own life and have also been touched by many of you who I am sure have responded to promptings of the Spirit to reach out in love to me.
All of these quote have come from Elder Rasband's most recent General Conference address entitled "Let The Holy Spirit Guide" which can be read here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/let-the-holy-spirit-guide?lang=eng.