I Fear No Man

This has been quite the week! We had a zone training, and an exchange for a day, some ups and some downs, and so many miracles!

This Zone Training was especially fantastic. Some of the missionaries in our zone have been struggling with finding new investigators. Whether it is the time of year, or something else, potentially a lack of enthusiasm during the hard months here, some missionaries have been having a harder time. So our zone is emphasizing finding in a drastic manner! With minimum finding hours and initiatives in place, I am confident that the souls contacted and found here in Tirana are going to skyrocket. Why? Because of what has been inspired in the missionaries.
With the He is the Gift initiative back in December, we saw an immense jump in new investigators found. But I believe that it wasn’t merely because it was an amazing initiative that was inspired by prophets, but what really counted was what it inspired in the missionaries. Personally, when I saw the He is the Gift video I wanted to run outside and pull in as many people as humanly possible to sit down and watch it. Because when I watched it, I can honestly say that it inspired and uplifted my life. It was life changing. And I wanted that for others. And with this zone training that we had, again the fire to find was rekindled ablaze! Specifically with a letter or a talk that our President had sent out to us that our beloved zone leaders chose to capitalize upon in our training. It is called the Ricciardi letter. And like other talks such as the consecrated missionary, it has inspired my missionary work. And personally, before receiving our training and prior to reading this letter, I talked to and stopped A LOT of people. But since reading this letter…. I stop probably 80+ percent more. I will stop EVERYONE i POSSIBLY CAN. Because I FEAR NO MAN.
Here is just an excerpt from one of my favorite parts, but I highly suggest that you open up the whole letter and read the whole thing which I have included, but here is a piece:
I Fear No Man
Ricciardi had a saying that has stayed with me, and will stay with me throughout my life. He would say to me, “I fear no man!” He spent his whole mission proving that slogan. Every day like clockwork 10 minutes before departure to proselyte, he would look in the bathroom mirror, point to it, and say “I fear no man”. Then he would do it again with a different posture. I personally thought he was trying to make me laugh by doing it. You know… some inspirational thing for the new missionary. I soon learned he actually meant it. He was not kidding.
His door approaches were not only unique, but astounding. He would knock on a door, and when the door was answered he would introduce us as “missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. As he would be giving his introduction he would quickly look into the house to try and find something somewhere that would indicate some commonality that he could address in order to build relationships of trust.
One time, approximately the third or fourth day we had been together, a gentleman answered the door, looking really uptight about the fact that we were disturbing his quiet Saturday afternoon. During the opening dialogue Ricciardi glanced in the door and saw a beautiful painting on the wall. Suddenly, mid introduction, Ricciardi screamed out “oh what a beautiful painting!” pushed the door open (nearly sending the man through the wall) and walked right into the house. I stood on the doorstep in absolute horror, a witness to this unbelievable demonstration of bad manners. Ricciardi walked right into the living room, met the wife and kids, and admiring the television set they were transfixed by, commented “what a beautiful television, may we turn it off?” He hit the off switch. I was still on the porch, quite honestly waiting for the police to be called, or for him to get physically thrown out of the house. To my shock I heard his thick Italian accent call down the hall way “Oh Elder Humphrey, will you join us?” I could not believe it. 45 minutes later we concluded the first discussion with a prayer. I confronted him later that night about the fiasco I had witnessed earlier in the day, he said “Elder, I fear no man, and that includes you. I will do the Lord’s work with or without you. I prefer with, but that is up to you”. 
Ricciardi expounded further, and I want you to remember this because it is absolutely true. Ricciardi told me the following: “Elder Humphrey, what is bold today, will not be bold tomorrow”. He meant that what was uncomfortable for me to declare today, over time will become second nature, and not be seen as “rude”, but rather would be seen by others as “conviction”. He further stated that The Lord tells us in Alma 38:12 to be bold, but not overbearing. Ricciardi defined overbearance as “boldness without love”. When people know and feel your love, you can never be too bold!” he would say. I would not have admitted it at the time because I was still too young and frankly immature to know, but it did not take me long to learn that his words that night were absolutely true. 
 
 This is just one small section of the Riccardi Letter. But it has hit me hard. not just this piece but all. And now personally for me, I don’t tract much. We street contact because we are exposed to SO MANY MORE PEOPLE THIS WAY, but the principle of boldness remains. If we are tactfully and loving bold, CONSTANTLY inviting others to come to Christ to Change their lives, then we are doing our job. Because we are emissaries of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we MUST open our mouths at all times, and in all things, and in all places. Here is another piece that really struck me, especially in connection with street contacting. Because sometimes, no matter how learned we are… we just don’t feel the desire, because, well, we are human :
The Sources of All Fear
You know, there were days even when I was out 18 months that I would wake up in the morning and not feel like talking to people. You would think a seasoned, veteran missionary 18 months under his belt would have conquered the fear by now. Satan never gives up trying to discourage missionaries from getting out and seeing the people. That is what a mission is all about…seeing the people. The adversary’s greatest tool is fear. The greatest killer of missionaries is fear. It is important that you know as a fact, that fear is not a tool of God or his son Jesus Christ. It is a tool of the devil, and Satan alone. Become self-aware as a missionary. You must be able to self-diagnose that when feelings of fear arise, you are being played by the devil.
I remember about a week after arriving in England Elder Ricciardi took me into the town center of Loughborough to street contact. We would split up (obviously still within eye contact of each other) and stop people in the open air malls downtown. I was absolutely terrified. I at least enjoyed the fact that when knocking doors some people would not answer the door, or not be home. But in the town center, there was no way out. People were everywhere, and I was to stop them. 
Two hours went by and I hadn’t stopped anyone. I had given halfhearted attempts, but nothing had come of it and I was becoming depressed and discouraged. Elder Ricciardi noticed this and came over to me. “Let’s take a walk” he said, and we left the town center. 
Elder Ricciardi, forgetting we were not in Italy (where it is common for two grown men to hold hands in a show of friendship) grabbed my hand. There we were, walking to the local park holding hands. England is a liberal enough place that no one thought twice about it. When we got to the park we sat on a bench and Ricciardi asked me a question. “Elder, do you know who you are?” I thought this was one of those typical Sunday school questions, so I gave the typical answer, “a child of God.” He laughed and opened his Book of Mormon to 3Nephi 5:13. “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life”. 
After I read the verse, he turned to me and said “you are a disciple of Christ! You have been called to declare his word to his people! Elder, you fear no man!” Something about those words got me pumped up! I literally felt the fear melt away. In fact, I actually decided to say the words myself “I fear no man!” with a fist pump to boot. We marched back into town to continue the street contacting (didn’t need to hold hands on the way back). I stood next to the entrance of a health club and committed myself to stop the next person to walk out. In no time at all, the fear that had paralyzed me came RIGHT BACK. I stood there and let the next five or six people pass by while my battle with Satan resumed. 
In the Church we always comment on Laman and Lemuel and their wickedness. We view them as so opposite to Nephi, who is so strong, muscular (at least in the Book of Mormon pictures he is), tan, bold, fearless. What we don’t remember is that even though Laman and Lemuel saw angels, even smitten by angels, it did not take them long to forget the miracles and go right back to their old doubting selves. I actually have some sympathy for them, in the sense that here I was fresh off a powerful spiritual boost from Elder Ricciardi, and for about 10 minutes I was right back in the epicenter of fear. But I recognized it, and convinced myself that I must break this grip even at the risk of saying something stupid. Finally, I stopped a big brawny body builder. I stumbled through my dialogue and sounded like an absolute rookie, and then he responded to my fumbling with a shocking “yes” to the invitation to share a discussion with him. His name was Steve Gligoriavich from Yugoslavia. He accepted the Gospel over the next three weeks. Baptizing him was fun, because his huge frame made a splash that got some people in the first row wet. When the curtains to the font closed, he also did a “no, no” by sitting in the font like a hot tub and asked if he could just hang out for a while to take it all in. I told him “sure…the only thing waiting on the other side of that curtain was a bunch of his friends and Church members, and oh by the way, the gift of the Holy Ghost. He got right out.

The fear may be there, but what makes the difference is overcoming it. Taking the Masters hand, trusting in Him, not yourself, and going out to talk to that person. And this is what I will do EVERYDAY of my mission. I will strive with everything I am and have to be what the Lord would have me be. To boldy testify of Him, and lovingly invite all to come unto His warm and waiting embrace. Because this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the road which will lead us to Life Eternal. And there is nothing better we could possibly preach to our fellow men.
I love the Lord with all my heart. I know he will carry us when we are too weak to go forward, and I know that he cries when we cry. But I also know that when we are joyous, so is He, and that through Him all fears and cares and worries can be wiped away. We are His. And He is ours.
Please read this letter that I attatched. Whether you’re a missionary or not, it will change your life. But only if you want it to change your life.
Love, Motra Kollmen
PS
-Went to Elbasan for stake conference yesterday!
-Rock Climbing today for PDAY good times
-We are contacting kids
– 3 weeks till transfers! reminder: our transfers are 12-13 weeks…
-My trainee is fantastic, and she is getting bolder and bolder and I am so proud of her!
-Shawn T. from insanity is kicking my butt every morning!
colemanandadela1 FULLMANandadela colemanandadela2
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