This week was amazing. Amanda got baptized yesterday, and the spirit of the baptism fit her perfectly. It was exactly what she needed. I know she felt the Spirit very strongly. She bore her testimony in gospel principles class. I find it amazing to think about the timing of the events leading up to her baptism. She had been searching for the truth for three years and had attended a total of eight different churches. In the middle of the summer, she moved in with some members of the Paradise Hills Ward. A few weeks later, their grandmother died. In Amanda’s testimony, she talked about how this event played such a significant role in her conversion. She watched the stability and sense of peace that came with the funeral. When they explained the Spirit World and the Three Kingdom’s of Glory, it seemed to be exactly what she was looking for. It just made sense. In her confirmation, they blessed her that she would be an example to others and strengthen or lead others into the church. She’s the type of investigator I had prayed to meet for a long time.
Another exciting thing occurred this week. Well, it actually happened last week, but I didn’t understand how all the pieces fit together until recently. That’s how life always seems to go. I think Elder Grow’s visit to the mission was a turning point in my mission. I was determined that from that point on I would pray very hard to know where to go so that I could find those who were “already to harvest.” I had a stronger reliance on faith than I had before. So, I had my companion and I study the map of streets and try to be led by the Spirit as to where we should tract that week. We narrowed down our selections until we found an area that we both felt was right. We planned to tract it, but then our plans changed, so we ended up tracting it a long time after we had intended to originally.
Before we began to tract that day, we prayed before leaving the car. We prayed that we would find people on that street who would be receptive to the gospel. We found two people that day who invited us to come back. But the story doesn’t end there.
As we were tracting, we met a member family that was very cool. They offered to help us with anything, and even talked about a few people they are sharing the gospel with. Probably five minutes after leaving their house, we tracted into the neatest 19 year old girl. She listened attentively to everything we taught her about the Restoration and said she would love to come to church with us if she could get a ride. Well, Heavenly Father had allowed us to meet a family just a few minutes before who would make the perfect fellowshippers. She missed the first Sunday because we didn’t introduce them at first, but on Saturday we had them meet. She came to Church yesterday, and even participated in Relief Society! Come to find out, some of her extended family are LDS. We are excited to start her official lessons this week.
Our prayers were answered as we sought out where we should go.
During the relief Society broadcast, Henry B. Eyring said something to the effect of: “You may not in this world see evidence that you have succeeded….but you are on the Lord’s errand.”
I think that’s how I felt about my mission for a long time. But I am grateful that I have been able to see a few successes this week especially.
In other news:
We broke out the sidewalk chalk again this week. For Amanda, and someone else we briefly met. I think chalk drawing messages might become the theme of this transfer.
I am still obsessed with hair. Some things never change. I had to get my roots done. But I don’t trust just anyone. So, I decided to highlight them myself. My companion thought I was crazy. But it turned out ok! I’m actually kind of proud of it. And she was surprised that I didn’t make a botch of it either. So that’s an exciting new development.
The misconceptions and uncharitable beliefs of the Anti-Mormon rhetoric greatly concern me. I’ve seen it destroy good strong families. We were confronted again last night with these opinions. It is dangerous in that it can sound very convincing to those who are weak in their testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and to those who are unfamiliar with our doctrines. It makes you think that you are an intellectual, when really God is the only intellectual and spiritual source of truth. Sometimes people don’t understand why we are counseled not to get into it. For me it comes down to two things.
1). God is the only source of truth.
2). We are encouraged to expand our knowledge but with the remembrance that the glory of God is intelligence. It also comes down to faith. Faith that there is a prophet on the earth who tells us that it's a danger. We may not understand why, but if the Lord asks us not to do something. Have faith in that! Be obedient!
Each time people bring up anti-claims…I find myself thinking “is that the best you can come up with?” I fell so blessed to have heard so many of the criticisms of the church answered by the Church before I heard them from those opposed to the church. The Lord prepared me so much before I ever met an anti-Mormon face to face. BYU archeology lectures, talks on CD about defending the faith, and mostly a personal witness of the truthfulness of this work are such a blessing that I am so grateful for.
My companion and I are tired of not doing anything fun on P-Day, so we decided that we would go to the Petroglyph Museum/National Park today. We’ll see how it goes. I think it’s supposed to be about Anasazi rock drawings…but I could be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.
General Conference is next weekend. It is also the kickoff for the Hot Air Balloon Festival which runs all week. There are rumors flying around that missionaries cannot go. But you will see hundreds of balloons all week long in the air. We have seen them a lot this week already, because they are practicing, I think.
Well family, that’s all the things I had planned on writing today. I love you very much and appreciate the letters you have sent me. I am glad to hear that the school year is going well, and that there are exciting new changes happening in the ward. Have a wonderful Monday!