Thursday, February 6, 2014

January 27th & February 3rd, 2014

January 27th, 2014

Thank you all for everything you are, everything you do, and all you represent to me.  Missionary work is not easy, but when your family is really supportive, it's really helpful.  Know that you are loved and appreciated. 

Well, what more to report?  We've been working with a lot of the same people.  But  we did find some good news also.  We'll start with them. 

A:  Yet another one of M's daughters.  We had already met her, but she hadn't really seemed interested until last saturday.  We were in a lesson with her mom and our Elder's quorum president was there with us, and he mentioned something about temptations and she suddenly blurted out "How can I keep myself from falling into temptation?"  It was a question that seemed to come straight from her soul--she couldn't contain it anymore.  Her tone of voice made it obvious that she had a serious spiritual need in that moment.  Luckily, Preach My Gospel has a section about "questions of the soul" with different Book of Mormon references that answer them, and that exact question happens to be on there, with Helaman 5 as the answer.  So we opened up to Helaman 5:12 and read it and then asked her why she had asked the question.  She started crying and told us about some difficulties she has been having in her marriage.  We gave her the Book of Mormon, told her to read it, and put a return appointment.  We did a super family night with all of her sisters, parents and everyone else we could bring on Monday, then went back to teach her Wednesday.  She accepted a baptismal date for March 8th and by Saturday she had read from the Title Page of the Book of Mormon to 1 Nephi 3 and says she feels a lot better.  She also came to church on Sunday and liked it a lot.  

L:  A referral our Elder's quorum president gave us in priesthood executive meeting.  He's a single father with two daughters, ages 6 and 3.  He recently stopped drinking so that the government would let him keep his daughters with him and is really sincerely looking to better his life.  He came to church this sunday and also liked it a lot, and he has a baptismal date for march 1st.  

C and V are a little stalled.  C doesn't have her ID, and it looks like it'll take about a month for her to get it, so they won't be able to get baptized quite yet, but M decided that she wants to get baptized this Saturday, so ending this transfer we'll have a baptism!  She's excited, her family's excited, the branch is excited, I'm excited!  It's a big step for a 12 year old girl to take--being the first of many in her family to accept the gospel.  She needs all the prayers she can get this week :)  Hopefully everything goes well.  We had 11 investigators in church this Sunday: C, V, V, M, L, E, J, M, A, I, and L. 

Having a lot of investigators has been a great blessing, but it's also made it hard to not fall into a routine and forget to trust in the Spirit--it's something I'm still working on.  Whether or not they leave me here next transfer, I have had a priceless experience here in C and have learned a lot, and even though we've had a lot of success, I know I've still got a long, long way to go.  Thanks for your great examples and your love--I can feel it in your letters and every day.  Have a fantastic week!


Elder Pew

February 3, 2014

Hey everybody!  How's your week been?  We had a pretty good one over here in C. Monday night we had a family night with a LA member.  Her 3 kids, ages 10, 9, and 8, were there, plus she invited a NM friend named D.  It was awesome.  We did that activity that we used to do in family night at home, where we pass a ball around the circle and whoever has the ball has to say something nice about somebody else before they can pass it on.  The Spirit was really strong and everyone had a great experience.  D was especially impressed and hopefully she'll be more interested in listening to the missionaries soon.  

Tuesday I was in splits with the zone leaders.  I stayed here and Elder M went to M.  We visited M and she was having a hard week already--the first thing she told us was that we were right when we told her she would have lots of temptations and trials that week.  So we took her with us to all the lessons to try and cheer her up.  We had a family night with the branch president and his family, and he had invited a friend from work to come listen to us.  His name is J and he seemed really interested.  We taught the Restoration and he even accepted a baptismal date for March 8th.  Unfortunately we haven't been able to teach him since but we're going back tomorrow.  

Wednesday we had a lesson with C.  She had some interesting things to tell us, so we talked about repentance. She dreams of getting old and still having her family all together and united.  These were the words that came out of my mouth: "God knows about your dream.  He wants you to have an ETERNAL family and be with them forever.  So if He told you that you should stay with V, then I promise you, as His representative, that if you do so your dream will be accomplished."  The Spirit testified so strongly of these words.  I am so proud of her.  She has come so far and has made so many sacrifices to get on the straight and narrow path.  She decided that this week she's going to get everything resolved with her ID, even if she has to go to M to get it.  We're planning a super baptism of C, V, V's parents, and his brother J and his sister E.  It'll be a great day.  

Thursday we had our first lesson with C's dad, A.  He came to the baptism and wanted to go to church, but at the last minute they called him in to work.  Hopefully he can keep progressing. 

On Friday I was in splits again, this time I went to M with Elder G.  We had some pretty powerful lessons together and it was a good experience.  Meanwhile, M had her baptismal interview and passed!

Saturday we were pretty much in the church all day getting everything ready.  The baptismal font here is basically just a tarp attached to some poles, so we had to clean the tarp and set it all up.  We noticed that there was a hole in the bottom and it wasn't holding any water.  We didn't have a whole lot of time, so we basically closed up the hole with super glue and stuck some bricks on top to keep it down.  Beforehand, we knelt down and our branch president, who was there helping us, said a heartfelt prayer asking Heavenly Father to work a miracle so that the baptism would be able to happen as planned.  Sure enough, it did.  Miracle.  M's great uncle (C's uncle, A's brother) is actually a member of the church from A (where Rockford is) and wanted him to baptize her, so he made the 4 hour bus trip to do the ordinance.  It was a great experience.  Lots of members and investigators went to support her, and she was SO happy when she came up out of the water!  She gave her testimony before the closing prayer and starting crying.  So amazing.  

Sunday was good.  M looked like a totally new person after receiving the Holy Ghost in Sacrament meeting. Pure happiness.  There weren't that many investigators in church this time, just 8, but it was a really spiritually uplifting day.  We've got some great members here.  

Thank you all for your love and support.  I know this is the true church, that the Savior lives and loves each one of us.  I know that we are blessed as we make sacrifices for Him.  Preach my Gospel says "All that seems unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ."  I know that is true.  Have a lovely week!  See you soon!

Elder Pew