Tuesday, November 19, 2013
"I get to be a superhero!"
Greetings from the lovely paradise of Apple Valley, CA! We had a week of adventure and intrigue! Not really, although that is how I described it in Ward Missionary Correlation. In all seriousness though, things have been really good this week! We had a lot of great opportunities and our work continues to accelerate.
This week I hit my three month mark! It seems so strange that I've already been out working and serving the Lord for three straight months. It's been the most rewarding time of my life and while it has been difficult at times I wouldn't trade it for anything else.
We had a great lesson with one of our investigators this week. She's working on gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon and in the past we would read it with her and review the reading she did in her spare time, starting from the 1st chapter of 1st Nephi and just going from chapter to chapter. We came to the conclusion that in order for her to gain a testimony she needed to read the more spiritual chapters of the Book of Mormon and gain a testimony of what it teaches, rather than the historical events of the Book of Mormon. We left 2nd Nephi 31, where Nephi plainly sets forth the Doctrine of Christ, with her and planned on reading 3rd Nephi 11, where the resurrected Savior appears to the Nephites in America, when we returned. She LOVED 2nd Nephi 31 and ended up marking a ton of the chapter. We read 3rd Nephi 11 with her and she really enjoyed it. After we had read it she confided in us that she had already read the chapter the previous week! That was a big step for her because before she's been troubled with reading the Book of Mormon. As she put it, "I'm starting to gain a relationship with my Book of Mormon." We are very pleased with the progression she's making. After the reading we had an impromptu testimony meeting about the trials in our life and how they've strengthened us. The Spirit was very strong throughout the whole lesson.
Speaking of the Spirit, this week we had a very interesting encounter with some new investigators. They were interested in learning some more and warned us that they really liked to argue. We told them that we weren't there to argue but to teach and they agreed to let us come back in a few days. When we got there we started to teach and they were very argumentative throughout the whole time. We finally got to the introduction of the Book of Mormon and we offered it to one of them, Jay, and he refused to even touch it. We kept telling them that they would have to read it and pray in order to find out if our message was true but he wouldn't have it. It came to the point where I was so fed up with them that I just started bearing straight testimony to them about the truth of the Book of Mormon. I don't think what I said was particularly profound, but the Spirit was there and backed up and bore testimony of what I spoke. After the lesson my companion told me it was the most powerful testimony he had ever heard. When I finished speaking, these three incredibly argumentative men sat in stunned silence, just looking at us. We said a closing prayer and left off on good terms with them. In fact, they offered their protective services to us and said to give us a call if we ever get into trouble. As we left, Jay, who before would not even TOUCH the Book of Mormon, ran after us before we could leave. He walked up to us and in a hushed voice he said, "I just have one more question. Do I have to believe in the Book of Mormon to go to heaven?" This man, who before wouldn't even give the Book of Mormon any consideration, was now concerned how this book related to his eternal salvation. In that moment the Spirit had testified with absolute certainty to his soul that the Book of Mormon was true and now he wanted to know if he had to act on it to be saved. We told him that it wasn't about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith or anything like that, it was about Jesus Christ. The way to obtain the highest degree of glory in heaven is to be baptized by someone who holds Jesus Christ's authority and the Book of Mormon is how we can know if that authority resides in this church. He thanked us for our time and we left on our way. It was an experience I don't think I'll ever forget.
We had the opportunity to visit a less-active member of the ward in the hospital this week. She struggles with respiratory issues and was very glad to see us. She kept telling us that she wasn't ready to die. She asked me to give her a blessing and the Spirit was very strong throughout. It was a very humbling experience.
When confronted with this woman who was worried about dying, it made me think how interesting the mission is. I feel like I'm more acquainted with the world than a lot of people that I know but I'm also completely protected from it. I've seen people in crippling poverty, I've seen those still clinging onto life and not ready to die, I've sat down and talked to those struggling with addictions to highly illegal drugs, I've met a man who changed his entire life because of a heart attack and one scripture verse, I've become friends with one of the most wonderful men in the world who converted to the Gospel when he found an LDS quad in his jail cell and read the whole thing, I've met self-made millionaires, and I've met much more people than I could ever describe in a single email. What a wonderful opportunity to associate with all kinds of people in the world but to not have to worry about becoming worldly. It really gives you an insight to how Christ must have felt when ministering to the people of Jerusalem.
We taught a lesson to one of our newish investigators who already has a baptismal date the other day. She just told us over and over again that she gets such a good feeling when we go into her house. She called us her sons and was so grateful for us teaching her. We're really excited for her baptism and so is she.
In other non-work related notes, this week we've come into the possession of a deep fryer for our apartment. We've already made fried chicken, french fries, and our own potato chips. Up next? Deep fried Oreos tonight. Oh yeah. I guess that's what you get when you serve in the States, haha.
Well, that's about it for this week. I'm excited for the upcoming week. It's always a great feeling when you have a fresh week lying in front of you, full of potential and opportunities. I was thinking this week that for two years my job is to LITERALLY save the world. How cool is that? Why would I ever want to trade this for anything else? Not everyone gets the chance to be a superhero, but fortunately I've been blessed with that opportunity. However, my costume isn't as cool as other superheroes, it's pretty much just a white shirt, tie, and a spiffy name tag. That won't stop me, however! It reminds me of the lyrics to a song from a popular music group among the missionaries out here:
"So here I go,
To save the world,
I'll be so strong,
Yet still miss girls."
Elder Carter David Morgan