I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST! I am so grateful for the knowledge of my Savior and that He lives! He lives!
For the first time on my mission, I encountered someone who doesn't believe in faith or Jesus Christ and openly used the Holy Bible to justify her thoughts and opinions. We were tracting in what I like to call "Mexico City." it is FULL of Hispanic people mostly from Mexico! It really is like you are in Mexico. It was a hot day and we tracted for about four and a half hours. We walked up to this home, and two African-American children were outside playing. They excitedly ran in the house to get their Aunt. She came out and I could see that she is about our age; very young. We asked if she had some time where we could share a message.
Out in the hot sun we sat there for 30 minutes talking to her. She knew her Bible. it was impressive. but I just didn't feel the spirit that strongly. The conversation turned as she used the very Bible that testifies of Jesus Christ as our Savior, of His atonement, and used it to justify that He is not our Savior. I was dumfounded. I didn't know what to say or respond to her. I thought in my head, “What could we say right now? What would the Savior say to her if He were standing here.” Then I just opened my mouth and the Articles of Faith is what started to come out. The same articles of faith that I have never been able to memorize. It was amazing for two reasons, one, that my mind could remember them :-) and two, how powerful those simple truths are. I could list off all of the crazy things that she came up with but it is not necessary.
I would like to share the things that I thought about as I listened to her. Every day we face people in this war in heaven that would like to "quitar" or take away from our faith. When she said, "I don't see how a man, dying on a cross, could take away our sins." When that slightest, "what if..." comes into my head, immediately I try to remember what it feels like in the temple. I imagine myself sitting in the celestial room dressed in white and the wonderful truths that we learn there. There is so much power that we can gain for the covenants that we make. I know that my Savior will be on the other "side" with arms stretched out, I just hope and pray that I will be prepared and ready. I KNOW that he is there.
How important is the foundation that we create for ourselves. I read recently Elder Wirthlin's talk, "Come What May and Love It." Such a simple but strong principle.
Santiago was baptized!!!!!!!!!! Woohooo! Bro Bangeter was the one that did his baptismal interview, and yesterday we went to their home for dinner. He said, "I've met very few people as humble and prepared as Santiago to be baptized." Santiago more then any one I have seen be baptized really understood the commitment that he was making. He is 21 years old and grew up in Mexico. He has an uncle that is a member and would always invite his family to church, but they never went. He is here alone and has four cousins that he is living with, but that is it. We tracted into him just at the end of the last transfer. We taught all of them, but only Santiago was interested. Since then he has gotten a lot of grief from his cousins, especially with his decision to be baptized. However, he is already preparing for his mission. He can't wait to get the priesthood and he is an example for his entire family. His mother said "You know what you are doing." There is this light about him. He shared his testimony at his baptism. It was very strong and powerful. He said that he knows that this decision will change the rest of his life. That he has a new life now with the Savior. I was overcome with the spirit and it was hard to keep back tears. I love this work with all my heart. Santiago just needed to be found. He was prepared. The Lord opened His heart. Now he will be a fighting force for Christ.
Remember Eddy? Oh he is so amazing! Recently, he has been ill. Without insurance it has been weighing heavily on him and he has a lot of fear. We visited him last week and he shared his concerns. Immediately we called some of the group members that live in Palm Harbor. (Prior to this, we had asked Eddy to share his testimony in church, but he always says its not good enough. We asked him to say the prayer for Heriberto baptism. He said he wasn't ready, but he promised to say the prayer at the next baptism. Just side note.) On Friday he received a priesthood blessing. and something definitely changed in him. He said the opening prayer yesterday at the baptism for Santiago, but what floored me, is that he stood up and bore his testimony while Santiago was changing. He bore strong testimony, the strongest I have ever seen from him. There was this added light around him. He said, "I've never seen the prophet or heard him, but I've read his words, and I know he is a prophet of God." How simple and pure is that? As it says in the Book of Mormon in the words of Christ, “how much greater was their faith that believed, but had never seen the Savior.” Tears ran down my cheeks as I looked at Eddy and have seen the hand of the Lord in his life. He has had a change of heart.
I want to thank every one for their prayers. It has been a couple difficult weeks as I have had some health issues, but I have felt the prayers of many. Thank you!
"No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing"