“But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry. (2 Nephi 33: 3)
This describes how I feel for the people we are teaching. There is nothing more powerful and moving than to see the atonement work in the life of someone you have found and are teaching. We are currently teaching a 15 year old boy named John Si. He is a nephew of a member. he has had a very hard up bringing... immersed in gang activity even at such a young age. He is very mature for his age. It is kind of sad, but because of some of the choices of others, his opportunity to "just be a kid" was taken away. Every time we have taught him it has been a very powerful and spiritual experience. We've taught him now for a week and a half. I can't believe its only been that long, but just in that little time he has changed so much. The first time we met with him we he was a little rough around the edges, but had sincere interest in changing his life. It was the desire of His heart. We testified to him, that the only way that he could really have the strength to change, to really change for the rest of his life, is through faith in Jesus Christ. So just like what Alma has instructed us to do, we started an experiment.
John promised he would do the things that we asked him. He said now he doesn't get as angry anymore, he always has a smile. He has seen a miracle with his mom as well. She has started to take the time to spend with him and their relationship is starting to mend. Oh boy! It is so exciting! I challenged him to keep the Book of Mormon with him wherever he goes. I promised him that it would protect him and that whenever he is tempted that he can open it, even just hold it, and he would be comforted. The last time we went of there, he said, "I've kept it with me where ever I go, it really does make me feel good." Last Sunday, he couldn't come to church because he was grounded, but he said he had church at home. He read and prayed and made it really special for him. he will be baptized this Saturday. We are all very excited! I know that it is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ and the Grace of God that we can change.
This transfer, Sister Baum and I have focused all our energy and thoughts on faith. What can we do to strengthen our faith? We have set some hefty goals with the guidance of the Holy Ghost, goals that sometimes seem way out of our reach, but we know, that if we have the faith that we can accomplish it, Heavenly Father will provide the way. This principle has proven to be true. I have really reflected on the power to heal in these last weeks. Many times I've asked myself, "Do I have the faith to be healed if but I only touched the hem Of Jesus' garment?" Because of the atonement, Jesus Christ is always within reach. we do not have to have an "issue of blood" to be healed just as she was. but how much Faith does it really take? What do I need to do to feel that healing power of the atonement?
It is interesting, that as Sister Baum and I have focused so hard on strengthening our own faith, some interesting experiences have been placed in front of us. Remember Amalia, the lemonade lady we met in the gas station? Well she is set to be baptized the first week in June. Her son however, is not as open to our message. I find myself looking at him, and seeing where I was 3 and a half years ago, sitting there saying, "Who is Jesus Christ?” and “I'm not really sure if God exists." While Sister Baum taught Amalia on the other side of the room, Jesus and I had a really good heart to heart talk and I shed some tears with him. I shared with him a little bit of my journey of finding faith in Christ. It was a very touching moment for me to be able to share that with him. Well, I said, "Jesus, its not going to come all at once, only little by little. So we are starting with "homework" assignments. Watching the DVD “Finding Faith in Christ,” reading assignments, conversations on the phone. I shared with him about Alma the younger (Alma 36) and the power that faith had in his life. I shared also how Alma taught about an experiment (Alma 34) I can already see a light in him. It is very exciting!
As a mission we were so blessed on Saturday! For the first time in maybe 5 years, our mission was all together at one time. We're just so large and spread out that the most we get together at one time is 1/3 and that is at Christmas. Elder Anderson came to visit the mission. Being so far down south, it was an ALL day adventure! Yes, with the Naples sisters we had an awesome day! Road trip! It is just over a 3 hour drive! we had so much fun! Sis Baum and I couldn't even sleep the night before we were so excited. We said, "This is better then Christmas eve! Santa Claus is fake, but seeing an apostle is the real deal!" So funny! You can probably guess what the focus of conference was, yes, FAITH! Sister Baum and I were just soaking it all in! We were all privileged to shake the hand of Elder Anderson. Oh what sweet spirit filled the room as he walked in. The spirit testified so strongly that he truly is a special witness of Jesus Christ.
(Ahhh, I'm running out of time!!!) I will have to write more about this next week! But it was absolutely amazing!
I really want to talk about an experience that we had yesterday while tracting. Well, I'll have to share that next week too! Ahhhh, I always run out of time!!! Love you all!!!
P.S. – I'm kind of sad because we have our last interviews with President and Sister Colton tomorrow. I sure have grown close to them.