From the Parent of a Missionary
What a marvelous week. I feel a bit numb right now, because last night I got a long dreaded phone call that I am being transferred from Ipala! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
But don’t worry. I made my last week a good one, filled with action, suspense, and the Spirit!
It all started on Monday. We had still been working with my beloved investigator, Rolando, to get him baptized on the 8th. Monday was going to be a very important lesson, because we were going to challenge him to really repent and get baptized because he wanted to, and not because of his family. But the lesson turned into a complete disaster. The Spirit wasn’t present, Hermana Silvia (his inactive wife) ran to hide from us, and my tongue was tied up. We left feeling totally disappointed and realized that this brother couldn’t get baptized. I passed the next couple of days thinking and praying and studying of how I could help them, but they basically told us straight up that they didn’t want our help. It’s really hard when you do all you possibly can to help someone and show your love for them, and you KNOW what is right, but they just don’t seem to grasp it and rather than accept your help and the path of Christ, they choose another. Finally, on Thursday, after days of prayer, we went with their family again and we all agreed together that he wasn’t ready to get baptized, and that we would give them time to think about it. At last, I felt peace. It was a great learning and humbling experience for me. Sometimes the Lord brings us low before he can bring us up again.
With all of that happening, I was feeling stressed and tired at the beginning of this week. I knew that Ipala hadn’t progressed as much as I wanted it too, and I felt like Alma: And now it came to pass that Alma, having seen the afflictions of the humble followers of God, and the persecutions which were heaped upon them by the remainder of his people, and seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful; nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him. (Alma 4)
After a blessing from my companion and lots of prayer, I finally began to see the progress and the blessings of the Lord. I had said before that we were doing ¨plan 60¨in my final two week push, and boy did we get it done this week! We worked hard with several less active families, interviewing members, and challenging the whole world to change. On Friday, I had a life changing zone meeting in which I learned some very important principles on becoming a better servant of Christ, and this seemed to lift my spirits and help me to do things that I wasn’t doing before: the Spirit opened my mouth and I began to preach in public buses, in the streets, and invited the Spirit of the Lord unto the changing of the hearts of men. You think it’s hard to move a mountain? Try moving a heart.
The climax was on Sunday. After running from one side to the next, we managed to get a bunch of people to come to church and filled up the chapel with a record breaking 85 people, including another visit from Los Olivos, nearby village. I was given an opportunity to speak, and I felt the Spirit of the Lord open my mouth once again in what turned out to be my farewell speech, even though I didn’t know it at the time. My words turned to tears as I begged the members to become the members they needed to be and to not treat their membership in the true church of Christ casually. Here’s a brief excerpt:
¨I don’t know if I am going to be leaving you this week. But I know that if I leave, my garments are clean from your blood because I did EVERYTHING that I could do. I beg you to listen to the Spirit of the Lord and to work hard to achieve your goals so that this branch can truly GROW. This is the true Church of Christ! You have NO EXCUSES!¨ (See Jacob 1:19)
My companion told me afterwards that I had spoken a bit harshly. And looking back on it, I kind of did. But they all took it well.
I managed to get the entire branch to get together to take a picture with me, too. I´ll attach it to this email. But it was easily to happiest Sunday I have had here. It was a sign unto me that the Lord is finally moving his work forward there. It nearly broke my heart (and my companion’s) when they told me I had changes. But I pray that the missionary who takes my place will be able to fill the very large shoes that I left for him.
For thus saith the Lord God: Him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good, and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard. Yea, his weeping for Zion I have seen, and I will cause that he shall mourn for her no longer; for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins, and the manifestations of my blessings upon his works. (D and C 21:7 and 8)
And no, I don’t know where I’m going yet. I find out tomorrow morning when I go to the capital to our central change meeting. I’ll tell you next week!
Love you all,