Hola a todos,
1st off, happy birthday on the 16th dad!! I'm putting this in the fam email so everyone wishes him a happy birthday :) Just so everyone knows, he likes shrimp, stuff for his classroom, and pictures of his missionary daughter ;) Also, today is my one year mark since starting my mission papers!! Woohoo!
so I decided that this email would be a story rather than a weekly update. It's the story of smith and kevin!
About a month and half ago we were teaching one of our investigators, Arlette. We asked if she knew anyone we could teach. She suggested two teenage boys- Smith, who lived across the street and Kevin, His best friend.
At the time, we didn't know this, but Kevin is the brother of the other hermana's recent convert, Anyelin.
So we stopped by and got an apponitment with them. For the appointment, neither of them were there. Normally, we wouldn't bother passing by again unless there's a definite feeling, but there was! We both felt we needed to try again. So the second time, Smith was there. We taught him about the love of our Heavenly Father and it was a very powerful lesson. He happily accepted a return appointment.
The next appointment, Kevin was there too! For the next week we were teaching them, but they weren't following through on their committments or coming to church. Transfers rolled around and Hermana Fletcher and I were praying and working really hard to find people who could be ready to be baptized before the end of Hermana Fletcher's mission (on the 26th). We weren't really expecting Smith and Kevin. There's a mission rule that if they are under 18 they have to come to church 3 months straight with out missing church before baptism- unless their progress is really picking up and get permission from the bishop for an earlier date. But, we didn't see their progress picking up enough to get that permission- or for them to seek it. However, the Lord had a different plan.
The first thing that happened was Kevin came to the stake baptism night and started showing more of a committment to make that a goal, which was the first big change we saw in either one of them. After that, the coolest thing started happening to me as a missionary. Something like never before.
Ideas started flooding into my mind for these two. I feel like as a missionary, a lot of time i'm left on my own for ideas so that I grow, ya know? But Sometimes, there really is divine intervention. I was thinking of things I would have never thought of on my own. And not only that, I was developing more love than I ever have before for these two teenagers. Complete, love. It's an exquisite feeling.
Almost immediately, these two went from wishy washy to determined golden investigators. They started teaching us the lessons and asking us for assignments that they could teach us! They asked to meet with us EVERY NIGHT. So we started meeting with them every night. They completely dropped coffee, and were determined to progress. Kevin was the first to say he was for sure wanting to be baptized, and a couple of nights later smith said, ''I finally got my answer!! I left our lesson and I was full with complete joy. Nothing like ever before. I want to be baptized" Wow. I was speechless and on the verge of tears.
Then, seeing their progress so rapid and having every ward member saying that they were ready, and feeling they were ready, we set a temporary baptismal date of the 24th until we got for sure bishop permission. In the meantime, I gave them a BOM challenge to read the whole BOM in 18 days and finish on their baptismal day. They accepted it. I learned that I should do what I extend, so I am also reading the BOM in 18 days right now and in Mosiah. I will finish ont he 24th. However, I didn't know if they would stick to it because their assignments had only been 1 chapter a day at the most before, not 14-15! But to my complete shock and amazement, they surpassed the schedule I gave them and read all the way through Alma in 4 short days. That book... it changed them more than anything. They want to be baptized, and help the missionaries and go on missions! It's amazing!!
Well, then we had a hold up last monday. The 1st counselor told us No, there are so many less active young men in the ward that they are worried and they wanted smith and kevin to do the 3 months. We decided not to tell Smith or Kevin until we talked to the bishop. We talked to him and he agreed, hesitantly, to give them an interview before having a firm decision.. Well on Sunday, we saw a miracle. The bishop interviewed them and then he came out and said, ''You were right. This is what God wants.'' It. Was. Amazing.
So they are blowing everyone's minds, not just mine. They are helping us make a ward plan to help the less active members, and will be coming on appointments to visit these young men with the missionaries after their baptisms. How sweet is that!? But this whole process hasn't just changed them, it's changed me. It's changed me to believe in change. To believe in miracles. To believe in the Lord's direction in our lives, because I wouldn't have put that much energy into these two withought feeling that from the Lord. They are ready, they are powerful. And i'm seeing in a change in myself that I never expected. All I want is to bring others the gospel. Come what may! I will do what the Lord needs done. Because this really is His work! I am priviledged to be a part of God's army in the last days, as we all are as members of his true church. I know the Book of Mormon is true and has power, it's changed me and now i've witnessed it change two others immensely. It really does have a changing and invigorating power. I know that this IS the Lord's church. May we all find ways to experience this kind of joy of bringing others to the church... It truly is extraordinary.
I love you all. Hurrah for Israel!!
|This is the photo I got when I said "Send photos, I like to stare at them during the week" Haha|
|The Hermanas with Kevin and Smith|
|The letters they gave Kevin and Smith when their baptism was approved|