Monday, August 26, 2013

God works in mysterious ways...

Hey Everyone! 
So I forgot to bring my paper that has a list of what to write about, so hopefully I'll remember.  :p
OK, so this week has been incredible and my companions have placed 7 Books of Mormon this week.  I know that's nothing compared to other missionaries, but to me it's a blessing each time. :) We are essentially giving someone the key to knowledge. Through this book and prayer, we are able to gain a testimony of God and his TRUE church.  It just makes me overjoyed when someone is willing to take one and read it. Now, we probably won't teach them most of the time, but I believe we are starting them on a journey that some other member or missionary is going to finish. :)  We are just the first domino in a path of hundreds. :)
So this Saturday we had an appointment at 8, but it fell through; and our backup plan didn't work out either :p  But everyone has a choice and everything has a reason to it, so yes I was bummed, but I was hopeful to find what we needed to do next. So we decided to walk back to our apartment -- which was like 4'ish miles away -- and contact people on the way. When randomly around 8:30, Jorge drives up at a light we were waiting to cross. Jorge is in his 40's, and used to be a race car driver. He is really depressed in life and wants to feel God's love for him, but he can't very often because he is a heavy drinker! Anyways, he yells, "Pasense" meaning "jump in." And we were like, "Well duh, we ain't going to walk home," so we jump in.
Big mistake.
He was SOOOOO drunk. And as a race car driver, he already drove a little crazy anyway.  But now drunk, phew....never been so scared in a car in my life. 
But luckily, we just went to his house which was just a 5-minute drive away.  During this time of terror, I couldn't help but wonder why Heavily Father would send us a drunk investigator ...obviously there was something we needed to do.  Anyways, as we entered his home his wife was there! She is a firm Catholic, and never listens to our lessons.  Actually, I had never seen her before this point. So Jorge sits down and drunkenly forces his wife to sit with us. Awkward. Jorge was acting completely disrespectful, and we really didn't know what to do. 
We could see she was really distraught. I have never seen so much emotional pain in a woman before. She was so hurt by her husband's addiction to drinking :( and constant drunkenness :(  This was really hard for me to see :(  I hate seeing a woman cry.  I really have been raised to cherish, treasure, and respect God's daughters. And to see that this man was the cause of so much sorrow in his wife really made me sad the point of tears :(
So our lesson for "Jorge" turned out to be a lesson for Daniela (his wife). We testified to her how God is always with us and knows our pains. We shared Alma 32:21 which talks about how if all you have is but a little desire to know, or in her case hope for change, it will grow with time and faith. We then shared Helaman 5:47 about how God whispers peace to our souls as we show faith in Him. We testified that as we exercise our faith, it will bring us peace. :) We also shared D&C 122 about Joseph Smith's pleading prayer in Carthage jail. And God's response about how his afflictions would be but a small moment, and that God will always be there for us.
The lesson was so powerful. The spirit was so strong ...even though Jorge was a drunken, shirtless, disrespectful mess. I honestly believe when we show a desire for guidance, the spirit will be there to guide us. And the spirit was there testifying to her through us. She needed to hear the message of peace from young men who were ordained of God to teach. I suspect that's why God sent us a drunken investigator bring us to this woman deep in sorrow so that we could help.
I know that God works in mysterious ways.  So even though we may not understand how He works, as long as I'm being a good boy, doing good things, I suppose I don't have to question if it's the spirit guiding me.  I just need to do it.  Through a drunk man, we brought hope and peace to a woman who desperately needed it.
Well, during our lesson we invited both of them to church for last Sunday. Surprisingly, she was really adamant about wanting to go ....he was drunk as a skunk. Anyways, Sunday morning came and he split.  Which left her alone, and she didn't want to come alone. So we were all so bummed about it. But again surprisingly later that day, after our plans had fallen through, Jorge pulled up to us (only kinda' drunk) and again took us to his house. We then had the idea to give them a church tour! :) Right as we entered the chapel Dairia said "Siento mucho Paz aqui" or "I feel so much peace here." BAM!!! We then sang "Soy uno Hijo de Dios" ("I am a child of God.") She loved it! :D She said the feeling just felt right, and she loved the words. :) We then asked her to say a prayer right in the chapel. And she said the most heart-felt prayer, thanking the Lord for His guidance, and for this "sentimiento de paz" :)  The spirit was really strong :)  I've been a member of the church my whole life, and have been in a chapel hundreds of times, but I've never felt the spirit so strongly before. It was just indescribable.
After this, we showed them the baptismal font! :D :D :D   She loved it.  Jorge was acting like a 12 year old, but he did have some interest. :) She absolutely loved the white clothing that you wear. :) She asked me why we wear white, and I testified to her that it is symbolic of a new life, a new clean start, and how all things of God are pure ...just as she can be. :)  The spirit was so strong during all of this.
In the font room was a picture of Christ's baptism. We sat there talking about it for quite some time. At one point, I was prompted to quote 2 Nephi 31:5
And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfill all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!
I then testified to her and Jorge that our purpose in life was to learn of Christ and His example, and that through Him, we can become cleansed, and receive eternal life. :)  I was rather happy I had memorized this verse! :D We waited for a long moment to let it sink in, and every moment the spirit just kept growing in power. :) As time went on, Elder Jensen asked the question, "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the authority of God?" 
They said yes!!!! DOS FECHAS!!!! :D :D  In less than a 24-hour period, we went from one person who wanted nothing to do with the church, and another who was slowly progressing, to both wanting to be baptized! :D  Daniela is super intent on being baptized, while Jorge is only so-so, but if she decides to get baptized, then he probably will too. She on the other hand will only do it if he does. :) But we all have a comforting feeling that they'll both decide to follow Christ. :) There is no possible way to deny the spirit that was there. We've tentatively scheduled their baptismal date for September 28 :) That should give us plenty of time to go through all the lessons and help Jorge tackle his drinking problem.  I am confident God will be there to help us out. :)
I'm so happy to be a missionary. I feel the Spirit daily, and I have witnessed it change lives. :)  I know
On a P-Day Hike above the Carlsbad hills
the Spirit was given to us in this case to guide us to help these souls. We have the spirit to testify of truth. And through the Spirit, all of God's children can know the truth of all things. That's what's beautiful about our Church ...we don't ask people to join and force baptism on them, we simply ask them to find out for themselves.  And when then do it, EVERY TIME they can know that it is true through the spirit. :)
I KNOW I am a representative of the Lord's true Church. It is a testimony that I will never deny. The Book of Mormon is true; Joseph Smith was a true prophet called of God! I know it, for the Lord has revealed it to me through His spirit. :) I'm happy :)
Elder Clemons
Some pictures of our apartment :
Our Kitchen

I sit at the near end of the desk (no desk space) because I'm a visa-waiter :-(