Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm getting pumped again just writing about it


So much happens in a week that it's nearly impossible to remember all the things that I wanted to write about! But I'll give it my best shot :-)

So we contacted this Catholic lady on our street. She bashed us saying that our church is wrong because we allow priests to marry. She also ragged on us because we only serve for 2 years, not our whole lives. She also wasn't willing to listen to us about what we do after our full-time missions.
My typical breakfast :-)
Anyways, she went on saying how Christ is more important that all, and if you love Christ, then you have no room to love anyone else, even your family: "All my heart is for Jesus.  I don't have room for my husband or my family ...because all I love is Jesus." The worst part was that her daughter was right there! We could tell that she was hurt by her mother's dedication to Christ. Anyways, she continued with her reasons: we're not the true church because our Bible is wrong.  Apparently, our Bible is missing 7 books ...meaning the Apocrypha (or however you spell it).  How they chose those 7 books idk, but it's in their Bible. Anyways, she gave Elder Jensen a Bible with the Apocrypha in it. And he started reading it the next morning ("We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly"). So he starts telling me about the prophet after Moses, and how he lead the Israelites into Canaan and Jericho and such. I was like "are you talking about Joshua?" And he said  "Have you read this before?" Bahaha, he didn't know that Joshua was also in our Bible! Super funny!

My wonderful Kneader's French Toast breakfast
So on a different topic, looks like we have 8 baptismal dates!!! :D  and possibly soon to be 10 ;)  They are Jorge and Daniela, Mama y Papa Barba, Florencio, Ofelia, Gabriel (and maybe also his two children), and Jasmine (Gabriel's niece). Wow, wonderful!  But sadly, it looks like we might have to drop Florencio y Ofelia. They aren't progressing very well, so much so that we've already told Ofelia we'll need to start visiting other people, and we may have the same chat / lesson with Florencio.

And even more sad is we may have to push back Jorge y Daniela's date. :(  Jorge's addiction is just too strong, or perhaps it's his pride. He will not admit that he has a problem and that his addiction is destroying his family's relationships. He just won't, or maybe he can't. He always says that he can do anything, that nothing can stop him. I guess it's good to have that level of confidence, but not so much that you can't admit that something is wrong and you need some higher help. We had a lesson with them after church (Jorge had bailed on Church again for drinking), but it was all over the place. We started talking about their baptismal dates, and how we still have a lot to teach them. But Jorge works from 5am - 6pm every day, and then goes drinking afterwards unless we catch him right at 6.  Daniela works 2 jobs from 5-11am y 5-11pm. So it's nearly impossible to meet with them at the same time. Daniela has also started talking to us about her doubts of the church.  Growing up Catholic, she told us how she had great faith in the Virgin Mary (Mexicans believe that Mary is their protector and is equal with Christ).  She told us that when she was little and very sick she prayed to be healed and looked up in the sky and the clouds formed into the figure of Mary, and she was healed that same day. So I suspect this is going to be a big hurdle. But I still hope she will be baptized. But she's also stopped reading the BoM this week because Jorge was hiding the Tareas (tasks) we left, and that's when her doubts have crept in. So we talked about how the Church uses the Book of Mormon as the "keystone of our religion". If the book is true, then the church is also. If not, then we are just another church. So we commited her to read daily on her own. And ask her Heavenly Father if it's true.

We bought Jorge an addiction recovery book written by the Church. But we forgot it, so we told Jorge y Daniela that we would run home real quick and grab it. When we returned Jorge had left to go drink ...right after he had promised he to go a week without it. While sad, this was a perfect opportunity to talk with Daniela. We found a nice picnic table outside. And wow, so much stuff is going on. Jorge's problem is FAR bigger than we thought. It's essentially destroyed everything in his life. He hasn't talked to his parents or bothers and sisters for months. And shockingly, both her and his families are pressuring Daniela y her son to leave Jorge. :(  But she feels it would be devastating for him, so she's staying. So much pressure is own this women. :(  2 jobs and an addicted husband. We had a great lesson about families and Christ's atonement. We read D&C 122 about Jospeh Smith's prayer in Liberty jail, and Alma's people in Helem, and how Christ lightened their burdens so they were able to bear them. It went extremely well! She really absorbed it. She really just needed some comfort, and it looks like God sent us to bring it. We left her with our testimonies, read Alma 7:11-13, and taught her that she was a literal daughter of God, and that He would do everything to help her. It was powerful. She really needed this message, and I'm happy that Elder Jensen and I were worthy to bear it.

A tie I bought at a local thrift store ..hey it was only 25 cents!

So super awesome story!
In scanning through out "area book", we found a women named Mariam who 2 years back had gotten baptized.  Looks like her kids also wanted to get baptized, but never were! We found her house, knocked on the door, and Jasmine opened it. We explained who we were, and she got super excited.  Told us all about the last missionaries. Anyways, turns out Gabriel (another one of our investigators) is her uncle.  So we invited her over to his house for a lesson that we were going to have. She accepted. :)  We showed up at 8 and sat down at the table with Gabriel, his father-in-law Pedro, and Jasmine. Pedro started asking random questions! He was clear he was very confused about religion, especially who Jehovah is (but that's why we're here, right). He was getting frustrated ...which is obviously not good for our lesson with Gabriel and Jasmine. So luckily, we were in a position to teach separately. I took Jasmine and Gabriel into the living room, and Elder Jensen stayed in the Kitchen. It was really scary for me, but so cool! I had to teach the whole first lesson by myself with only 5 weeks of Spanish.  But I set 2 baptismal dates! God certainly can work miracles through a simple missionary. I have never felt so much power flowing through me. Super amazingly, my Spanish was nearly perfect! We talked about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and I testified that I knew that the church was true. I asked them how they felt. And they both responded that they felt at peace, and that the Book of Mormon was true. Gabriel told me that he'd been reading it, and that he knew it was true. I asked them both to be baptized, and both accepted dates for the 26th of October. :)  It was clear that the Spirit was testifying to them through me. I couldn't have done that on my own.

 We've had transfers. My new district: Elders Herrera, Lewis, & Jensen Sisters: Escalante & Bennet   
So after my lesson with Gabriel and Jasmine -- and Elder Jensen's with Pedro -- we reunited and said our goodbyes and left. We then both exploded with little "woots" and told each other what had happened. Apparently Elder Jensen was able to clear up some 60 years of confusion with Pedro. He told me how he just kept having scriptures come to his mind from the Bible. Scriptures that teach clearly that Jehovah is the redeemer, and that Christ is the redeemer; that Jehovah is judge and that Christ is judge; that Jehovah is the creator, and that Christ is the creator, etc. Pedro was literally dumb founded, and confused about what he had been taught. Elder Jensen was then able to introduce the Book of Mormon scriptures on the same topic: God knew that there would be confusion, that people would interpret the Bible in many different ways. That's why He has revealed more scripture, to help clarify His Gospel. We were so happy! Neither one of us had ever had an experience like that. I'm getting pumped again just writing about it.  To top things off, they all came to Church! :) ...and brought 2 others with them :) You never know, we may yet get more investigators from this week's happenings :D

Well I love it here. I learn so much daily. :) My testimony is growing stronger and stronger by the moment. I'm loving the Lord's work, and am partaking of his joy. :)

I would just like to testify of the Church. This is the true Church of Christ. With a true prophet, 12 real apostles, and modern-day ongoing revelation. God has given us everything to be happy, we just have to show a bit of effort to seek it. The Book of Mormon is true; one just has to open it to taste of its goodness. :)  My testimony will never fail for it is built on Christ.

I know personal revelation exists ...and that's the beauty of the Church:  we don't ask people to join the Church blindly, we simply asked them to find out for themselves if it's true ...through prayer and scripture study.  We know that as they do this, our Father in Heaven who loves them, will answer their sincere prayers ...and they will want to be baptized and join His kingdom. :)

The church is true, and I'm happy to be a member of Christ's Church. :)

-Elder Clemons

P.S. Still no word on my visa :(