Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ya, I knew members were important, but I didn't realize how much...

Howdy! :D
So I forgot to tell you, but since yesterday was a holiday, our P-day is today. So just in case I forget to write in the future, it's probably because it's a holiday. ;)
So mom, you're not going to like this, but since my visa application has been out so long, it has "expired" and Argentina has asked for a new, updated one. I'm not going to lie, I was a bit unhappy about that seeing we were as on top of that as you can be, but I got it taken care of and have already sent everything off to the Church. But here's some good news! ...my MTC companion has apparently already received his about 2 weeks ago.   So, it appears, good things happen to those who procrastinate ;-)   But for unknown reasons the president here is holding his visa. But at least the visa's are coming now ;)
I just barely got back from the Temple! :D  Oh wow, it was so beautiful and peaceful! :)  I love being around the temple; no one can deny the spiritual power that is found there. Without a doubt, I know that it is God's house here on earth. You just feel pure, uplifted, guided, happy, and as cheesy as it sounds -- heavenly. But that's just it. The feelings and presence felt at the temple are directly from God, it's a feeling that one cannot express, just experience. It's incredible and unique, found only at the House of God. (Oh, and the new film was absolutely spectacular! Loved it! So much more emotion. And I loved the awesome "Satan rules this kingdom" scene. I felt like I was in a legit movie.)
So what's up with our government? We've heard that it has shut down? Just some useful information and updates on that please. :)  (editor's note:  done!)
We met this cool black karate dude. We were knocking doors, and he was moving out.  We offered our help, and to our surprise (since everyone says no) he said yes. So we helped him move, and we learned that he was quite a character ...very friendly and talkative. He loved to show us his "karate" moves such as random kicks and backhand slaps. A very different style of karate, but useful....I guess.
We also met a self-proclaimed reincarnated Jesus ...which was quite interesting. While we were in the middle of a fairly basic conversation, he stopped us and said, "Sorry, but I have some more suffering I need to endure" and then rode off on his bike :-)
I have come to learn that when people commit to being baptized, it doesn't mean they actually mean it. I've seen a lot of our "commitments" fall away. It's so sad to see the spirit testify to people and for them to accept baptism, but then not do anything to nurture the beginning of that testimony. We are only going to baptize those people who desire it, and prove to God that they desire it through their efforts. I guess to a certain degree baptism is earned, not given.
So we have two new investigators that we have been working with. I don't recall if I mentioned them last week, but they are Jose y Javier. We had an incredible lesson with both of these men. Javier is really familiar with the Bible and is firm in his own personal beliefs.  Sometimes I feel that he invites us over just to bash and criticize, but his beliefs essentially match our message, so we stick with him. Last Tuesday we had a lesson with him and brought a recent convert -- Hermano Adolfo -- with us. He has such a strong testimony. Our lesson centered on the importance of the Book of Mormon and how to receive revelation. Hermano Adolfo's testimony was perfect. He talked about his own experiences and how his answer came as he was reading. I believe Javier was touched and promised he would read and pray ...we'll find out tonight. ;)
From this and other experiences, I have really learned the importance of members.  Ya, I knew they were important, but I didn't realize how much we needed their help until this lesson. Javier and Adolfo really clicked, and Adolfo's testimony was perfectly geared to Javier's needs.
Our Lesson with Jose was about the differences of our Church. We focused on Authority, Prophets, and the Book of Mormon. It was going great, things were flowing well. But then Jose asked the perfect off-topic question: "What happens after this life?" Well obviously we had the answer: Spirit World, Resurrection, Judgment, and the 3 kingdoms. We were able to testify of it using the Bible, and then finished up with some BoM references. It was very strong, and he was essentially blown away. We then bore testimony of the Plan of Salvation, and how in this plan God has given us "guides" to help us return (meaning prophets, Book of Mormon, Light of Christ, personal revelation, etc). We then asked him if he could see any importance in reading the Book of Mormon. And he answered perfectly, "Because I need to gain a personal witness of the truthfulness of this book, and if I do, then everything you have taught me is true." I was ecstatic to hear that answer. It feels so good to feel the spirit testifying through you.  And then when the investigator understands it, the spirit just grows. :)
We had another incredible lesson last night with Gabriel and Pedro. They both had questions about Joseph Smith's life, and so we decided to watch the history of Joseph Smith. I have seen this movie many times, but this night was different ...much more powerful. Being out in the mission and  testifying daily of Joseph Smith, makes this movie so much more personal. I could feel the spirit being poured on me during the first vision.  I felt angry (but also proud) at the tarring and feathering of Joseph Smith.  And I felt power as Joseph Smith, in jail and shackles, commanded those "fiends of the infernal pit" to be silent. This story, and Christ's church that he helped restore, have become so much more a part of me while I've been on my mission these few short months. I literally felt my testimony growing as a watch the movie, and I can declare to the world that Joseph Smith is a true prophet called of God as was Moses. His dieing testimony stands as a witness to the world of the truthfulness of the Restoration.
Anyways, the movie also really touched Gabriel and Pedro. Gabriel was silent, and Pedro bore testimony to us. He told us, "When you first started coming here, I didn't believe at all in Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon.  But now, seeing the living prophet last week and seeing this movie, now I know. I know modern day prophets and revelation exists." It was really powerful and touching. He then went on to explain that the trials and death of Joseph Smith prove the restoration true ...just as the apostles of old died for truth, so did this prophet Joseph Smith.  Gabriel then agreed with Pedro and said that he was ready for baptism. I think, in reality, he may be.  We just need to invite him to stay for all of church and finish up the lessons. So we will have to push his date back, but I do believe he will be baptized. He reads and prays daily about the BoM, and he knows it's true. The only thing left is to go to church all 3 hours and wait. :)
Well that's about all I have to say today. I'm growing daily in my testimony. I read this cool talk called the "17 Points of the True Church" which identifies the traits of the true church as identified in the Bible. It's a story of a convert who found his way to the church. Very touching and interesting. 
I know the Church and the Gospel it teaches are true.  I am a servant of our Lord, and I know I am on His errand. I will never deny the truth that this is the Lord's church, for as truth will always remain, so will my testimony. I know Christ is our Lord and Savior. I know it.
With Love,
Elder Clemons
P.S.  Thank you so much for the package! It is greatly appreciated! The only thing I can think of that would still be helpful would be to get a copy of my "line of authority" card. That would be cool to have. :)
Love you and miss you tons!