This week was a great week! It was really full of lots of good stuff. Start off with Liseth.
Last week on Friday we went to visit Liseth for the last time before her baptism on Sunday. We taught her some of the last little things but more than anything we went through the baptismal questions. At the end of the lesson she offered the closing prayer, she gave so much thanks to God. By the end of her prayer she was crying from the emotion of gratitude. She then said something that really impacted me. She said, "I used to feel so empty. I thank God that you guys knocked on my door." Liseth was the first person that I have baptized in my mission that came from contacting, the rest have been from references.
Just to fill y’all in on a little bit of the story. Liseth’s brother, Reginaldo, used to have a preacher come and read the bible with him and she never listened to any of the pastors. She said she never felt good listening to them, and she never went to church with anybody. But she told us that when we knocked on her door she felt something different. The second time that we went to teach Reginaldo she just came out and started listening to us. When we invited her to church she simply said that they would be there. In the last 10 Sundays she has gone to 9 of them. She is constantly reading the Book of Mormon. She asked the bishop for a Come Follow Me book, and she bought a year subscription to the church magazine. The spirit really touched her heart and she made the choice to change.
The baptism on Sunday went really well, there was good support from the ward and she was super happy after her baptism.
We are still working with Reginaldo, he wants to get baptized but needs to leave something behind that he used to do that he did not completely realize are bad. If he really commits to changing he should be able to get baptized in about three weeks.
Neither Angel nor his mom came to church on Sunday, then with being so busy with everything that happened with changes and Elder Bednar, we have not been in our area since Sunday around 3:00.
We had changes on Monday, which were crazy! We got 23 new missionaries on Monday, which allowed us to open up 8 new areas. We got all of the normal changes done (there were a bunch) done by about 1:30pm. Then at 2:00 we picked up 18 new missionaries from the MTC so that they could have their interview with president and get their new companions. By 7:00 they had their comps and were on their way to their areas. There was also a missionary getting here from the MTC in Provo, so we sent somebody to the airport to pick him up so that he could get his companion. There were also three missionaries that got here from Brazil Monday night. They were supposed to have landed at 7:50 but they didn't land and get out of the baggage claim and the immigration stuff until about 9:45. We then got back to the office so that they could have their interviews with President and also get their comps. By the time we did that and the last minute things we needed to do to wrap up the day, I think we got home around midnight.
The meeting with Elder Bednar was really great. He talked a lot about faith and helped me understand a little more about what is true faith in Christ. He talked about things that we have all heard before, but sometimes you have to have the Apostle there in person so that it really sinks in. LOL
He really focused on faith, being an agent and not getting acted upon. One of the things that he said that stood out to me was about agency. He used the example of when someone says, "he made me mad!" He then explained that somebody cannot make you mad, but that you, being an agent, have to choose if you are going to get mad, or offended... etc. You cannot get mad or offended unless you allow it.
One of the other things that he talked about was how to gain faith through action, and acting on what we learn. He said, "Faith is not a mysterious thing in a cloud, I hope I can get some! But rather, it is a principal of action." The Israelites had to get their feet wet before the sea parted.
Ether 12:6 says, "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Many times, when we read the trial of our faith, we think that it is something big and terrible, a sickness, or a death in the family, and there might be occasions that it is something like that. But more often than not, the trial of our faith is if we will act or not. Do we choose to read our scriptures or not, do we faithfully offer our prayers or not. Every time that we have to make a decision, big or small, it is a trial of our faith.
I feel more desires now to really develop true faith in Jesus Christ. I know that I have a base, but that there are a lot more things to learn and, even more importantly, DO!
I hope that we can all look inwards and reflect about our faith. Remembering that believing is only a small part of faith, the other part is acting on what we learn.
I love you all so much and hope that you have a great week!