Monday, July 20, 2015

The Book of Mormon Does It Again!‏

This week, a few sketches of how the Book of Mormon solves everyone's problems ever. They've cut down our e-mail time to an hour and a half here (Some of you other missionaries might say "'Cut down?!'") so my letters might be a bit shorter from here on it but it doesn't mean I don't love you!

First off, our investigator with date, Mayra, is still struggling to find a testimony. We asked her how she feels while reading the Book of Mormon and she mentioned that she feels a bit more alleviated - so I frantically searched for something like that in the Book of Mormon and my companion helped me find Alma 36, where Alma talks about how he felt as he cried out in the depths of his sorrows.

 18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.

 19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.

 20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

Pretty great, heah? Check out the chiasmus that's in this chapter to even better understand the beauty of these verses.

Then, later in the week, we checked up on whether she'd called her parents to ask for permission to be baptized - she still hadn't called her dad and was a little afraid to do so. But we searched in the Book of Mormon and again my companion suggested we read Alma 20 - the story of when Ammon and his recent convert King Lamoni have a run-in with Lamoni's dad. The result being that Lamoni's dad gets converted a few chapters after!

We've also been teaching a family that's great, but the huge problem with their progress is the fact that like three of them don't know how to read. Lousy public education. So we've been teaching them bit by bit how to read and they have been having a bit of progress. But for me it was a big disappointment when they didn't come to church this week. I was pretty frustrated. But the second councilor in the mission presidency (I didn't even know mission presidencies existed), who's in charge of the branch, came down for a branch conference, and while he was there he shared a scripture in 3 Nephi 18, where Jesus explains what we need to do with people that might not be progressing.

 32 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.

That helped me to realize that we should keep visiting them, despite my frustration. And when we went to visit them that night, we learned that they'd had a lot of problems with one family that day who had gone off and done a lot damage and now the mom was pretty ticked off. We ended up sharing that very same scripture with them, but applying it to their home! We testified that Christ can change people and that they could really see those changes they want to see if the follow Him.

And finally we were teaching a less-active that's also been having plenty of problems in their family. It's hard for her to come to church because not everyone in her family is a member and even those that are members don't want to come to church. This reminded me of a part in Alma where Alma goes to rescue the less-active Zoramites. When he sees their state of apostasy, he's really saddened, but I love the prayer he says in chapter 31.

 31 O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me,because of the iniquity of this people.

 34 O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.

 35 Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.

The scripture really helped her to see how she can help her family and she came to church the next day!

The Book of Mormon does it, once again! Hurrah!

In other news like I said Presidente Ayala came, the second councilor in the mission presidency, and he organized for the first time an Elders Quorum here and ordained 5 new elders! It's great for the branch and we keep progressing. In only 4 years the branch has about 70 members and the missionaries here have been having a lot of success in baptizing as well.

The mission isn't easy but it's great. I know this is the Lord's work and that Christ lives! Have a good week, everyone.
A coconut tree.

The Cevallos family are some awesome recent converts in our sector from Colombia. They make guitars and play them for a living. How cool is that?

              Papaya growing in a member's backyard.



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