This week we taught an older couple, and I think that they are really going to progress! We found Rosalia one day when we were walking. We invited her to church and she said that she had been once before. She then started to cry as she expressed some discouragement about her home situation with her husband and their relationship. We tried to visit her, but a week passed before we found them home. Our first visit was a bit rushed so we didn´t get to teach much but we left a pamphlet about the Restoration. We returned like 2 days later and Rosalia had read the pamphlet. It was so cute she said, ``I read it and I really liked it, but I´m sorry I just didn´t have time to answer all the questions in the back.`` Then as we taught the Restoration she recognized the vocabulary from the definitions in the back of the pamphlet, and she asked lots of questions. Valmir, her husband, was there for the lesson, but he just read the scriptures that we asked him to read. At the end, we committed them to get baptized. They had already been baptized in the Catholic church, but after some explanation and testimony, they accepted a baptismal date. We asked Valmir to say the closing prayer. I just helped him with the outline like addressing Heavenly Father, thanking, asking, and closing in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. He said a beautiful prayer and he even asked for help to be baptized in the Mormon Church--it was so cute! I was shocked because he seemed mole to me. The next day we visited them they had read together from the Book of Mormon and discussed the chapter. They had more questions about baptism, but we talked about the Book of Mormon more and gave them another chapter to read. I am so glad that I am able to teach a family! They don´t have kids but they are just so cute and are learning the gospel together. It was a testimony to me that you can´t judge who will accept the gospel and who won´t. It is also so important to invite everyone in the house to hear our message because it is so powerful when families learn and accept the gospel together.
Jennifer is the only one in her family that really wants to learn about the gospel right now, and her mom still won´t let her get baptized. Her mom says that Jennifer still needs to change before she will let her. We gave Jennifer the For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet and we will teach her more church standards. She is rapidly reading the Book of Mormon though; she is in Mosiah. She will read for like 4 hours a day, and she goes to seminary everyday.
Larissa also needs permission still to get baptized, but her mom is more willing. However, they have a pastor who tried to convince Larissa that we are liars and our church is too. We talked with Larissa after and she said that she didn´t listen to him. She really likes the church and doesn´t ever hear anyone at our church talk bad about other religions, which she likes.
It´s interesting to me how many people know of the Church, have been to church, have a copy of the Book of Mormon, have heard the lessons from the missionaries, etc. We talk to tons of people on the streets, in houses, etc. and lots of people still aren´t interested or they are inactive. I believe that the prophecy that the message of the Restoration will sound in every ear is being fulfilled (``The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; … the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”)
On Sunday, a member of the high council asked our ward to look around and ask ourselves why our chapel is not full? This is the truth. We know it. He asked us if we are really doing our maximum because this work is just that important.
I like this quote by Elder Holland about our responsibility to prepare the world for the second coming: ``Because ours is the last and greatest of all dispensations, because all things will eventually culminate and be fulfilled in our era, there is, therefore, one particular, very specific responsibility that falls to those of us in the Church now that did not rest quite the same way on the shoulders of Church members in any earlier time. Unlike the Church in the days of Abraham or Moses, Isaiah or Ezekiel, or even in the New Testament days of James and John, we have a responsibility to prepare the Church of the Lamb of God to receive the Lamb of God—in person, in triumphant glory, in His millennial role as Lord of lords and King of kings. No other dispensation ever had that duty.``
I have also been thinking about what stops us from preparing the world for the second coming and on my mission I have met many people who have distanced themselves from the church because they dislike the ward leadership or the members. Jesus himself prophecied of this in Matthew 24:10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. He doesn´t say that many shall offend--he says that many shall be offended, making it a choice. He also said that many will betray one another; you have to be close to someone/friends in order to betray someone. Then he says that we will hate one another. Hate is the absence of forgiveness. Jesus taught, But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;. The work will hasten rapidly if each member applies these principles and we learn to love and forgive. It is hard to forgive, others as well as ourselves, but I have seen it in my own life. The sweetness of forgiveness is hard to describe. Such a weight is lifted when we use the Savior´s atonement--we shouldn´t let that great sacrifice be in vain; we must use it to change and become more like Him. I hope that I am becoming more Christlike on my mission. I want to learn to love people the way that he did. I am grateful for his life, his ministry, his atonement, and his resurrection. I am grateful to be able to participate in his work. It is so sweet.
I hope you all have a great week!
Te amo, Sister Sadie Bledsoe