Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Week 55

Hey everyone,

This week has been full of miracles and mercies.  We have seen the hand of God as we have been working here.  I like to think of the parable of the sower and the seed as I teach and visit with my companion.  We are here to plant the seed of truth in the hearts of people as best as we can and help guide them as that seed grows into a plant, but the miraculous transformation the people take on as the little plant of faith grows in them is a product of our Heavenly Father's mercy and love for us as well as his divine power to change.  As Ezra Taft Benson said, “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ would take the slums out of people, and then they would take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”  It's truly incredible to see how following the teachings of Jesus Christ allows us to change who we are, and as missionaries, we see this process of change and growth a lot.  Just as the parable of the sower and the seed teaches, the only thing that we need to do is place that seed in suitable ground so that it may grow.  

Recently we have met many people with that "suitable" ground in their hearts- the desire to follow Christ and the desire to change.  Many of them have already had that seed planted within them and are ready to bring forth fruits.  We have been blessed to be here in the time of harvest.  We are teaching and working with many families that will be getting married and baptized within the next two months.  I know that our Heavenly Father has guided us to these families to help them reap the fruits of their faith and receive blessings as they come to follow Jesus Christ in His church.  We are very excited for these people and families as they continue in their journey towards their goals. The Lord has taught me to trust more in the Him, and I trust in Him to teach me how to work in his vineyard. I have learned a lot from Him and try to follow His example.  It is His work, and it is wonderful to be a part of it.  

We met a family with the help of a friend, F.  They live on a giant hill or small mountain- not sure which- with a beautiful view.  G and M have ten children.  They have lots of chickens and a plantation of lichas and rambutans.  They are very genuine people with a very strong faith in Jesus Christ.  We shared about the restoration of the gospel and Church of Jesus Christ with them.  G told us that He had always felt something special about the Church and that he wanted to continue learning.  We invited them to pray to know the truth about the message.  We also invited them to be baptized.  They accepted the invitation and are excited to keep learning.  With some much needed assistance from the branch, G, M, and three of their daughters came to church.  We had a special meeting with the branch president in which we talked about marriage with them and various other families.  They plan on getting married in August and will be baptized shortly after.  I was and am impressed by the faith and desire of this humble family to follow Jesus Christ and their determination to overcome any obstacle in their path.

We met another family, F, A, G, and J, as we were teaching M, A's brother.  It was an unexpected but pleasant occurrence when we placed a visit and came back to be received by the whole family.  We taught about the love our Heavenly Father has for us and the blessings we receive in families as we follow His son Jesus Christ.  We also taught them that God always has called and guided us through His special representatives, the prophets.  F later told us that many different people from many different religions had visited him and his family in the past, but that he had never felt that it was right for him nor for his family until he heard the message that we brought that day.  He also told us that their home and family lacked peace and wanted to know how they could obtain it.  Upon visiting them on the next occasion, we explained that our Heavenly Father restored His gospel and church through the prophet Joseph Smith all because he had the faith to ask God in simple prayer what path He wanted him to take as he tried to follow Him.  We also explained that because the gospel was restored, we now can find the source of peace and happiness for our families.  We invited all to follow the example of Jesus Christ through baptism.  All accepted.  F and A are also planning on getting married in August to comply with the commandments and to prepare themselves and their family to receive blessings as they follow the gospel and teachings of Christ.    

An investigator from Aaron's last area got baptized.

Makeshift raincoat

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