Trials of Faith….even for me

Dear family!
I will write some more, with a video blog here and there. This week has been so stressful.

Chris Burk, one of our investigators on date, was baptized by yours truly. I goofed up, though. Don’t baptize with your left hand instead of the right. We told him we needed to redo it, and he said, “No, it must be a sign that God doesn’t want me to be baptized.” Guilt weighed heavily on my soul, feeling like I was to be condemned for this poor man’s soul. I’d prefer it that way, to have my salvation become his, and let me suffer. My whole being writhed in torment at the thought of this great man missing out on the blessings of the gospel.
Ever been so sick to your stomach that you wanted to puke your guts out and die? That’s how I felt. All day and all night.

At about 10:30 pm, I screamed with the forcefulness of a man going through the depths of hell, crying into God to spare this man, and forgive me of my trespasses.

At about 6:20am, my comp, elder Hawkes got a call from Chris and said he wanted to be baptized right so he could be confirmed a member. He asked me to do it again, telling me the trial of faith was over for us. I baptized him in all my wet baptismal clothes, about 40 minutes before church started.

Frankie Roberts, a 19-year-old young man, was also baptized. A mega miracle. He was set up to be baptized in April, but he chickened out from being baptized. We tried to work with him, but he wouldn’t commit. We took him to a mission prez devo, and right afterwards, elder Hawkes asked how he was feeling. He said he felt good and he wants to be baptized on the 21st. He was baptized 2 days ago, and we are super happy for him. He was Catholic, and his family is super against him joining the church, but he snuck out and got baptized anyway. We are all going laser tagging today for FHE and he is super excited to be welcomed into the family. He is like a little bro to me.

The Sherwood ward is great, so much help, and the whole meal calendar is filled until next month. It’s a lot easier to budget when someone feeds you.
A lot of RMs who love to go out with us and teach, so that helps, but it’s cool to help strengthen all the less active members, all the recent converts, everyone. They are so vital, but easily looked over by a majority of the church. How to find success in baptizing and teaching is to focus on members and get them to help with the work. Once we leave, the last thing anybody wants is for them is for them to go inactive. They need fellowship, make their baptism a ward baptism. It means so much when someone that is in the ward is asked to baptize and to confirm this convert. Make it count. These people have a bunch of non-member friends, and they are on this spiritual high, so feed their flame and take them out and visit their friends with them.

Also, been working hard humble myself. Probably one of the reasons why I am so stressed out. Prez told me to chill during our interview. President Bell has interviews with every single missionary in the mission, making time to find out their struggles. He’s helped out everyone so much. He is one of the finest examples of the atonement. Though, he isn’t afraid to rip you a new one if you need it. He knows exactly what I need. I feel relief to completely tell him everything that has been bothering me for the past couple of months, and he tells me why some happen, why I should rely on the atonement and my purpose. It is to bring others to come unto Christ. Not about this selfish idiot. It’s about everyone I serve, the people I will meet in the years to come and the people I left home to serve my king.
One of the things we do as missionaries is constantly challenging and testifying in all places. The reason is, if there isn’t anything challenging, there is no change.

As it is said in Preach My Gospel:

“Commitment is an essential part of repentance. It is the act of obligating oneself to a course of action and then diligently following through on that decision. When people are genuinely committed, they have real intent, meaning that they fully intend to do what they have committed to do. They make an unwavering and earnest decision to change. They become devoted to Christ and dedicate themselves to His gospel. Keeping their commitment is how they “truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins” (D&C 20:37). When you ask for commitments as part of your teaching, you are inviting the investigator to repent.” PMF, pg. 195

Commitments grow faith, but testimony gives them this assurance that this is something that will change their lives. I wouldn’t want to do anything if the person challenging me has never done it, or something close to it.

“A testimony is a spiritual witness and assurance given by the Holy Ghost. To bear testimony is to give a simple, direct declaration of belief–a feeling, an assurance, a conviction of gospel truth. Sharing your testimony often is one of the most powerful ways of inviting the Spirit and helping others feel the Spirit.” PMF, pg. 198

Also, learn that not everybody will accept. As a missionary, I’m here to do the Lord’s will, during the easy times and the bad.

Going to play laser tag today for YSA FHE. I kinda can’t wait to get home and be these solid homies… Except that I’ll be back home and not on my mission. That’s bad. I love Kansas. Like, a lot. Like milkshake a lot.

Mom, I got the iPod shuffle, and it rocks. Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hope none of y’all have gone crazy because school is out, and please don’t kill mom. Even if it’s boring, don’t bug mom. If you do, I’ll come home and we’ll all have a problem.

My companion, Elder Hawkes is really cool. He’s only been out a transfer longer than I, so we literally have no clue how to do things, so God is really working overtime to make the miracles happen. He’s from Brentwood, Cali, my 1st comp not from Utah!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!! He’s also really in shape, so I am getting in more shape. My arms are getting bigger, so I want them to look like I stuffed a watermelon in each arm. The ward is super awesome; we have a meal every day for the rest of this month. We have to bike to them, but it means I can save money. They also take us out on team ups a lot, like superheroes. I am the sidekick. I can make water bottles appear to make sure they don’t get parched.
The district is awesome, they are family. We went on a hike today. I was kinda grumpy, because P-days are my only days to nap. But I prayed for some patience, and it was pretty fun.

Topeka is so different, so big. I teach a lot of African Americans, Mexicans, white people, rich people, poor people, sick people, healthy people, overly obese people, ripped people, skinny people, tall, short, old, young, everyone. It truly is something.

So, we are at a total of 8 baptisms. My vision is to reach 50 on my whole mission. Seems hard, but the Lord wants me to be stretched into a being who can do the impossible for and in the service of his almighty work. Go on a mission with a clear cut vision, make it yours, and make every day a miracle. I see miracles every day, and keep a notebook with all my miracles I have seen each day that have happened. A clear cut vision is a vision that has been prayed over and thought considerably deep into. Think of goals, habits, personality changes, standard raising or stabilizing and dreams that will help you grow. I’ll send a copy of mine. I think I’ll make one when I get home and post it everywhere in my future house, along with “Who I am in [insert year here] ”

Hope this is a Monsoon of miracles in Monsoon May.

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