This week was a-maaaaaa-ziiiiing!
Next week I should have some pictures to share of our investigator Ronnie. He is on fire! He is scheduled to be baptized on the 24th, that’s THIS SATURDAY! I keep seeing Elder Sorenson get a big grin on his face, and I ask “what?” and he always says “Ronnie’s getting baptized this week!” We both love that man so much.
This Sunday was just about as perfect an experience as it gets. It was just us and Ronnie and our branch mission leader in our Gospel Principles class this week, so in preparation for his baptism this Saturday, we asked if we could go over some of the final things we needed to teach Ronnie. The lesson was incredible! Our branch mission leader joined the church when he was about my age, and his testimony and insights were perfect for Ronnie. The talks in Sacrament meeting were perfect for teaching him about the purpose of callings, which really applied during our lesson in that class. We bore testimony of the fact that the Lord will qualify those whom He calls to serve in His kingdom, and then Elder Sorenson dropped the mind-bomb with a perfect analogy to an engine and all of the working parts. He is the analogy king. The lesson in Priesthood was perfect for teaching him about prayer and the purpose of it and the ways we can and should pray. Prayer is something he has really been trying to learn and improve on, so it was super awesome for him. In every class he was acknowledged and pointed out as being “one of us” by the members, and he really did feel like part of us already. The 1st Counselor in our Branch Presidency (Ronnie’s childhood friend) invited Ronnie over for his weekly after church lunch, and then he invited us as well! We went and we had a great time. After some catching up, we shared a short message about prophets, and a few of the family members bore their testimonies of the power of living prophets and apostles. It was a wonderful experience. As we headed out, Ronnie said “Today was amazing! This was the best day I’ve had in… years!” We are so excited for him.
Elder Sorenson just whispered to me, “I think you’d like this talk”. He shared Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s “Notwithstanding My Weakness”. He addresses his audience by saying:
Now may I speak, not to the slackers in the Kingdom, but to those who carry their own load and more; not to those lulled into false security, but to those buffeted by false insecurity, who, though laboring devotedly in the Kingdom, have recurring feelings of falling forever short.
As I read that paragraph, I felt Heavenly Father wrap me up in His love. The rest of the talk didn’t really hit home, although I did skim through it, but that paragraph meant a lot to me. Maybe it was just a reminder that God knows me, and that I’m alright, that He loves me.
Do these moments come in regular life? How do I keep that alive? I love the feeling and the Spirit of this work so much. How do I keep that?
I think I know that answer. I believe I do. The best that I can remember is Elder Holland’s version:
The call is to come back, to stay true, to love God, and to lend a hand. I include in that call to fixed faithfulness every returned missionary who ever stood in a baptismal font and with arm to the square said, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.”16 That commission was to have changed your convert forever, but it was surely supposed to have changed you forever as well. To the youth of the Church rising up to missions and temples and marriage, we say: “Love God and remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation. You have a monumental work to do, underscored by that marvelous announcement President Thomas S. Monson made yesterday morning. Your Father in Heaven expects your loyalty and your love at every stage of your life.”
To all within the sound of my voice, the voice of Christ comes ringing down through the halls of time, asking each one of us while there is time, “Do you love me?” And for every one of us, I answer with my honor and my soul, “Yea, Lord, we do love thee.” And having set our “hand to the plough,”17 we will never look back until this work is finished and love of God and neighbor rules the world. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I am trying so hard to be diligent, to be obedient, to be faithful, so that when I return, I am ready to continue in a lifetime as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I will never look back on the days before I came to this place. But I will always hold this mission sacred, as the place where I came to a knowledge of my Redeemer.
I will see you all too soon. =)
(with Elder Sorenson)