Oh man what a week! I didn't take any pictures (sorry) but I have much to share with you. To begin, thank you for your prayers. They are answered. Whenever I ask for you to pray for something, there are miracles in the following days. Last week I talked about wanting to be able to teach with the Spirit better and Heavenly Father answered. On Monday night we visited a less-active family that we have visited a few times. The grandma is super active, the mom is semi active, but the dad hasn't been to church in years. We planned a lesson from Preach My Gospel. There is a chapter about the Book of Mormon and a section about how the Book of Mormon can answer every question. We read the section with them and asked each of them to think of a question. He said his question was why. I don't know exactly what happened, but 8 years ago he wronged by someone in the church. It was pretty bad and has ruined his life financially and spiritually. He said that whenever he comes to church it just makes the problem worse because he thinks about that man and then gets angry. He said that it was no use trying to help him because we would just tell him the same things (prayer, come anyways, read the scriptures, etc...) but that in the end no one could help him and we were just a couple of nice guys. When he said this, he said it with some anger and great resolve but as he finished speaking, the familiar feeling of the Spirit came. Once again, I was given the words to say. I did not want to say them though because I was afraid of his reaction. But I have learned that when the Spirit speaks, I have no choice but to listen.
I told him what the Holy Ghost told me. That as missionaries, we were more that just a couple of nice guys. We are representatives of Jesus Christ. I told him that he was wrong, there was someone who could help him, there still was hope, and he had suffered enough. I told him and bore witness of the Atonement of the Savior. That because He suffered and died, we did not need to if we would repent. I bore my testimony of the Atonement, that it is real and that it works. I had been memorizing a scripture that day. 3 Nephi 9:13
O all ye that are aspared because ye were more brighteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may cheal you?
I told him that I didn't know why I had been prompted to memorize that scripture but that I now knew that it was for him. That Christ is waiting and pleading for him to return unto him so that he can be healed. As I finished speaking, or rather delivering the message of the Spirit, every person in the room was crying. There was silence. The Spirit was burning within each one of us. Elder Barajas bore his testimony of the Spirit offered that we have a prayer, and then we left. It was incredible.
Then we had Zone Conference with Elder Ellis (he is a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy) on Friday. On Wednesday, I got a call from President Ashton's secretary informing me that President Ashton wanted me to come in for an interview with Elder Ellis on Friday before the conference started. That made me pretty nervous. But the interview was great. I thought President Ashton was going to be there but he wasn't. Just me and a General Authority for 15 or 20 minutes. What an incredible experience that was! Probably one I will never have again. The entire interview was him asking me what my questions were. I would ask and then we would study the scriptures together to get the answer. My first question was how to teach with the Spirit all the time. We read D&C 100 together and he explained that sometimes I would need to speak the thoughts that were put into my heart (like the above experience) but a lot of times the Spirit would be shed forth in bearing record in all things I should say. I will talk about that more in a second. He then asked about the family and who has served missions. He then asked how the mission was. He wanted to know how the missionaries were responding to the Ashtons in place of the Saylins and he committed me to be a defender of President Ashton and to sustain him in all that I can. He prayed for you all. He said the closing prayer and asked the Lord to protect, watch over and pour his Spirit out on you. It was an incredible experience.
Elder Barajas was chosen to speak. It was great. We learned so much that day and about halfway through I realized that every single person that spoke (there was six in total) was a set apart, full-time, representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. That was a strong thought. It was a powerful conference and the Spirit was strong. We had lunch after the conference and I realized that no one was sitting with Elder Ellis and his wife, so we took the liberty of doing so. That was another 30 minutes of being able to ask all of the questions I have had about the organizational structure of the seventy. It was really interesting. Him and his wife are super busy!
One last experience. After the interview and what I learned from Elder Ellis, I decided that if I wanted the Holy Ghost to bear record of what I said, I had to only say those things I knew to be true. I received a prompting that I needed to obtain a personal witness of each point of Preach My Gospel that I would be teaching. Saturday morning I started with God is Our Loving Heavenly Father. During studies, I received a spiritual confirmation that this was true. That night we had a lesson with a family and the second I bore my testimony that God is our Loving Heavenly Father, the Spirit came. The mom started crying and we were able to bear testimony of the Holy Ghost.
This work is true. I have witnessed far too much to ever deny that but even more so, I have received my own witness from the Holy Ghost that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, that He lives and is my Savior, and that the Book of Mormon is true.
I love you all. We have 8 new investigators. Please prayer for Leroy and his family.