Monday, May 6, 2013

Miracles and Gratitude

We have been seeing wildlife like crazy

Elder Nottingham after our late night adventures.

Dear Family,

This has been the best week of my mission! We have been blessed so much and I have been taught by the Lord and His servants.

To begin, thank you for your prayers. I felt them as I never have before this week. I also apologize if I seemed "preachy" last week in my email. I really try not to be but I just get excited about the Gospel every week as I write you and remember how merciful the Lord has been in my life.

So Tuesday morning as we were beginning the leadership meeting, President Ashton pulled us out and told us that there was a missionary with a serious health problem that would be going home. His companion joined Elder Woodland and I for a few days but the nature of the sick elder's problem made it so that someone had to stay awake with him. Elders Nottingham, Woodland and I received the joyous assignment of doing that. The first night was alright, but the second night was rough. The saving grace was that since we all had to stay up till 5:00 AM, we decided to do a companionship study and figure out what the mission needed to baptized 1,000 people this year. It was a sacred time. We learned so much. We studied the will of the Father and learned that we have been asking the wrong questions. So often we as missionaries ask to know God's will but we already know what it is because He tells us in John 6:39

 39 And this is the aFather’s bwill which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose cnothing, but should draise it up again at the last day. 

So then we read Psalms 143:10 which says "Teach me to do thy will" and realized that since we already know that it is God's will that every single one of His children is baptized so that they can be saved, we now just need to know how to do His will. 

So on Friday we went to bed at 5:00 AM and when we finally woke up we went to the mission home to begin working on transfers. That is when the Lord began teaching me even more. It was amazing to participate in the process of receiving revelation. President Ashton had me stand at the board and put two missionaries together and then he would immediately say "I don't feel good about that" or "that feels good". As he did that I thought that each time he was receiving strong spiritual witnesses of what needed to happen but as we kept on talking about transfers for another two hours, we had the opportunity to pray and ask if certain companionships were correct. It was during and after these prayers that I realized just how quietly the Holy Ghost speaks to us. I remember during one prayer, Elder Nottingham asked "Is it Thy will that Elder so and so and Elder so and so are together" that immediately felt good. It was so calm, so small and seemingly insignificant that I nearly missed it, but as the experienced repeated, I realized that it truly was the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the truth.

So all of these experiences culminated on Saturday morning. Elder Woodland and I had a wonderful companionship study (by the way, he is the best. We are always talking about how amazing it is to be so unified. In our lessons, we can finish each other's sentences and testify of what the other is about to teach. In almost every lesson one of us thinks of a scripture and begins to look only to have the other begin reading the same verse. It is fun) and decided that we needed to kneel down with pray. We had about ten minutes of study time left. We said a very specific prayer and asked Heavenly Father to teach us how to baptize the Columbus family. We had a lunch appointment with them two hours later and wanted them so badly to accept a baptismal date.

After the prayer, I felt the softest impression (that I would not have given any heed had I not had the experience at the mission home with transfers) to change something that I needed to change. I wrote it down and said another prayer and promised the Lord that I would do what He had asked of me and again pleaded to touch the Columbus' hearts. We went to the lesson and the miracles began. Eduardo's (Hermano Columbus) mother, who is Catholic and used to hate us coming over and would try to Bible bash with us, testified to him that he needed to be baptized. The Spirit came while she spoke. Eduardo then told us that we had asked him so many times but that he was finally ready. His wife then piped up and asked when the next baptismal service is. They will be baptized and confirmed (at the baptismal service) on Sunday, May 19th. Elder Woodland and I nearly started crying. We did cry once we got into the car and offered a prayer of gratitude. We drove in silence for a time and then spoke of how little we felt and the grandeur of God. We really didn't do anything. We didn't change Eduardo's heart, the Lord did. We didn't change his mother's heart or prompt her to testify to her son to be baptized in a religion other than her own and one that she used to despise, the Lord did.

He is a God of wonders and miracles. This Gospel is true. The Colons will be the first full family that I have baptized on my mission. What a miracle. That Sunday is also Elder Woodlands last Sunday in the field. What a tender mercy for him.

I love you all, I have so much more to say and miracles to share, but time will not permit. The Lord is kind. I know that with all my heart. We also should be baptizing two sisters on June 8th. We hope to baptize the full family though. Please pray for them. They are the Valenzuela family. Please pray that we will know how to baptize them on June 8th.

I love you all so much. We have Zone Conferences starting tomorrow and going through Friday. It will be fun to see all the missionaries and help train them.

Elder Case

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