Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Witness of the Holy Ghost

Sent by Elder Paul Freeman, dated June 25, 2008

Dear Mom,

Things are going really great. We're working like crazy. We've got the names of just about everyone who lives in this city and we're trying to contact them all. Well, that's what it feels like.

Our area book has pages and pages of people who talked to the missionaries before [ [and] showed at least some degree of interest, and my companion and I are now trying to follow up with them all. When we contact them, we try teaching them a little more and setting up a return appointment. Those who show interest are kept on the list and hopefully we have an appointment to go back. Those who aren't interested are dropped. Most of the time they're never home and when that happens we knock on their neighbors' doors and find more people to teach. It's a huge change of pace from the Samoan ward where there is virtually no teaching pool and no finding pool. The tricky part now is getting all these people to progress and keep their commitments.

One lady we started teaching is a great prospect. She told us how she had been moving around from church to church and has never really been satisfied. We set up an appointment and it turns out even her son was excited enough to remind her and help tidy up the house before we came. We had an awesome discussion and she opened up a lot and we committed her to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. Well, she never made it out to church, but we have a return appointment for tomorrow.

At the same time, we are trying to follow up with former investigators. We went to one house where the lady had studied with the missionaries before and she seemed really excited to see us. We sat down with her and her husband it started off pretty good. She asked us why we were members of our church. It was a great opportunity to bear sincere testimony. Her husband is a really nice guy and a very smooth talker. We in turn asked why she had discontinued the lessons with the missionaries. Evidently, she had concerns about Joseph Smith and how man cannot see God and live. We referenced Exodus where Moses spoke face to face with God.

Her husband politely voiced his disagreement, with further scriptural reference reconfirming man's inability to behold the face of our Creator. He also made mention of material he had found on the Internet that was incongruous with the teaching of the Church, and cited references from Brigham Young and John Taylor. Both Prophets' remarks were said to have denied the First Vision. We told him we knew of no such references but if he were to provide them we would be more than willing to investigate the matter further. He said his research was over a year ago and said he didn't have the references on hand but could provide them on a return appointment. So, we scheduled to return tomorrow.

He was more polite than most people who present anti-Mormon ideas, and kept reassuring us that he was not challenging our faith but was simply turned off by these seeming incongruities. I referred to the Book of Mathew Chapter 16 and recited the story of Peter testifying to the Savior that he knew He was the Son of God, in attempt to show this former investigator that testimony of truth does not come from the effort of reason. I tried to tell him that truth only comes from the witness of the Holy Ghost. I'll have to let you know how the rest turns out. If he is sincere and accepts the answers we give, then we can go back. If he continues to choose to believe the Internet over the power of the Holy Ghost, well, then there's no reason to go back.

In the meantime, there are plenty of people who are willing to learn more. It's a wonderful work with wonderful things happening and I'm loving every minute of it. Thank you so much, Mom, for you and Dad making this all possible. You probably will never fully realize the effects all this will have, but know that it is all possible because you are a part.


Elder Freeman

Coming Unto the Lord

From Elder BJ Bernards, dated June 23, 2008

Dear Family,

Holy Cow we just finished a great week! I am way tired so I am sorry if I sound tired this week and make it short. We had some great things happen and know that the hand of the Lord is over us. The greatest thing that happened is that an investigator called us up and said that he wants us to baptise him!! We set him a date last night and we are going to visit him every day this week and get him going to church and help him to climb the ladder.

We soft set Peggy this week. For the first time she came over to a members house to take a lesson and she received everything really well. I could see in her eyes as she listened to the Spirit that she had a great desire to be baptised and to overcome the challenges in her life right now, but she is still not ready and needs more work and we are committed to it and love her. Hopefully, we will keep on rounding up these investigators and get them solid and progressing and stretching towards baptism. I have been learning so much about doing this work that I never knew I never knew and it is great to serve around diligent and hard-working Elders.

Oh yeh. I almost forgot! I got to baptize Shannon this last week! She had such a glow in her face and a light in her eye as a few close friends gathered together to witness her big step in coming to the Lord. It was a sweet spirit to be involved in her conversion process, and I hope to stay in touch with her. Sydney Bently who is a recent convert out in North Platte wrote and told me that a bunch of her friends are taking the missionary lessons and her best friend is getting baptised in July! She says the spirit is rocking North Platte.

I got to do some baptismal interviews this week and it was such a pleasure and an honor to visit and learn about these great new members of the Lord's kingdom.

I love the gospel and love the church and love the doctrines and love the scriptures. I know that My Redeemer lives, His name is Jesus Christ, and He is my master.


Elder Bernards