Well. This week began with a wonderful couple days of missionary work that make a missionary feel likes he's on the right track, though the rest of the week was kind of tough as we had a ton of work in the office and very little time to teach. But still, some great stories to show you that this is a marvelous work and a wonder!
1) How to Save A Life- Honestly, I don´t know how it can get much cooler than this one. So on Sunday Monica was baptized, and the sheer joy on her face was amazing to see. She was so excited after the ordinance, and it was easy to see that she truly felt clean, born again. As she said afterwards, she wished she could do it again. She also explained the wonderful power and warmth that she felt as she was being baptized, and that she wished she could have stayed under the water for hours.
The next day we visited her to continue teaching and preparing her for confirmation the next week. She shared with us a story that I can never forget. It was early on in our visits with her, but we hadn't called in a couple days due to a lot of work in the office. Monica has problems with depression, and had convinced herself that we had given up on her and that she wasn't worth anything. That night, she was walking alone and saw a semi-truck speeding down the road towards her. She made a decision in that moment to kill herself. She took one step down off the sidewalk, and as she was about to take the next step into the truck's path, which surely would have killed her...
...the phone rang. In this exact second. She stopped, the truck screamed to a halt, and she answered. It was us. I have no idea which one of us called, all of us had made an appointment at one point or other, and she couldn't remember who it was. But I believe that was the Lord letting each of us realize that perhaps we had been the one. It testified to me of the Spirit's power, even when we don't fully realize its guiding influence. And I saw that the Lord cared deeply for the physical and spiritual life of His daughter. And I truly felt like we were instruments in his hands.
2) The Only Way- The baptism on Sunday was followed by a somewhat frustrating lesson with our old, coffee-addicted investigator and her member boyfriend. We talked, she went on about her hectic work schedule as a doctor, and how it was impossible to come to church. She also indicated that she didn't want to be baptized as she didn't see the point of doing it again (she was already baptized in the Catholic church). The boyfriend said he wouldn't come to church as long as she couldn't, because he was worried it would place false hope in the young single women of the ward, seeing him there alone. Ridiculous.
So I asked them both questions. To the investigator: Why do you need to be baptized? She responded that she had no idea. To the member: Why do you need to come to church? He went off on a long monologue about how our church was so good at teaching the gospel and he needed to learn, etc.
I waited for him to finish and then explained that that was partly true, but not the main reason to come to church. I said that he needed to go to church for the same reason that his girlfriend needed to be baptized. Because this is the only true church, the only way to salvation and eternal life. I explained how baptism is a promise with God that we will do our part to attain this goal, and that we go to church to renew this promise by means of the sacrament. That´s the purpose behind it. Learning is great, but there is more. This is His church.
3) Feeling Old- Well, it was my 20th birthday this week. I'm feeling a little older and a little wiser. But I actually felt pretty young on my birthday. There was a leadership conference of the mission that day, to which the zone leaders, the assistants, the secretaries, and the sister trainers are invited. As I stood in that room with all these people talking about their missions, I felt extremely young on the mission. I have nine months here, and the next youngest guy had a year and five months. That is a long time for a missionary. This is definitely a great blessing of being secretary, getting to see the good examples and leaders of the mission on a regular basis, as well as take part in these meetings. I learned a lot.
So that should be about enough for the week. It flew by crazy fast, I can hardly believe it. I'm learning a lot more about how to manage all the finances, and had several fun experiences this week with missionaries calling about lost power (fortunately not because I forgot to pay the bills) and angry landlords calling about not getting paid, with whom I got to angrily retort that they haven't been sending us the bills in months which has been creating big problems for us.
Fun stuff! Let's see, I also wanted to send out an official congrats to my great friend, Devin Munk, on his official mission call to Ogden. The fact that he's overcome everything that's been put in his way throughout life, never complained, and is now full-time dedicated to serving the Lord is an amazing example to me of diligence and love of the gospel. Good work, sir, you're going to do great.
Goodbye for now, look forward with faith, and love the journey!