Monday, January 13, 2014

turn around

broken umbrella

What a wonderful week. We were so excited and ready to get back to the normal schedule this week that we stepped it up quite a bit with our work and saw some serious miracles. We were exhausted yesterday and I was so excited to go to bed, but once I was in bed my mind was racing with thoughts of all that has happened this past week that I don't remember ever falling asleep. haha.

A couple weeks ago we taught a lesson to an investigator in the library and there was a lady sitting at the computer who asked us which church we are from and we told her that we are Mormon. She told us that her cousins in Africa are Mormon and that she would like to meet. (fine if we have to...) ;). We met with her this week and actually found out that she had been baptized while visiting her cousins when she was twelve but she doesn't know anything about what we believe. She also told us that she had heard us a couple times before, teaching in the library and she went home and wrote on facebook "Two beautiful girls talking about Jesus in Sweden!? What!?" And then she said that everyone liked it and commented on it "no way." Hahaha. But yay. What a cool find. We have some reactivating to do!

Swedish Liahona article about my 7 generations of serving in Sweden!
On Tuesday, I pulled out a letter that papa had sent me in April, and it touched me so deeply. He told me stories from his mission and I just kept thinking, "wow. He was such an incredible missionary." I just sat there and sobbed. It gave me a renewed will to give this work my all. The same day I read his letter, I got a letter from mom in the mail that said her boss, Ellis Ivory, told their whole staff that papa on his mission, would knock on people's doors and then just walk inside and say "I've got a message that you're going to want to hear." haha I love him. In his letter to me he told how when he got to Michigan, all of the missionaries were baptizing about one person per year. An apostle, LeGrand Richards came to his mission and interviewed papa and this is from his letter: 

"Elder Richards said to me 'Elder Brinton, how many people did you challenge for baptism last month?' I told him there were twelve. Then he asked, 'And how many of them did you baptize?' I told him fifteen. He asked me how I did that, and I told him that we had become challenging and testifying missionaries. Then I told him how we got everyone on their knees to pray and taught them how to pray, and the spirit of the Lord converted them." Papa said that they would go in, teach a lesson, and then he would get on his knees and bow his head and just sit there. He said "As I kneeled, I could still see their feet. Most everyone would get down on their knees. It was awkward, but I would stay on my knees until the investigators came to their knees. Then once everyone was on their knees, I would ask the head of the house to offer the prayer. Once I would ask that question, I would go silent and just wait with my head bowed. If the time was longer than about 30 to 60 seconds, I would say something like, "Have you ever said a prayer out loud?" Usually they would say no. Then I would say , let me teach you how to pray."

It is the spirit of the Lord that converts investigators. And that spirit and conversion comes through prayer. This month and year my main goal has been to be more focused on prayer. And this week, my testimony of prayer has been strengthened tremendously. At the beginning of January, like I told of last week, I wrote down a list of positive thoughts. Every day this week I have spent many minutes down on my knees praying for these thoughts, these desires of my heart to happen. One of them was answered this week in a way that I am so grateful for and will be for the rest of my life. It is too personal to share but I just had to write that to say: PRAYER IS AWESOME. 

Another one of them has to do with something that we as missionaries are focused on which is... baptism. I have been praying every day telling Heavenly Father that "I know we are going to baptize this month." Not that I hope we will but that I know we will. We had a baptismal date with Erik for January 18th and although he is still positive, we will be pushing his date back a bit. The other baptismal date that we had was with Morgan for February 15th. So from the looks of it, I was pretty sure that it was going to be hard to find someone or change the dates for these two investigators for January. Syster Hosenfeld and I talked about it a lot and we decided that it wouldn't hurt to just ask Morgan if he would change his date to be on January 25th.
We met with Morgan on Friday and taught him the law of tithing and he gladly accepted. We then asked him how he has been feeling about his baptismal date and he said "good, but I have actually been thinking of postponing it." What!? This contridicted what we had planned on asking him, but following the spirit we told him our thoughts and asked him if he would be baptized on January 25th. He replied that, that date is way too soon and that he for sure wants to be baptized in February. We asked him to at least pray about it and he agreed. I hoped that he would pray but I was also a little doubtful because it did not sound like he was too excited about changing the date. 

We met again on Saturday and asked him if he prayed and he said "Yes, and... I want to be baptized on January 25th." WHAT!? I was shocked. I actually think I screamed a little. haha. He said that he prayed, went to bed, and received an answer that it is time and that he needs to take the next step. I offered a quick prayer of gratitude in that moment because all three of our prayers had been answered. We expressed our joy for him and told him what we need to do in the next two weeks for him to be baptized. We said "we know that your date to quit drinking coffee is on the 19th but if you are getting baptized on the 25th you will need to quit before then." And he said, "good because I had my last cup this morning, I am all out and decided to quit today." He came to church yesterday, a little tired, and we have now taught him all of the lessons.

Being a part of Morgan's conversion process has been amazing. He was prepared from the first day we met him on December 12th, and within a month he went from smoking 20 cigarets a day and about 7 cups of coffee a day, to quitting. And he had been doing that for about the past 25ish years. I am so happy for him. So so happy. 

In dad's email last week he quoted Les Mis when the priest says to Jean Val Jean, "there is more joy in heaven over the soul of a repentant sinner than the white silk robes of a hundred just men." Which is an awesome quote especially because it applies to everyone, we are all in need of repentance. But dad then said 

"It is interesting how we are perfectly happy about good righteous people, but there is something special about folks who stray and then return home. A cool word in Hebrew that goes along with the prodigal son narrative is Qetsatsa- it means coming home. The prodigal son is a story about all of us- we are all wandering and the promise of the gospel is that whenever we 'come to ourselves' whenever we find ourselves and turn around, our father is waiting for us with open arms. He celebrates our return." 

I love that. My favorite word in Swedish is "Omvända sig" which means to repent but what it really means translated directly is: to turn around. So whenever we ask new investigators what the word means they explain to us what it means to turn around which perfectly describes repentance, turning around or turning your life around.

The gospel changes lives. Prayer changes lives. I am so grateful for this week and for all that I am able to experience here. So many incredible people and stories.

Adel adel


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