Mi querida familia,
It was so great to talk to everyone yesterday. I'll admit I was kind of tearing up on the other end. I love you all so much. Your progression in the Gospel is very dear to me and I hope you all are striving to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon and be converted to serving the Lord and your fellow man. I'm so glad Jane was awake this time and I got to here her talk. It was so cute when she said "Po" and that she wanted to read the Book of Mormon.
This week has been pretty miraculous to say the least. One of our investigators was smoke free for nearly a whole week! We were so happy for him. I think the most fondest lasting joy you can feel in this life is when you witness other people changing their nature. How happy must our Heavenly Father feel when he sees everyone of us changing, repenting and becoming more lke Jesus Christ! That's what this life is all about! We had a Zone Conferance with President Taylor (probably his last one sadly with our mission) and he talked a lot about the House of Israel and how God has created a system, or plan, that "develops ordinary men into celestial beings." He uses the faithful valient spirits from the Pre-life to come to earth with the responsibility of sharing the gospel and being the tools in HEavenly Father's hands to guide people into becoming like Jesus Christ. It's incredible how organized and perfect God's plan is. He did all the planning and organizing, all we have to do as missionaries is be willing to accept it and follow the Spirit.
Other miracles: We had a lady call us up this week and leave, probably the most shocking message on my mission--"Hi, my name is Pat and I think I'm ready to join your church now. I'd like to set up a time where we can meet with the Allisons (members of the ward) this week. Give me a call back!"
Woah! I guess people have to be ready to be baptized. We met this lady and she is solid. She accepted a date, along with another friend of hers, and she came to church, knows the Book of Mormon is true, and has immediate member support. It was a cool experience. It almost seemed too easy. It was a testimony to me that baptismal experiences on the mission are blessings from God...not experiences due to our merits or because as missionaries we did anything special. Baptisms don't define missionaries...obedience and faith do.
We also had a great contact experience. As we were riding our bikes, we drove past a park and saw a man sitting on the tables there. My companions and I decided to go talk to him. We had pleasent exchange. We learned he was down on his luck due to a nasty divorce in which he lost everything. We said a prayer with him. He loved to read, so we asked him if he'd read the Book of Mormon. He replied that he hadn't but for a long time had been really wanting to read it. We gladly obliged in giving him a copy on the spot and bearing solemn testimony of that Book. He didn't live in Clinton so not much happened out of it in terms of creating a new investigator, but we know we were led to talk to this man sitting in the park.
We've had trials, but the miracles seem to outweigh them. I love teaching the gospel even when the people you are teaching are trying to convert you to their religion. Our message is entriely based on having people act in faith rather than proving a point intellectually or through bible bashing. We had a lesson (in Spanish) with a 7th day adventist a few days back and he went off on how the sabbath day is on Saturday and how the true church is one that keeps all the commandments. It was frustrating, but we testified, left a BoM and promised to come back and discuss more the following week (on condition that he reads). The Bible does actually testify that the Sabbath day is on Sunday, and it makes sense because that was the day he was resurrected (see Colosseans 2:14 or Acts 20:7). Modern Revelation also reveals and clarifies the Sabbath day.
There is a deep desire in my heart to want to show this man these scriptures in the Bible, but I feel like it could be more of a drive on my part to want to prove our point rather than inviting him to come unto Christ. I'v learned from experience that trying to clarify doctrine using the Bible doesn't always work. It usually turns into a bash and itALWAYS boils down to the same question: "Is the Book of Mormon the word of God?" If so Joseph Smith was a propeht and he recieved modern revelation in regards to the Sabbath.
The gospel is Perfect! This church is true, and I know it because of the blessings I've seen come from it, and the protection I've seen from living the commandments emphasized by the prophets.
There is so much more I need to work on. I'm kind of worried I'll leave the mission without having done enough; the mission is a once in life time opportunity to really change your nature and build attributes you'll need for the rest of your life...especially leadership attributes (aka Christ-like attributes).
siga adelnate mi familia y mis amigos! Jesucristo vive! El es la vida, y esperanza en lo que todos los hombres y las mujeres puedan dejar sus naturalezas carnales para llegar a ser personas celestiales. Recuerdase decir a sus madres "Te amo!" Estoy bien agradecido a mi madre y todo que ella hizo para permitirme obtener us testimonio por mi mismo. Yo tengo mi familia en la primer lugar mas cerca de mi corazon.
Les amo mucho!