What a week! The Holy Ghost is so real. There have just been some great experiences this week that confirm to me that the Holy Ghost, God the Father and Jesus Christ are truly living and guiding this church, and even our own individual lives.
We had a baptism on Saturday for John! It was a crazy/wonderful/stressful event. Everything worked out great though. The service started off with the priesthood ordination of one of a returning less active in the ward, Brother Holman. Elder Kennedy and I were working with him ever since I came to Quail Creek and we always knew someday he'd get the priesthood, but it was amazing that we actually got to see it happen. He was so happy to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. And then Brother Holman shortly after got to baptize John! It took a few times for him to get the words right, but eventually he got it and it was a wonderful experience.
John's mom, Tammy, and sister, Victoria sang Amazing Grace. It was out of tune and she forgot the lyrics, but at the same time the spirit was there! Why isn't Amazing Grace in our hymn book anyways?
Then they all came to church the next day to see John confirmed. He looked like a new man in his suit (that Elder Beus and I acquired from a local thrift store) and tie. I'm excited to see him progress, he doesn't have much to do so we'll be able to take him out teaching with us (he's been begging us the whole time we've been teaching him to let him ride in our truck).
The whole baptismal service, as stressful as it was reminded me how the Gospel is for the imperfect. Even though the service didn't run quite as picture perfect as some other one's I've been to, the Spirit was still present recognizing the importance of the ordinance performed.
In other news, I want to mention about our STM we had the last week with our zone. We focused on the baptismal invitation and how to properly prepare someone to receive it. It takes three ingredients 1. Teach the doctrine of baptism, 2 testify of the importance of priesthood authority, 3 promise specific blessings. From the STM, I had a cool epiphany about the importance of promising blessings. I've noticed that during lessons, the Holy Ghost testifies especially strong when we promise specific and meaningful blessings. For example when we talk about baptism, we should always accompany it with promising that when they are baptized they will receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost which will help them make decisions, warn them of danger and so forth.
Another cool experience we had this week was with or investigator Michelle. She is a little closed off, by open to listening to us teach. She had bad experience with her family while growing up in her church, to the point that she's lost almost all faith the God loves and cares about her. There was a point in the lesson where we were talking about how awesome God's love is in our lives and I had the distinct impression that she does not know what God's love feels like. I asked if she'd ever felt God's love in her life, and she said no. WE found a concern. If she has never recognized the Spirit in her life, how can we invite her to find out if what we are teaching is true? So we counseled with her for a bit, and after the prayer she piped up and said I think God's love is that feeling when you are alone in a wilderness and it's just complete peace all around you. We smiled and said "yes that is how the Spirit communicates with you." Michelle felt the Holy Ghost during that lesson. Those feelings from God inspire us to repent.
We had another teaching experience where I was on exchanges with and Elder and in both our lessons that day we ended up just reading the Book of Mormon and explaining what it is. I'm starting to recognize that unless investigators start feeling the spirit from the Book of Mormon, it's hard for them to accept any other doctrine. We should be spending a lot of time as missionaries really explaining the Book of Mormon (it is not the Bible and yes we believe in both) and helping them understand the story at the beginning of 1 Nephi. It takes a lot of time, but in the end, it's worth it when people start receiving revelation from the Book of Mormon for themselves.
I love my mission. I'm learning so much about how to be a teacher and how to help people turn to God. I'm grateful for my companion Elder Beus who helps me recognize my weaknesses and push me to do better. I'm excited to finish up here in a few weeks and start applying everything I've learned. Keep praying for our area!