Wow, the Plainview Ward is on fire. What a week this has been. Probably the most involved week I have ever had with members. Member missionary work. I am sure starting to develop a real testimony of its power.
Let’s start off with widow in our ward who joined the church just under a decade ago. She hardly gets any visitors besides her visiting teacher (Visiting Teaching and Home Teaching exist here!!!! More on that later…), so we visit her once a week for dinner. This last time we were over, we got to talking about her neighbors. She explained that one of her neighbors was very dissatisfied with her church and how the other was worried for the end of times. We talked about applicable messages Irma could share with them and ended up giving her 2 copies of the Book of Mormon to write her testimony in and give to her neighbors. The next day, she messaged us and said:
“Elder Snell you won’t believe what just happened. My neighbor just called me and asked if I had a book or Bible from my church and I said, “sure.” She just came down and got it. Heavenly Father heard my prayers. I wrote my testimony and gave her the Book of Mormon.”
She didn’t even have to ask her neighbor if she could give her a Book of Mormon; she prayed and then her neighbor called her and asked for one. The Lord can do his work–all he needs is for us to prepare ourselves and be willing to do it.
Elders Casares and Afoa had a baptism this last Saturday. And what a special experience. Marko was found three weeks ago when the YSA branch (they use the same church building as us) fasted to find someone the Lord was preparing for baptism. That was when the Sister Missionaries (they work with the YSA branch) met Marko, who literally ran away from them when he saw them. The Sisters called out to him and told him to come back. Well, he came back. They taught him and invited him to church. In his testimony at his baptism, he shared how he felt the most real peace he had ever felt when he went to church that first time. As chance would have it, Marko was actually a few years older than the 30-year old age limit for YSA, so he was passed off to the other Elders serving in our ward. And–obviously–he was very prepared. I interviewed him for baptism this last Thursday and there was no doubt about it: Marko was ready. During the interview, he bore powerful testimony on the Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity, on attending church, the Book of Mormon, and current living prophets. The interview was 30 minutes and we both left edified. On Saturday, he brought his stepmom to his baptism. She was adamant that this wasn’t for her, but she kept asking questions and when you looked in her eyes, you could tell she was feeling the Spirit.
One more thing on Marko. Actually, this is about our Elders Quorum. They are absolutely astounding. The Elders Quorum President and First Counselor were both at the baptism and immediately after the service ended, they started talking with him. They are already working on a calling for him and a Home Teaching assignment. And that is exactly what every recent convert needs. Marko is already stellar, and now he is enabled to not only grow further, but to help strengthen the ward.
Francis and Bruce are two of the funniest people I have met. They are comedians, as well as dedicated disciples. They are also some of the most avid learners I’ve met. Each time we visit, they whip out their scriptures–which are marked left and write will different colors of highlighters–and have questions that are no small business. They’ve studied long and hard from the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
In our last lesson with them, Francis explained to us that she used to refer to Satan and his followers by a whole string of words that she couldn’t say anymore, now that she was LDS. She said that she would instead call the Devil and his cohort, “Mr. Muffinhead and his luggage.” Haha! Gotta love it.
Okay, I need to brag about our Elders Quorum a little bit more. Every Sunday night (with few exceptions), they all go out and try to find all the less actives in our ward. Sometimes, they’ll instead visit the members in the Ward who really need to feel support. Amazing, right? This last week, we asked if we could join them the upcoming Sunday (which was this last Sunday) and go on splits. They were more than happy to meet up. So at 5:00 this last Sunday, we met up with the Elders Quorum Presidency and Elders Casares and Afoa, split up, and went out to find some people. I was with Brother Villaran, 2nd counselor. First, I have never gone on splits like this before, so we were all a little pumped to see how it turned out. We weren’t disappointed. I witnessed the power that a local member has in the Lord’s work. People were so much receptive, because even though they didn’t know Brother Villaran, he was there reaching out as a friend. He was genuinely interested in them and it was clear he was there because he wanted to be friendly. Missionaries can do the same thing, but people usually have a preconceived notion about us. Anyways, our Elders Quorum is amazing.
In ways of companion, Elder Snell is awesome. We’ve quite a few connections. I can honestly say he is definitely the companion I need right now. After all the refining that has happened over the last while, this is the best I have felt on the mission. I’m still learning and growing, but I am enjoying the work more than I ever have. And it’s all my companions and areas that have lead up to this.
There are too many blessings to count. Suffice it to say that all is well.
On an off note, we just saw a sports car with the license plate “IPAIDCASH”— Good for him.
I hope everyone had a good week. Remember to read the Book of Mormon! Also, Alma 6:6 is “together” is combined with the imagery of a team. And God’s team is family, Heavenly, immediate, and any other way you can define it. Love you all!