One day we were trying to contact Gerardo and he wasn't home, so we went back to the car and saw someone right before we got in, so we went over to talk to her. Her name is Toni and she was bringing her garbage cans back to her house, so we helped her out and she invited us inside and asked us if we knew someone, and we did! He was a member who happens to be a ward missionary and he really helped out with her son several years ago. Toni's son, Mustofa, went on scouting adventures and camping trips with this family all the time and Toni was able to watch Mustofa grow as he participated. Before we even had a chance to teach her, she told us that she feels like she needs to be baptized again, because she doesn't remember her infant baptism and she wants it to be her choice, plus who gave the person who baptized her permission to do that? It was amazing! She's planning to be baptized on August 27 now! Hopefully she'll come to church each week so she can make it to her date!
We were able to take Mahogne, Breasia, and Unique to a baptism! It helped them soooo much! I was sitting next to Breasia and when it was time for the individual to be baptized, we went up to the front so Breasia and Unique could watch up close. After that, Breasia kept sniffling. I know she felt the Spirit! It was so nice to be able to take them out of the usual environment in their home so that there were no distractions or hinderances to the Spirit. Mahogne has been having a hard time the past few weeks finding the motivation to wake up on time for church, but after the baptism we recommitted her to come and she said she would! We went over early Sunday morning to make sure they were awake and getting ready for church, but no one answered the door...and we kept knocking for 20 minutes! People have their agency though, and it's entirely up to them whether they want the blessings of the gospel or not!
We took Ciara and Nevea to the temple for a tour! One of my favorite things in the world is hearing investigators, recent converts, and less-active members coming back to activity describe how they feel the Spirit and why they want the gospel in their lives. Ciara and Nevea loved the temple! The peace that is there was tangible for them and Ciara absolutely loved all the plants! She asked if the temple grounds were like the Garden of Eden.
Taking our investigators to the baptism and to the temple was such a miracle because we were having a really hard time finding someone to drive them there! We had texted every member's cell saved in our phone
and called tons of landlines (most people only have landlines here, which makes it a bigger hurdle to find people because it takes so much longer) and everyone was either out of town or taking their kids to a doctors appointment. Seriously! We were both praying on our own throughout the week leading up to Saturday, when both the baptism and the temple tour were planned, but on Friday we prayed vocally as a companionship and then I felt the Holy Ghost prompt me to look in the ward directory for someone with a last name that started with an S, so
we called the first one I saw and they could take people to the baptism! We didn't find anyone to drive Ciara and Nevea to the temple on Saturday morning until 90 minutes before. It was amazing how we did! The bishop had called us during personal study and we answered, and while we were talking with him the phone notified us that we had a new voicemail, so right after his call we listened to it and one of the sisters in our ward said that she could do it! Now, the whole time we knew that God would provide a way for us to take these investigators to the temple or the baptism, but it was a trial of our faith because we had to wait for so long!
Last night we saw a guy named Leon that Sister Campbell talked with before who likes to Bible bash, but we went up to him anyway (for those of you preparing to serve missions, please talk with everyone--you are crossing paths with them for a reason) and he told us that we should burn our copies of the Book of Mormon, but as we talked with him the Spirit softened his heart and he opened up to us a LOT about what has been going on in his life and began crying. I have met very few people with a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ (without the Book of Mormon) than Leon. At the end we invited him to read Alma 7:11-13 and he promised he would do it! I was stunned to see the change of heart that he had. He could have been two different people!
"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me." Alma 7:11-13
As I've pondered about people who instantly reject the missionaries, I've come to the conclusion that they're afraid of us. They're afraid because they strongly believe that their beliefs are right and they know that our message and their beliefs are not in line with one another, although they generally have a strong Christian background. But they're afraid because they realize that if they talk to us long enough and actually listen to what we say, they will have a clearer understanding of the gospel...which includes putting away some of the beliefs that they have that aren't exactly right. Now, I'm not trying to put them down at all; most of them have a profound faith and trust in God and are good people. I could be wrong in this conclusion, but it's just what I've observed throughout my mission so far. And it reminds me of one of those non-LDS church signs that are put up that says: "Don't read and pray about the Book of Mormon, because that's how they get you!"
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. There is no doubt about it. Satan tries so hard to get people to stay away from it or to put the book down if they've already started reading it, but it has so much power! Everyone can feel it when they read it for the right reasons!
I love you all! Have an awesome week!