Monday, September 24, 2012

There is Power in the Book of Mormon

This week, we have focused so much more in teaching from the Book of Mormon. That book really is the key to gaining a testimony of this church. Our investigators are starting to realize that we are going to ask about their reading and assign them chapters to read EVERY visit. But we also need to remember that our job is more than just that. As I learned from the Da Silva family, that´s what preachers from other religions do with the Bible when they come to houses. We are here to love, support, pray for, encourage, and serve these people. I found a comparison, or maybe even a parable, this week that helps describe how we should use the Book of Mormon. Often we find people whose motorcycles or cars need help (like our investigator Carlos Ramirez, who arrived at church 20 minutes before it ended because he had to walk half the way after his motorcycle died :D what a guy). In those moments I have wished that I knew enough about engines to fix all their problems, and then they would say "Wow, these missionaries are great! We should listen to them and attend their church." But that is not the case. All we can do is help them push their car up the hill, or other similar service. And, if they want to listen to our message after, they will listen. It is the same with the Book of Mormon. At times people will tell us about their problems, and I freak out trying to think of the chapter that will solve that exact problem. But that is not what we do. Preach My Gospel chapter 5 explains a lot about how we should use the Book of Mormon. We testify and invite people to read it, focusing on the parts that will help them understand the doctrine and gain a testimony. Then, if they are willing to do that, the Spirit will help them find the answers to their own problems, and they will resolve their own concerns.

The difference when people read or not is usually pretty obvious. For example, Sergio and Blásida Herrera were pretty depressed last Sunday because he still isn´t receiving his salary, so they are not even sure how long they will have enough to eat. We promised them if they read and prayed every day, they would be blessed with the money they need. The first half of the week, they read every day, and they were so much happier. (Side note: They also loved my brownies...which were tough to make. I discovered that a stick of butter here is a lot bigger than in the US, so I had to remake the batter. Also, all we have to measure is half a cup, so I really don´t know how to measure tablespoons or teaspoons). However, by the end of the week they had gotten casual with reading and Sergio chose the faster way to deal with problems--drinking. We talked to them a while, and they realized that drinking will not help. We went and got them Sunday morning, and it was fun to bring them and all three little girls to church! Hopefully this week things will change for them.
Reinaldo and Rosillo, the investigators from Stake Conference, are very diligent about reading, but they did not attend church. I think they will next week, because their testimonies are making progress. José, the husband of Paola, a recent convert, is another tough situation. He reads the Book of Mormon with her, but he is very Catholic and refuses to come to church. We´ll see what we can do. Freddy and Antonia, on the other hand, did not read at all. They chose to attend another church with their uncle. They are so close to being baptized, and I really love them, but they have to make the decisions to keep progressing. I really am learning a lot of patience here. One more update: Aníbal has a strong testimony and is very ready to be baptized....except that he is living with a woman who is not his spouse. He has a wife who he left but never divorced because it is expensive and takes a long time. It looks like now he will have to do that, or maybe move out so he can be baptized. We really don´t know what to do. But Lucio Vargas, the newly reactivated member who has helped us teach him said something that really struck me: "If these Elders baptize you while you are not keeping the commandments of God, it means that this is not his true church." Wow.
Now, to answer a few of your questions. There are not sisters in this district. We see the other four elders in our ward often, because every monday we go to the same part of town to do our grocery shopping. We do have sufficient to eat, but we have to be smart about how we spend our money. That is about the only thing we do in the city, and every once in a while we get everyone together to play soccer. The gold tie was the one I gave away. Those white handkerchiefs you gave me have been awesome to help deal with the heat and sweat. On P-Day we do our shopping, clean, write letters, and..that´s about it. There never seems to be enough time to do everything. I´ll leave you with something a little more light-hearted, a Spanish conversation I hear sometimes that makes no sense in English.
"¿Y después?" (literally: And after? meaning: How´s it going?)
"¡Al pelo!" (literally: to the hair! meaing: So good!)
I love and pray for you all! Keep reading the Book of Mormon and praying to the Lord for help. If you do what He asks, he really will help you at all times and in all things.
-Elder Wesley Morgan

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