Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Power of Conversion

Hi everyone!!!

This week may possibly have been the most miraculous week of my entire mission. So prepare for a longer email.

To start off, we had Melany´s baptism! It was so awesome and spiritual. She was so ready to be baptized, and her baptism was such a happy experience! She has such a strong testimony, and I know that she is so happy now that she has been able to complete her goal of being baptized.

So her baptism in itself was a miracle. But wait...there´s more.

So Melany had told us that she has a boyfriend named Jose Carlos who was somewhat interested in the church. She said he had been to church with her in the past, and had spoken with the missionaries, but his family is very Catholic and against the LDS church, so he never made the decision to be baptized. He doesn´t live in our area, and he is in some kind of military training which he is frequently gone for. We didn´t really put that much effort into contacting him because for those reasons we thought it would be hard for him to progress at this point in time, although he sounded like a good person who would be receptive to the gospel.

We had agreed with Melany that we were going to pass by her house before the baptism and walk with her to the church. We also had some investigators who we wanted to go, so we did exchanges with some other missionaries. I went with Elder Mcguire to Melany´s house while my companion went with another missionary to the investigators´ houses. As we were walking to the baptism with Melany, she told me she had a question. When I asked her what it was, she told me that her boyfriend had gone to church again by himself where he is living. She then said something along the lines of, "This might sound a little crazy...but he told me he wants to be baptized. With me. TODAY."

She explained that the missionaries had taught him a little bit, and that she had explained to him a lot of what the missionaries had taught her as well. So after I had picked my jaw up off the floor, I decided to ask her how many times he´d been to church. She explained that he´d been the past Sunday alone, and that he´d gone with her a couple times when she lived in Quiche. After all this, I remembered that he still didn´t live in our ward boundaries, so it would be better that the missionaries where he lived coordinated with him so he could be baptized in his own ward. When we got to the baptism he was there, so I asked him for his number and passed it to the missionaries from where he lived. They called him, and since the baptismal service for Melany had already ended, they agreed that he could be baptized on Monday.

On Sunday, Jose Carlos went to our ward with Melany. It was testimony meeting, and surprisingly enough, Jose Carlos got up with Melany towards the end of the meeting to bear his testimony. He bore one of the most heartfelt testimonies I´d ever heard. He said, "I´m feeling something right now that I have never felt before." Everyone was so awestruck at his testimony, and the Spirit was strong. Melany then bore her testimony. She talked about her baptism, obviously, and then announced that her boyfriend had decided to be baptized the next day. The whole congregation was shocked since nobody really knew about it. But then something really crazy happened...I´m not really sure whose idea it was, but after a very short conversation with the bishopric behind them, Melany said, "Oh, actually, he´s going to do it today. NOW!"

So I started to have a heart attack. My companion and I left the room and started calling the mission president. He wasn´t answering, and we weren´t really sure what to do, since the whole ward was all of a sudden ready for a baptism. However, we then realized that he had been to church the required three times, and that he had at least some knowledge of the gospel. Why couldn´t he be baptized right now? We filled the font, and I ran to the zone leaders´ house with another missionary to get baptismal clothes. Luckily our zone leaders were there in the church with us, so one of them conducted a baptismal interview. The sacrament meeting was finished, he passed the interview, and the many of the members filed into the room with the baptismal font. During the baptism, one of the bishopric members had apparently heard that that week Jose Carlos would be going back to military training this week and wouldn´t be back for another two weeks, so it would be better to confirm him in the baptismal service. I left the room and called Elder Steiner, one of the assistants, and he told me to call the mission president. He answered, and after some explaining, he said he was on his way over. He spoke with the bishop, and it was decided that it would be better to confirm him that day. He was confirmed in the service, and it was also decided for a couple reasons that his records should stay in our ward and he should attend our ward, although he lives outside of the boundaries.

So that´s the story about how we met someone one day, and the very next day he was being baptized.

This experience reminded me of one passage of the Bible that I really like, in Acts 8:36-38

36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

While I was talking to my family on Christmas Day, I told them about Melany, and my dad made a comment something along the lines of, "Is it just me, or do baptisms just fall out of the sky for you guys?"

I don´t think my dad quite realized how one hundred percent true that statement is! I try to be a good missionary, although I am far from perfect. SO far. I´m literally nowhere close to deserving to be a part of the miracles that God is allowing me to witness. God is so kind and gracious that He allows one of his weak children like me to be a part of such great miracles like this one.

12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

I LOVE THIS GREAT WORK!

I love you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Thomas

P.S. Here are some pictures of Melany´s baptism! And a selfie of Elder Sanchez and I. I wasn´t really prepared with my camera for Jose Carlos´s baptism, but you´ll see pictures of that soon!




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