What a great week! I love missionary work! It's like it's never going to end! (We'll see).
We told him that the more he acted upon this voice, that the more his desires would change to become like Christs. As we talked, he said, "Do I have to stop smoking?" We had brought along a member who went on telling him some personal experiences, and we felt prompted to say that if we told him to quit smoking now, that he'd probably say no... he agreed. We told him that the power and purpose of our message was to change his desires to want to follow Christ, to follow the promptings we receive. We told him that if he wanted to learn more and acted upon it, that eventually he'd quit smoking because he wanted to for Christ, not because we said so, or even because it was a healthier choice to make. We invited him to be baptized, in which he agreed as he came to know these things were true for himself. We met with him two days later, and he said that he'd quit smoking, read all 3 chapters we gave him and the pamphlet, and that he'd talked to some friends back at home learning more, and that he was just excited to soak more in. He said, "Believe me, you'd think I was the last person to do this.. I actually feel kind of bad now, because I'd always tease my friends for going to church, and I'd actually get some of them to come skiing with me instead... I've felt really good as I've read this, and I know that it's true, and I just want to learn as much as I can about it." It reminded me of Alma the younger, who said that he "spiritually killed his brethren" before he was converted. We set a baptismal date for the 28th! THEN, we met with him two days later, and he said that he'd read all of the chapters we'd given him, talked more with his friends about all of his questions, and that he was super excited for the 28th! He gave us some questions about the Atonement, and asked us what it meant, and how it affected him. It was a powerful lesson about mercy and Justice! He had been sharing the gospel with his roommate as well, and was telling him everything he knew. He told us, "This has totally changed my life, and I'm so grateful." We told him that if he stopped drinking coffee today, that he could be baptized on the 21st instead of the 28th.. He said that he couldn't because he was going to the field the next day, and had 3-4 hour nights and just couldn't do it. We told him it was fine and totally up to him. He texted us the next day and said, "Hey, I prayed about it, I stopped drinking coffee. Lets go for the 21st" Sooo good! He also had read the 9 chapters or so that we gave him to read, and we told him to just start reading from the beginning. He said he liked the challenge! Haha, he's a walking miracle. I know that we were placed in his path for a reason. The Lord was ready to give him exactly what he was looking for, without even knowing it! Good stuff.
Also, to shift gears into the Fort Bragg ward. (Quick reminder, we cover both the double stake branch for the YSA, and then the family ward of Fort Brag. Soldier = ysa, next story = Fort Brag).
Sister G, as we've been teaching her for a while, has been on fire. I think I've mentioned before that she is the next door neighbor to one of the best relief society presidents I've ever met, and just one of the most faithful people I've met. She has energy like my mother, and I don't know how she just keeps going... haha it's crazy. But we've been teaching her for a couple weeks now, and her husband has recently returned from a deployment, and we've been teaching him now as well. We had such a penetrating lesson with him this week... we started off by watching the restoration dvd, and then asked him if He'd prayed to find out if it was true for himself. He told us that he hadn't, and wasn't sure if he was ready. He brought up a lot of concerns with being in the military, and how it's not exactly something that he feels that God would want him to do, and that if he really found out and felt that this was true, that he would have to make major lifestyle changes. We talked about Abraham and Issac, how you can imagine how Abraham felt, after being promised this multitude of a posterity, and then to be told to sacrifice his only son. The doubts in promises he must've felt, and the pain that came from the possibility of what had to be done, but in the end, it was a test of faith, to try him in what he was willing to do. Sister Horn and brother Horn, (incredible family) talked about how Brother horn's whole family were Buddhists, and that it was hard for him, but once he knew that it was true, he totally changed it all around. Sister Horn talked about how she had fallen away from the church, and had done all of these things to try and quench that spiritual thirst, but nothing else fit, and eventually she was led back in, and found it all worth it in the end. At the end of this powerful lesson, we invited him to pray, to ask and find out for himself. He sure did! As he came up from the prayer, we asked him how he felt, and he said, "Funny you asked that question... really good actually... this is going to be a lot to take in. He looked like someone that had received a whole new perspective... it was incredible!!! We're calling him today, to see if he as well would like to be baptized on the 21st with his wife. So good. God has blessed us with people who are ready, but when it comes down to it, we've been blessed to be able to be his tools. I'm grateful for the Lord's trust in me, to send me to this area, to teach these people, and to share this great message of love. I've been able to see how it's changed these people's lives. Throughout my mission, I've seen and have been blessed to recognize my patriarchal blessing manifest itself time and time again. I love this work! I love my Savior, and how easy it truly is as we follow him! I follow Nephi's shout as he felt inspired to write: "I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell." (2 Nephi 33:6)
I gave my last testimony at our Combined missionary Leadership Council meeting on Friday, and as I was about to go up, (I had a lot to say) ..I'd tried not to think too much about what to say, and said a prayer to just let the Holy Ghost say what he needed to through me, for what these missionaries needed to hear. There have been a handful of times giving blessings, and bearing testimony when the spirit has come as clear as it did to me. I got up and talked about how we will never know how these people feel without the gift of the Holy Ghost, without guidance of Christ. We will never know how they feel when their hope is lost, or they have a bad day, but Christ does. and he did, so that we could speak for him through the Holy Ghost to help these people feel his love. We cannot do anything without the Holy Ghost. We cannot teach, unless we are doing so in the way he has given us. I couldn't help but feel grateful and blessed, as I sat down, knowing that I have been one of the Lord's messengers. I know that if we put our understanding aside and trust Him, we'll always see the arm of the Lord revealed. It's the simple process of faith in Him who descended below all things for us. ;)