Monday, June 24, 2013

A Week of Miracles

First of all, sorry I forgot to tell you that I would be writing today, but here we are.

Now, let's look at each miracle.

Starting with the Baptism. Noé (Noah) is the young man that was baptized this week. You may notice that the same person who baptized Isaac baptized him. He is Noé's uncle, Sergio, who became great friends with Isaac, too. In case I didn't explain last week, he's a recent convert who has already been ordained a priest, so he has the authority to baptize. It was a very special day. His non-member parents and brother came, along with his inactive grandmother. They all felt great, and all but the dad came to church on Sunday as well! That was pretty cool.

Before being baptized, Noé had to have his baptismal interview.

Before telling the story of this miracle, let me explain a little. The Bishop didn't used to like us. He had some issues that aren't worth mentioning, but the point is that he didn't like us very much as Elder Missionaries.

Then, he helped us a bit with Isaac. We dropped off a small thank-you gift and card at his house, and he now sees that we love him as a Bishop.

For Noé's interview, he came early to open the chapel, filled the baptismal font, turned on the water heater, and without being asked, came to bear a touching testimony to Noé's mother and grandmother, to whom we were giving a guided tour of the Chapel and teaching about the Restoration. It was amazing, and the Bishop wants us to baptize the mom (we already want to baptize her.) We then had to go do another baptismal interview in another area (Peronia) at 3pm, with the baptism to start at 4pm. We got there just in time, and the Bishop had already turned off the water heater, set up the chairs, invited his entire family and many others, and had made sure that Noé and Sergio were dressed in white for the baptism. We got there, took the picture, and started the baptismal service, which the Bishop then directed. At the end, he gave a touching testimony about the day he was baptized, and everything was very well done, and went off without a hitch. The next day, he finished the paperwork for the confirmation, confirmed the young man himself, and gave him the Aaronic Priesthood during Priesthood meeting.

He then invited all 4 of the full-time missionaries in the ward (us and the sisters) to speak in church next Sunday.
The lesson is: God works by love. I can't tell you the number of Elders who have fought with this Bishop, but the Lord won him for us, so now all we have to do is work hard and reap the fruits. As is says in 1 John "He who loveth not knoweth not God, for God is Love." Jesus Christ himself summed up all the commandments in two: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy might, and with all thy heart and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it: THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF." (Emphasis added) That's what the Lord's work is all about. Yes, sometimes we have to push someone a little bit, but it's out of love for them. If we're contending or fighting, the Spirit will not be present and we will not be able to do the Work. If we have hard feelings or sins in our hearts, the Spirit cannot dwell there and we will not be able to progress or help the Lord in any way. We could have fought with the Bishop like the other Elders for the last 3 months of my mission, but we showed him love, and we're doing the Lord's work in the Lord's way.

I testify of the truth of these things in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

This week are the changes. I know I will be training, and will be changing companions, but I don't know if I'll be staying here, or going up or down, or leaving or what. They tell us tonight, which is weird. P-day is tomorrow this week. Also, on Saturday, this zone and one other change from the Central to the South mission. It really doesn't matter, but if I go, I will be missing President Brough. But as the beloved hymn says, "I'll go where you want me to go."

We also had the opportunity to watch via satellite the Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting yesterday, along with our ward leaders. It was pretty neat, and missionary work is really going to change. The only technical difficulties were during Elder Perry's talk, about how the missionaries are going to start using more technology to contact and work with members and investigators. So I don't know the details, I just know that missionaries will be having more tech tools, so if anyone else watched the meeting and can fill me in on the details of that talk, I would appreciate it.

Take care all of you, And remember the Lord is obligated to bless you when you keep his commandments.

Elder Banks

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