Monday, July 11, 2016

Weekly Update~ "The Power of a Testimony"

Dear Family and Friends,

This week Elder Mumba and I had a great week. I will first start by giving an update on Ignatius. On Wednesday, we went and visited him and followed up with him about his planned baptism date for Sunday July 10th. He pulled out his notes he took while reading Mosiah chapter 18- the assignment we left him our last visit. I can testify that as a missionary, there is no better tool to use than the Book of Mormon. Since we have begun emphasizing him reading and having spiritual experiences that build upon the foundation of his testimony, we have seen a huge transformation in him and he has progressed so far. After we had a good discussion, he began voicing some concerns about baptism and he told us he feels like he may not be ready this week. He then asked us, as friends and someone who cares about him, what he should do. He told us his wife is still very opposed to the church and doesn't want to disappoint her. As he told us this, I felt the Spirit to prompt me to ask him what he's waiting for if he knows this church is true. I told him that though this is his decision and he has a legitimate concern, to put it in the hands of the Lord and let him bless him as he keeps the commandments. Mumba bore testimony after me and shared his personal conversion story and about how his mother was opposed to the church as well but he told Ignatius that there is nothing better to do for his family than to show them an example of following the example of Jesus Christ. The Spirit was so powerful and I couldn't help but get emotional. We left the lesson and left the decision in his hands. We left knowing we did our part by following the Spirit and we told him to let us know what he wants to do by Friday evening. On Friday evening, we received a text from him telling us how grateful he is for us preparing him to receive the fruits of repentance through baptism but that he isn't ready quite yet due to family problems he hopes to overcome in the near future. We felt disappointed, but we knew that he would make these covenants one day if not now.

Throughout this week, Mumba and I have tried to be more mindful about what we were praying for and to ask for specific blessings and help, especially throughout the day during our finding time. There were multiple times throughout the week I had clear promptings from the Spirit where we should go. Sometimes they came as an image in my mind of the place we needed to go in the area, sometimes it just came as a prodding thought. As we followed these promptings, we were blessed because we were able to teach two unplanned Restoration lessons to people while we were tracting. It was neat because I felt like I was putting more effort in to be receptive to the Spirit and it was cool to be able to recognize the Lord's hand in the work.

On Friday, it was just one of those days where everyone we came into contact with wanted to contend with every word that came out f our mouths. It a started when we taught a potential investigator the Restoration. The lesson was going well- the guy was humble and was asking good questions- until we introduced the Book of Mormon. He then began talking nonsense about how no one is a Son of God unless they're not a sinner, then began saying we are all sinners and no one will be saved, then how we will be saved if we think about the blood of Jesus...He kept contradicting himself and talked about how none of the churches are true even today. Mumba and I then took turns baring testimony about the Restoration and about a living prophet on Earth today and about the Book of Mormon then we left. The very next lesson was with a family of brothers and sisters. We have taught Ben and Rachel twice now and their older brother Frank was there for the first time. We taught them all the Plan of Salvation which went well. At the end of the lesson, Ben began asking questions about the Book of Mormon. He went to the part in the introduction where Joseph Smith tells the brethren its the most correct book on the face of the Earth. He asked us if we believe the same and Mumba boldy stated that I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, so yes. Ben then got very angry at us and told us that nothing could replace the bible and that if that is our belief, he doesn't want to hear from us anymore. We explained to him again that the Book is not an addition or subtraction to the Bible but that it is another witness that Jesus is the Christ and that it supports the Bible in that purpose. He angrily rejected us and began saying comments similar to what we find in 2 Nephi Ch 29. To make things better, his Pastor joined us mid-conversation and began contending with us as well. I then asked, what do you have against another testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ? Isn't that why we have the Bible? I then bore testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and told him that the Book is in his hands and he has his own agency to find out for himself if its true or not. Contentious situations are never fun to deal with as missionaries. I'm thankful for the testimony I have in this Restored Gospel and that I know without a doubt that these things are true. I have read the Book of Mormon and I know no wicked man could have written or translated such a book and that it comes from God.

Sunday, Ignatius called us before church and told me "come to the church and baptize me now" haha when we got to the building, he explained that he made the decision he wanted to be baptized after all. After explaining to him the interview process, we pointed his focus to his baptism date of next Sunday the 17th. We meet with him this evening to discuss more and hopefully speak to his wife.

I love you all,

Elder Hazen

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