Wednesday, October 14, 2015

September 21, 2015 Baptism in Casa Grande

   Well, I suppose I’ve mentioned the word miracles quite a few time in the past few months, but there are so many that keep occurring herein Casa Grande so I’ll mention a couple more. It really has been an excellent week for us as Elder Parkinson and I have been becoming unified as we’ve gotten to know one another better. It seems like I have to get to know a lot of companions and learn how to work with them after having the 11 that I’ve had. Perhaps it’s a good thing to learn how to do. It can be hard helping a  new missionary their first few weeks, but the spirit is so very present making countless miracles possible, making an already marvelous work an even bigger wonder. Witnessing the Lord use us as instruments in his hands to answer prayers and help others come unto him is a firm testimony builder for me.
     On Monday we had a District P-day which I planned beforehand. I arranged for us to make some chocolate chip cookies and watch “The Book of Life” in the stake center (my chapel). The cookies came out a little burned since the ovens here aren’t really state of the art, but they were still very good. The movie was well enjoyed by all. I sometimes have to put a bit of effort into organizing these activities, but seeing the missionaries enjoy themselves makes it all worth it.
     I’ve mentioned before how when we are obedient, the Lord guides us all that we do during these 2 years. It is something I feel strongly about that was confirmed in small but meaningful ways this past week. We usually don’t have much time to visit members since we have so much work with investigators, less actives, and recent converts. However, on Tuesday when an appointment fell through we both felt the impression to visit a nearby member. We know her well and often drop by her window store to buy drinks, but we had never formally visited her. So when we asked her if we could visit her she looked a little surprised, but let us in. After the prayer, she opened us and explained that her son was causing a lot of family problems, basically expressing a lot of trails she was passing through. We shared some scriptures with her and she said that she had been fasting and praying for help and that we answered her prayer. That really hit me. A couple days later we were unable to find a member to accompany us, so I felt the impression to walk to a certain street. It was there that we crossed paths with the 1st counselor in the bishopric who told us he had prayed to cross paths with the missionaries. We were answering his prayer. It is amazing how the Lords uses us in the service of his other children.
     I’ve mentioned M__ and her family a few times and how they’ve progressed so much. Last week she told us that she wanted to be baptized in the future, but was still unsure. Instead of pushing her forward, we took a step back and worked with the members. They then went out of their way to serve the Ramirez family (her family). As a result of their sincere fellowshipping, M___ told us Tuesday that she wanted to be baptized and we set the goal to be on the 26th of September and she accepted! She will be baptized this next Saturday with her son Martin with their reactivated father/husband alongside. What great miracles are wrought by sincere service and love.
     Now to describe the largest miracle of the week, G___is a great sister that has large desires to follow her Savior, Jesus Christ. She’s investigated the church for over 10 years, but finally made the decision to become a member of the church. She just finished reading the Book of Mormon for the 2nd time and was without a doubt the most prepared investigator I’ve ever heard. Her firm understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Restoration has established a firm foundation for her to flourish. Her ceremony on Saturday was simple but very spiritual. Elder Parkinson got to baptize for the 1st time and carried out the ordinance like a Pro. A great way to start off his training. The testimony she then gave was so very clear, concise, and powerful. It was the 1st time I’d heard a new convert give a pure short testimony, it wasn’t a thankamony, or a storyamony, or a lessonamony, but rather a testimony. She is very converted and I’m sure there were many happy souls in heaven that day. As the scripture says there is a lot of joy in the heavens when souls come unto Christ.
     So Casa Grande continues to be a place of many miracles as the Lord is pouring out his spirit upon the people here. What a privilege it is to be in this part of the vineyard as one of God’s servants. It is hard to explain the fulfilling joy that one feels as a dedicated full-time missionary. There are also some fun times, too. This past week we had a “parables night” where we acted out various biblical parables. I dressed up as “Willie Wonka” for our take on the parables of the talents. I had umpa lumpas instead of 3 servants and I promise the act was a lot of fun. The crowd found it very amazing. Friday was also the birthday of Elder Parkinson.

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