Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Conversion & Testimony

Hola Familia!
This week has been such an adventure!  I cannot believe the all the "first-times" that I am having while on a mission in SLC of all places!   This past week, Elder Fuentes and I tracted like crazy.  Most days we tracted, knocking door after door, for 5 hours with a couple of 8 hour days in there also.  I have learned to love the surprise of meeting the person answering the door, getting to know them, and teaching them a principle or two.  We will then ask the Americans if they know of any Latinos in their neighborhood and then go and knock those doors.  If they are Spanish-speaking, we will then close our door approach with a commitment to baptism.  At first I thought such boldness would just scare our investigators away, but it has really helped us find some really solid new investigators.  E. Fuentes and I thanked Heavenly Father everyday for the success we are having this week after the trials of little finding success last week.  We are now pretty stock full of wonderful families to teach and now actually have to find time to tract sometimes.  I can definitely see the hand of the Lord in our finding these families and look forward to teaching them!!
Yesterday was quite the experience for E. Fuentes and I.  We were eating dinner when the blizzard hit the SLC Valley and when we came out, everything was covered in snow.  What I really love about our companionship is that this blizzard didn't slow us down one bit!  Despite the onslaught of snow and the 7 degree wind chill, Elder Fuentes and I hit the streets of the South Salt Lake Stake with a determination to show the Lord that we could be diligent despite all of the opposition.  We made a game out of it almost!  Anytime either of us said anything about it being cold, we would joke about how scourchingly hot it was outside and that we wished we were in bathing suits and flip-flops.  We continued this as we walked around the very quiet and vacant streets of our area going from appointment to appointment.  However, one of our appointments fell through and we were given the opportunity to tract an apartment complex that we hadn't knocked yet.  The fifth door we knocked  in the complex turned out to be the most spiritual lesson that I have ever been in!
We knocked on door five of the complex to be greeted by a man who seemed rather annoyed at our bothering him.  We found out that he has been less active for many years now because of the culture of the LDS church.  After we showed interest in trying to help him see the importance of going to church, he invited us into his home to discuss more. Inside his home, he explained to us that he was mad at the church for their refusal to answer certain questions he had about Joseph Smith and the practice of polygamy.  We shared with him Mosiah 4:9, a beautifully pointed scripture, and then bore testimony of the importance of only concentrating on the knowledge and faith necessary for salvation.  He then admitted that before we knocked on his door he had been praying for certain answers to his questions and he knew that us coming to his home was an answer to his prayer.  Before leaving, we offered a prayer in which we asked the Lord to help him come back to church and have to power to overcome his trials. The Spirit was so strong in the room and at the end of the prayer, we opened our eyes to a grown man bawling.  He, while trying to choke back his emotions, thanked us and as we left, he invited us out for dinner sometime.  I have never been in such a spiritual lesson in my life.  The questions and the words we spoke were not our own.  I will never forget this experience and the power the Spirit had on a hard-hearted member of the church.  We are going to visit him again tonight and see how he is doing.
I also came to a wonderful realization while pondering the events of the night.  I am on my mission to help in every possible way the conversion of the people here, but to also continue to convert myself.  As I have taught the wonderful doctrines of the church, read the Book of Mormon, prayed, and bore testimony everyday, I can feel myself more and more converted.  The most noticeable difference I have seen in myself is a greater desire to share the gospel and work harder everyday.  I am finding it easier and easier to want to work hard and to be diligent even though it would be so easy to just be lazy.  My conversion and testimony has brought me so much peace and joy and I want to share this with every person I can!  I know that Christ lives.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I know that this is the Lord's work and man do I love it!!
I love all you so much and hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  The lovin' from home in the last package was awesome Mom, thanks!  I can't wait to enjoy the treats you brought to me.  I was so excited to see the homemade granola!!!!!!  Laura, thanks for sticking in that huge Butterfinger, you are so wonderful!  Enjoy the family and holidays!
Until next week with love and thanks,
Elder Janis