Monday, May 30, 2011

Don't Be Afraid of Miracles

Hola Familia!
Elder Lubiano and I had a week unlike any other in my mission thus far!  The hand of the Lord is most definitely in every aspect of the work that I love.  We had many experiences that were absolutely amazing but due to the time I will share the two greatest.
We had interviews with President this last week.  Something I always look forward to because I learn tons and leave with a renovation of excitement for the work.  This last interview I talked to president about a goal that I have to baptize every week.  We discussed some of the things I could do to make it happen.  He then said something that I will never forget; "Elder, don't be afraid of miracles."
This stuck with me and for a while afterwards I couldn't help but think about what he had said.  We didn't have anyone with a baptismal date for the coming Sunday.  In the bus on the way back to our area, Elder Lubiano and I made a list of all the people that had been to church at least one time and aren't baptized.  Making plans for each and every one on the list we knew a miracle could happen.  The last person we wrote, we wrote rather reluctantly.  We hadn't seen her for two months and she previously had a baptismal date  The day of the baptism she went to her Christian church instead of her baptism.  However, one day we were close to her home when an appointment fell through.  We decided that we should give it a shot and see if she is the miracle God had planned.  When we knocked she was the one that answered the door and invited us in!  As we started the lesson with hymn and prayer I was praying silently that the words and scriptures would come.  After the prayer I started asking questions that came into my head and listened sincerely.  We asked the inspired questions that came to mind and listened for a couple minutes when the resistance to her baptism emerged.  She was praying and waiting for a sign from God to know if she should get baptized.  Seizing this opportunity we shared with her that God won't send an angel or appear himself to tell us if we should be baptized.  He sends us peace and assurance as little signs leading us to make the big decisions.  We then went through all the experiences she had had with us in church, lessons, and reading and praying on her own.  Together we were all enlightened as to the hand of the Lord in the conversion of Juana and that God had sent her all the signs she wanted and more.  After discussing all the small signs, I felt in a precise moment that I must invite her to be baptized.  As I started the invitation I felt a specific inspiration to do it for the Sunday 3 days away.  After giving the invitation, we sat there hoping that she would say what our hearts desired and what God wanted when she said the magic word, YES!!
This last Sunday we called her to tell her we were on the way to pick her up but she told us not to worry about it and that in 5 minutes she would arrive at the chapel.  She came driven with her own excitement and desire for her baptism.  This was definitely a miracle and I will never forget the important, powerful lesson I learned.  Never be afraid of miracles!
The other experience that we had was listening to an investigator, Raul, while he was bearing his testimony and experience about us missionaries to a member.  We walked in on them talking and heard that they were talking about us.  They invited us in and Elder Lubiano and I sat listening to a golden investigator, without doubt prepared by the Lord, tell the member that he was SO excited for his baptism.  He has a date for the 19th of June and will get married to his wife on the 16th of June.  I sat there just soaking in every word and I thank the Lord for having the opportunity to share the gospel with someone so spiritually prepared and in tune.  In the end of the conversation Raul and the member were crying due to the overwhelming sense of happiness we all felt hearing the testimony of Raul.
I absolutely love missionary work and feel so much gratitude for every single moment; the bittersweet, hard times and the extremely joyous and happy times.  I have never felt more happiness in my life than here serving our Lord and Redeemer.  I will never forget the things I'm learning and experiencing.  I cannot tell you how excited I am to start another week and search for more of these miracles; the moments when it is absolutely clear that this is the Lord's work and that we are instruments in His hands!  I love you all tons and tons!
Con mucho amor,
Elder Janis