Monday, April 9, 2012

Miraculous Conversions Like the Book of Mormon

Hola Familia,

WOW!  This has been a week that I will never EVER forget!  I am so thankful for the huge miracles and grace the Lord is extending to us.  The whole zone has been working so hard and we saw TONS of miracles this last week!

Sunday, Elder Beutler and Elder Hernandez came to church with an 81 year old lady who they had met only the day before.  She had accepted baptism and came to church with a bag full of things.  When they got to church they found out that she had brought her towel, sandals, and other clothing.  When they asked her why she had brought all those things she responded, "I'm getting baptized aren't I?"  They explained to her that her baptismal service was planned for another week and that she would need to wait.  When she heard that she exclaimed, "why can't I do it today?!"  I did her interview which she passed and we called President to see what he would say. He told us that we could go right ahead with it!  We then started preparing the baptismal service.  I have never met a missionary more grateful and humble as Elder Beutler.  He gave a talk in her baptismal service.  As he began to talk he looked Maria de Jesus in the eyes and said "I know Hermana (i.e. Sister) that you are an elect daughter of God and that you are a miracle."  He could barely say it as he choked back tears of gratitude.  He kept telling me that he didn't deserve the miracle.  However, after he had done everything necesary to baptize that week, I am sure the Lord looked down on him with love and happiness extending a blessing of encouragement.  What a great lessoned learned: we do all that is NECESARY to see the miracle and the miracle will come.  I have seen it time after time!

This miracle accomplished every area in the zone baptizing except for one, Izcalli Piramide.  IP didn't know that they were the only ones that hadn't and so after talking, Elder Sanchez and I we decided that the day hadn't ended yet and we were going to go in for a miracle.  IP had four fechas (i.e., baptismal dates) fall through and were working harder than most of the other Elders in the zone and I could not handle seeing them be the only ones that didn't baptize.  We then called the zone and told them the plan; we were to go all 20 of us to the little area and look for a miracle.  I had thought that a few would respond saying that they had appointments and would not want to leave their areas.  Thankfully, I couldn't have been more wrong.  They all responded enthusiastically and when we all met in the chapel to organize everything the Spirit was so strong.  We said a prayer before going out and during the prayer a strong spirit of assurance entered the room and we all left knowing that we were going to see a miracle.  We worked from 6-9 and had found about 5 close calls.  We called President and got permission to stay out until 10.  Many had already headed toward home but as we called them to come back, everyone of them came again!!  We went back to work and I saw many missionaries running and talking to EVERYONE!  At about 10:20 pm a missionary called us explaining they had found someone contacting in the street that wanted to be baptized that same night.  After we heard about the miracle we ran to the house of the hermana and saw the zone outside axiously waiting.  Every single member of the zone was praying in their hearts.  The missionary came out of the interview with two thumbs up and we all headed to the church to baptize starting at 11:30 in the evening.  We shared a super special moment in the baptism all there together.  The hermana and her 8 year old daughter were baptized!  I could not have been more impressed with the response to the call of action.

Wow, this really is the work of the Lord.  We are His representatives and we will see and continue to see miracles as we consecrate ourselves.  We were a Bauti-zona which means that every companionship baptized!!  We are going for more and we know that we are barely scratching the potential!!

Elder Janis

Publisher's Note (i.e., from Ethan's Dad who posts his emails each week):

Many of you, especially those who have served missions, may wonder how baptisms come about so miraculously in Ethan's mission and how people can seemingly come in contact with missionaries one day and be baptized the next, or even the same day as in the story above.  One may also question whether those converts will stay faithful and active in the Gospel, especially given some of the guidelines and expectations of converts where we live.

It may be useful to remember that these kinds of miraculous conversions can be found plentifully in the scriptures particularly the Book of Mormon.  Often the Spirit of the Lord touched his children, changed hearts, and created amazing conversions that seemingly were instantaneous and resulted in baptisms.  Mindful of the fact that Ethan is working faithfully and consecrating himself among the descendants of the Lamanites who have been promised they would "blossom like the rose", we should not be surprised by the miracles he is reporting and should be grateful that we have an opportunity to read scripture quality experiences each week as they unfold.