Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Hey guys! Thanks so much for all the emails! Hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving on Thursday. We actually celebrated Thanksgiving today at a member family called the "S's." They are a really nice family. I don't know if you guys remember me ever telling an experience from the MTC where we got to meet a member from Suriname. Every time a new missionary comes along he shares the story of how he met us in the MTC last year haha. Either way, Bro. S is retired and so he gets to travel a lot. He has actually been to all the temples in Utah. Him and his wife prepared a great Thanksgiving.. Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, etc. All the missionaries in Suriname were there. So, don't worry about us not getting to celebrate Thanksgiving. We are good here.
We had a baptism this week! Her name is E. She is an older lady from Guyana who made a lot of progression in the short time that we have known her. We actually almost stopped teaching her at first because she seemed adamant that she would not be baptized. But after inviting her to pray about it she came around. Within two weeks of our first meeting with her she came to church, then General Conference, and every sacrament meeting after that. She also read the Book of Mormon and had no question or doubt that it was true. It was really cool to see how the Relief Society President had supported her and helped us teach her. It'll mean so much for E when she can rely on her during struggles.
As far as the rest of the week goes, it's actually hard to say. We focused really hard on helping E make this baptism because we knew how hard Satan can work on investigators. Another highlight of the week was probably getting to go home teaching with one of the members to a less-active. We have been trying to do everything we can to get this member to come back. She was actually baptized in May of this year but has just not been feeling healthy enough to go to church the past month. She did not come to church this week, but seeing her home teacher just brightened up her day. They talked for a good 20 minutes or so before we actually got into the lesson. It was definitely a testimony builder for me that as a missionary, in fact just as a child of God, I can't do it alone. We visited her twice a week but she did not look as excited as when she saw a member from the branch.
I was thinking a lot about repentance this week and how important it is to help investigators understand it. A lot of the time as missionaries, and also so that we can keep things simple and easy to understand, we talk about repentance as a five or six step process that we go through before we receive forgiveness. As I was studying it though and pondering about it, I realized it's actually a lot more like what the GA's have been trying to teach about the Sabbath Day. What I mean by that is all the lists or steps are nice, especially when we need help understanding repentance or the Sabbath Day. But once we understand it, we can feel comfortable "throwing away the list" as Elder Nelson put it and realize that repentance is actually bringing our will in line with God's. That process can take more than just the five or so steps, and it may take more than just a week. It may take several steps, several weeks, even a whole lifetime. When I came to that realization it made me want to approach repentance with a lot more spiritual preparation behind it, to approach it with the question of, "what do I do or think that is not in line with what God does or thinks?" I don't know, it was a cool realization to come to for me.
Anyways! Love you guys so much! Have a great week!