Okay this week has been wild. We had a lot of really fun and exciting things happen this week, as well as we saw some pretty amazing miracles.
To start off this week we had a Mission Leadership Council
However that definitely wasn't the most exciting thing that happened. On Friday Elder Cannon and I held a special fast to know who we should focus our time on and how we can better help the people we're working with to progress towards baptism. It was a super spiritual experience and it really paid off. So I've mentioned before a guy named Jose Rios, well this week he has made some amazing progress. He's a little over halfway through 1 Nephi right now and his prayers are so amazing, but we've kinda struggled getting him to church. On Saturday the ward had a Valentine's dinner and dance thing, and on Friday Elder Cannon and I knew that if we could get Jose Rios to the activity then he would come to church. Anyway we had an awesome lesson with him Friday night and then stopped by Saturday right before the party started and he was in the middle of bathing his kids, he told us that if they had the chance they would come. I was kinda worried that his bathing his kids would stop him from coming to the activity but I had a strong feeling that he would be there, and sure enough about an hour later he walked into the gym with his two little kids.
It was so cool to see them walk in, and almost instantly the members of the ward started talking to him and his kids. It was really neat to watch. At one point Elder Cannon and I didn't even have to do anything, we just kinda sat back and watched as the members talked with Jose and invited him to church. Then on Sunday we stopped by his house to remind him about church, and he told us that he may make it to sacrament meeting. Again I was unsure what was going to happen but I felt good, and trusted in the Lord that he would at least come to the last hour, which is when we hold our sacrament meeting. Right before sacrament we walked around outside and in the church looking for him and we couldn't find him. Then as we were walking down the hall we saw his son staring at us and then Jose walked around the corner. It turned out that he had shown up to church at 2:30 and then spent the whole time with his kids in Primary!
He really enjoyed his time at church and we are superexcited to see the progression he made this week as he now understands a little bit about what we do at church. This whole experience taught me a lot about faith, and how it works. All week I have been studying the question "To what extent does faith have an effect on the lives of others without infringing on their agency?" I feel like this experience really helped me to learn that faith can really soften hearts and lead people to change, but they need to be willing to accept it. They have to have some desire to learn and change or nothing will happen.
President Lewis shared this quote with me when I asked him that question.
"Some might say that baptisms are not determined by the missionary because it is a moral choice that every investigator must make. There is truth in that statement, but there is also truth in this one: There is a power that can cause things to happen that need to happen. There is a spiritual force that can stir a mortal soul toward the spiritual, motivating deeper study into the Book of Mormon and more prayer with real intent. Faith is a power, and it can cause things to happen that need to happen. It can cause a soul who is good, but dormant, to awaken to God." -Elder Neil L. Anderson
Our faith can encourage, uplift, and inspire a soul to grow, but it cannot force a soul to change.
It's been a wonderful week, and I wish I had time to share more, but I'm running out of time. Love you all!
Washington Yakima Mission
|Group picture from Mission Leadership Training|