Monday, May 8, 2017

Last Day in Waller

Last night we got the ol' transfer calls and I'm packing my stuff today because I leave tomorrow. Not sure where to but I'm hopeful that my next area will be just as good as this one. I'm really sad that I'm leaving Waller because I've met so many cool people and seen so many lives change. It's been quite the ride and I've loved the the miracles I've seen and the growth that has taken place in the almost 6 months that I've been here. I am hopeful that it will never be the same and that things continue to grow so that when I come back the Waller 2nd Spanish Branch will be the Waller 2nd Spanish Ward!

To start off this week, we had some good lessons early on and Mission Leader Conference on Tuesday. The next MLC will be President and Sister Mortensen's last in this mission. Every companionship in the mission has been challenged to have at least 2 people with a baptismal date heading into the month of June. We're a little bit behind on our yearly mission commitment of 630 convert baptisms, but if June goes well it will put us right back on track. As well we focused on making a list of all of those in our areas who:

-Had a baptismal date in the past
-Came to church
-Are unbaptized children of record
-Are in a part member family
-Are prospective elders
-Are recent converts

This has helped us identify those in our areas who are fairly easier to reach because they already know members and perhaps have already been taught. I love it because this is something that I have focused on throughout my mission. As I've taken care of what may be termed "low hanging fruit," we've been able to reach the harder to get to people. As well, we show this list to all of the members to see who they think would be a good candidate to get reached out to. As we've put eyes on the list, we've seen miracles.

On Friday we had a lesson with Norberto and Vanessa that was pretty rough. A friend of theirs introduced them to anti-Mormon stuff on the internet and they have been reading that straight for a week. We really emphasized the need to read in the Book of Mormon and pray and ask God if it's true. And then take their questions to God, ask Him, and study them out using the scriptures. We told them that we could answer their questions all day long, but if they didn't put in their part to ask God it wouldn't matter. We emphasized the importance of receiving answers from God and the scriptures, the ultimate sources of light and truth, rather than us, the internet, or a pastor. I honestly didn't leave that lesson feeling very confident that we could help them getting back on track. However, on Sunday Norberto showed up to church and we met with him, Hermano Bonilla, and Hermano Alvarenga after the 3rd hour. He was still asking a mountain of questions, which was good, but both hermanos really helped him understand the need to exercise faith and ask God in prayer if these things are true. It was easily one of the most powerful lessons I have ever sat in.

It reminded me of my own experiences with prayer and patience in having my questions answered. Certainly there are things in early church history that are not easy to read about, especially considering the times we live in. However as I learned to focus on what's really important, those questions no longer troubled me. I still don't know why God commanded the early Saints to do certain things, but I also don't understand why God commanded the early Israelites to kill or to not preach to the Gentiles during Christ's life. But what I do know is that God lives. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. And I know that God has told me that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, called to restore the same church that was established by the Savior over 2,000 years ago. I know it because I have received an undeniable spiritual witness that all of this is true. And I will continue to declare these things to be true for the rest of my life. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Barrus

The Zacarias Family

The Contreras Family

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