Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28th, 2013

What a week!!!
 This was, by far, the most successful week of my entire mission up to this point! It was so much fun and so crazy! I know that I am not going to be able to write about everything but I hope to hit a few high points.

The first thing I need to report about this week is the success we have had with our new investigator (from last Sunday) Tashina! Tashina is soooooo awesome! We have been able to have a lesson with her every day this week (that is so cool in and of itself) and have already taught her most of the lessons! In one week!! That blows me away because I am used to needing a lot more time to teach people even simpler principles!! Tashina is going to be baptized on Feb. 16 and we are so excited for her! As an example of how cool she is I will share this experience, on Thursday Elder Clark and I forgot to give her a reading assignment in the Book of Mormon (yes we are awful missionaries I know) so what did she do? She decided to start to read it from the beginning. When we asked her if she read (after apologizing for forgetting to give her something to read) she told us that and then told us what she read about like Lehi and his family leaving Jerusalem, then about Nephi, Sam, Laman, and Lemuel going back to get the brass plates (and remembering each of their names!) and the three different tries they did. And then how they went back again to Jerusalem to get Ishmael and his family and at about this point we asked her how much she read. She read about 8 chapters!!! It was crazy! Not only did she read it but she remembered everything! Even the names of Sam and Ishmael! Normal investigators don't do that! She is so cool and so ready! Elder Clark and I both feel that she is a blessing to us for all the crap we have gone through up to this point! The Lord truly loves and knows each of us. We also gave her a Navajo Book of Mormon in addition to her English one (yes she is a Navajo) and she was excited for that one as well!

Speaking of the Book of Mormon.....I just want to say one thing. I encourage all who read this to read the Book of Mormon. It doesn't matter if you have never read it before or have read it 100 times! You will always learn something new! Also that is the best way to know if this church is true! If the Book of Mormon is true then it means that Joseph Smith is truly a Prophet of God! It means that this Church is truly God's church once again established on this earth and the fullness of His gospel is found here! This is a totally black and white thing, there is no grey! Either the Book of Mormon is true or it isn't and this church stands or falls as God's church with that simple truth! Wither you are wondering if this is the right church, you have forgotten that this is the right church, or want a stronger testimony that this is the right Church the Book of Mormon is THE way to know. I bear you my witness and testimony that the Book of Mormon is the word of God given to us from a Prophet called by Him. I know that is true and that is why I am here! I want to quote from the introduction of the Book of Mormon:

"We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3-5.)

Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah.”

I know that is a true promise. God loves every one of you and will not keep you in darkness! If you read the Book of Mormon and pray to know it is true then you WILL know it is true. I promise that and testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

We had lots of other cool things happen this week but I want to touch on one more that was one of the coolest experiences I have had thus far on my mission. This may not seem so cool but it was for me! Yesterday, right in the middle of the 4 Sacraments that we go to, I was able to go and do a baptismal interview for a little girl. This little girl is named Rachel and she is 9 years old and Autistic. It was so fun to meet and speak with her! We talked for about fifteen minutes about all the things that she likes to do and it actually really reminded me of you Jackson. She is just like you were at that age! She loves to play video games and loves Sonic and everything. She even would use the same phrases and stuff! It was really cool and really funny! She is such a sweet little girl! The reason that it was such a cool experience is that, even though she is 9 years old and Autistic, she gets it. She understood baptism and the importance of it more than anyone I had ever interviewed! I was sitting right in front of her and I asked her if she knew why I was there and talking with her. She told me that it was to see if she could be ready to be baptized. I said, "That's right! I am here to make sure you are ready to be baptized!" right as I said this she stood up (she had already stood up and sat down twice so I didn't expect what happened after) she smiled so big and then just gave me a big hug and said thank you in my ear! It was so cool! The feeling that was there was great! This little girl understood the love that her Heavenly Father had for her and knew (and told me) that she wanted to follow Jesus and live with him for a lot. She also knew that the only way to do this was to be baptized and she was so happy to be able to talk to me so that she could. It was one of the sweetest experiences of my entire mission and definitely the best baptismal interview I ever have done. That gave me a whole new meaning to the phrase "and becometh like a little child" and know I understand what the Savior meant when he told us to be as children. It was such a great experience!

The other thing I need to comment on is a devotional we had last night! We were able to have two members from the first quorum of the 70 come down here and do a special devotional for the young single adults in the Gila Valley! It was so cool! It was a great meeting and the spirit was super strong! Tashina was able to go to that and she really enjoyed it! We (Elder Clark and I) were also able to meet them and speak with them for a little while! It was super cool! 

Oh there is so much more I want to talk about but my time is done! The church is true! I love being out here on a mission!

Love you all!

Elder Banner

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