Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Heart & Soul

It was the first week that Sister Oliveira and I were opening up our new area.  We had planned to have a young man in the Branch do visits with us, and when we stopped by his house, we asked him to take us to one of his friend's house that would like to hear our message.  We walked around in a circle for a while, and then finally he thought of someone.  It was a 14-year old girl that lived in an apartment with 5 other girls who were studying in Sousa.  When we showed up at the apartment, this young girl was not home.  One of her roommates asked me if we wanted to call her and talk to her on the phone.  I don't usually do things like that, especially since we had never seen her before or talked to her before, but for some reason I accepted the offer.  I talked with her for about 2 minutes, and just invited her to come to church on Sunday.  She told me that she would, and then I hung up.  For the rest of the week, I didn't think much about that phone call, but then on Sunday this young girl, and another one of her roommates showed up at church!  When we went back to their apartment to teach them, another one of her roommates wanted to listen to our message!  Now, we are teaching 3 girls, all of them super awesome!!  One of the girls started reading the Book of Mormon, and completely fell in love with it!  She started reading at the beginning, and is already in 1 Nephi 14!  In one of our lessons with them, we used an example in Lehi's dream to teach a principle.  This girl completely understood, and was explaining all of Lehi's dream to us and what each part meant!  Loved it!  Each of these three girls are fantastic!  They are completely different, but I love each of them so much.  They have incredibly strong spirits and an immense desire to learn the truth and become baptized!  And all of this began with a simple phone call to a completely random person, and an invitation to come to church..."by small and simple things, great things are brought to pass!"

On Saturday night, Sister Oliveira and I taught a lesson to a great family that we had found during the week.  Our lesson was perfect!  We had a member with us, we taught simply and clearly, and the spirit was strong.  When we invited them to read the Book of Mormon, the wife basically jumped out of her chair as she said, "I will never read that book!"  As we asked them some more questions, we found out that after we had made a contact with them, her neighbors had begun to say terrible things about the Church.  They told her that we would destroy her faith.  We talked with her for awhile, and I bore my testimony that this message would not destroy her faith, but would only increase it.  I asked her if she would at least be open to praying about the message that we had shared with her, but she rejected this invitation as well; her heart was completely shut.  As we walked away, Sister Oliveira commented to me, "I feel terrible!  When that woman told us that she wouldn't read the Book of Mormon, I felt like the earth opened up and I fell into a 10 foot hole."  I replied, "I have passed through this experience many times already on my mission, and I feel just as terrible and sad every single time.  You see, Sister Oliveira," I continued, "When you truly love these people, you will feel extremely sad when they reject the message that you know will change their life and help them be truly happy."  There was a time on my mission when I was tired of being emotionally torn apart by every rejection.  I wanted to stop putting my whole heart and soul into every contact and every lesson; but I quickly learned that I could not be a powerful missionary if I selfishly protected my heart and took it out of my work.  It was only when I freely loved every person, and put my whole heart and soul into every prayer, every lesson, every question, and every contact; that I could truly teach with power and authority to make a difference in someone's life.  I know that this Gospel is true!  It truly does have the power to change people's hearts, and lives!

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