Monday, December 2, 2013

"We were just in the right place at the right time...and the spirit did all the convincing."

Wow, What a weekend!
Traci was baptised. And confirmed.
Her mum, dad, husband (he works in England during the week and comes back up on weekends), and two sons were there, and so was a good number of members from the ward. It was a great experience. Elder Pallin baptised her, and I confirmed her the next day.
Traci's husband said he wants to come to church again next week, and he said it's just a positive environment that is rare to find these days. So we're looking forward to getting to know him better; Friday evening was the first time we met him. Such a solid family! And her seven year old son wants to get baptised in May. Just so golden! And Traci bought us each a bag of sweets and included personal letters, very grateful and so nice and such.
It feels weird to me; we spend SO much time teaching someone, worrying about them, praying for them, studying for lessons we will teach them, and overall preparing them for this one big day...and it's super exciting, but all of a sudden it just happens, and it feels kinda weird!
I felt the same way with Jimmy. Very grateful to be part of their conversion and to witness their baptisms, but for some reason I just feel like, what? That's it? It's over? Of course, it's not over for them or for us. And of course I'm super excited at the baptism and extremely happy for each person. Overall it was a fantastic weekend!
Elder Dustin, who is a Paisley zone leader, interviewed Traci for baptism and he was just amazed at how prepared she was. As were we the whole time, I still can't believe it's only been less than a month and she is so dedicated and such a strong testimony.
And the great thing is, we didn't do anything special. We were just in the right place at the right time when we found her, had solid members with us when teaching her, and the spirit did all the convincing. In fact sometimes I felt like our lessons were rubbish quality, but she felt the spirit and understood what we tried to teach and knew it was true. So yeah, it's just magic isn't it!
Speaking of which, I shared what I thought was some really good insight/counsel at my district meeting this week.
There's a segment in The District DVD's where this young, inexperienced elder who doesn't seem too confident, makes a comment in a lesson...whenever we watch it it's just painful.
He basically says, "Yeah, a lot of people tell us, 'Well Jesus drank wine!' and we say, well, was grape juice..." and then the investigator goes off on a tangent about how it really WAS wine because "grape juice wouldn't hold" and then after the segment the elder is telling how much of a disaster that one comment was, but then he says "As missionaries we make mistakes. But it's ok to make those mistakes sometimes because the spirit is there, and if the spirit is there then a good feeling is there."
And later in the video it shows the baptism of the whole family, and the spirit is always so strong when watching it.
So yeah at district meeting I showed those two segments and re-emphasized the message, that we are not perfect missionaries and we don't have to be; sometimes we will make mistakes but if we have the spirit with us then everything will be ok.
And most of the missionaries in our district then shared experiences when they had made silly mistakes in lessons and it worked out just fine in the end, because the Spirit does the actual converting, not us.
A lot of our time this week was spent teaching Traci and preparing HER, but also spent at the church preparing the other stuff.
Such as figuring out how the font filling system worked, making sure the hot water worked, cleaning the font because it hasn't been used in about a year, and cleaning a lot of the building because with such few members it's hard to clean that whole thing regularly.
In the end, it was a great experience for all who were present, and we managed to get a lot of missionary work done in the midst of it all.
Well other than that, there is not much else that happened this week. Usual, visiting less-active members, teaching other investigators who are much slower going than Traci, walking, riding buses, knocking on doors, talking to people on the street, etc.
Oh wait! A cool experience!
Whilst waiting for a bus one day, the bus stop was suddenly mobbed with little school kids and their parents taking them home.
One little four or five year old boy came up to me and just kinda started talking. Random stuff at first. Then he asked me "What's that book?" that I was holding in my hand.
I immediately turned to the pictures at the front of the book, the ones of Jesus, Joseph Smith, Nephi, Lehi, Samuel the Lamanite, etc. I showed him each one and he was amazed.
Especially when I showed him Samuel on the wall being shot at with arrows, and I told him the story about how they couldn't hit him because God was on his side. He wanted to read the story about that, so I put a bookmark in the chapter where that is, and asked him mom if it was ok to give him the book, since she was standing a few feet away talking to someone else.
Then we got on the same bus as them and he was looking at the pictures the whole time. So great!
That's my youngest Book of Mormon placement so far. Then it gets even better.
We were walking around looking for the house of a less-active member we wanted to visit. Suddenly Elder Pallin says, hey, we should knock on that door.
We did, and a friendly old man came to the door. He said he was fine with being Catholic, but we could come by another time to have a little chat.
When we left, Elder Pallin said that on the old man's wall was a photo of the little kid who I gave a Book of Mormon to! So now we have a connection on how to get in contact with the family, and we took it as a sign that they are perhaps ready to hear the gospel. It was awesome!
I feel like little kids are always happy to see us when walking around, tracting, or on the bus, but then their parents are like "No." All angry and stubborn and grumpy. Sort of rings true to that scripture where Jesus says we must be as little children, submissive, meek, humble, etc. I wish the parents were always as innocent and receptive as their kids!
Anyway, that was my week. Hope this one is full of magic and surprises for all of us, wherever we may be.
Elder Burt

Traci's baptism