Monday, February 13, 2012

Almost the end of January?! (Jan 30)

This has been an interesting week. There was a point this week at which we had zero investigators. It's hard to literally have an empty teaching pool. Sister Osborn and I were pretty down on Thursday night because it felt like nobody in the world wanted to talk to us. More than that, it was sad because some of the people we dropped were people that I knew had felt the Spirit and really could have progressed in the gospel, but chose not to at this time.
I'll just talk about one of the investigators we dropped because it was an interesting experience for me. This man's name is Leonel. We'd been teaching him for about 3 weeks and he really is a special person. We'd invited him to be baptized several times, and he said he wanted to be baptized, but he couldn't accept a baptismal date because he wanted to be sure, and very prepared, before getting baptized. He seemed afraid of committing sins after baptism. He was so afraid that he couldn't accept baptism because he didn't feel like he was ready to be good enough to enter a covenant. This comes from a good man who loves his children and is an excellent father, and who was reading from the Book of Mormon and even taking notes on his reading. I think he knows the Book of Mormon is true, because he trusts it as a source of knowledge from God and understood the importance of baptism by reading the words of Christ. This pattern of discussion--of inviting him to be baptized, and of him telling us that he wants to but not making the necessary changes or accepting the baptismal invitation--had continued for several lessons, and we had to help him make a decision. We taught him on Tuesday night and invited him to pray, make a decision to either prepare for baptism or not meet with us anymore, and then talk to us the next day. I prayed so hard for him that night--that he would pray, and that he would choose to prepare for baptism. We called him the next day, and he told us that he had prayed, but that he didn't feel like he could make the decision to be baptized right now. It's always hard to drop investigators, but saying goodbye to Leonel over the phone was especially hard. It breaks my heart, because I think the thing that stopped him from accepting baptism is one of Satan's greatest lies--that we can't repent and that we aren't good enough to come unto Christ. Leonel will be baptized someday, I know it, but unfortunately we can't continue teaching him. Hopefully in the near future he'll be able to start meeting with missionaries again.
We've been working hard on finding people to teach, which can be frustrating, but the Lord is putting people in our path. It's been one of the most humbling weeks of my mission thus far, but I've learned so much about WHY it's important to share the gospel. This morning as I was reading a conference talk, "The Divine Gift of Repentance," this hit me hard in relation to my responsibility as a missionary to invite others to repent:
I gratefully acknowledge and testify that the incomprehensible suffering, death, and Resurrection of our Lord “bringeth to pass the condition of repentance” (Helaman 14:18). The divine gift of repentance is the key to happiness here and hereafter. In the Savior’s words and in deep humility and love, I invite all to “repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). I know that in accepting this invitation, you will find joy both now and forever.
As I read this talk this morning, I felt and understood the doctrine of repentance in a very different way than I ever have before. What a wonderful gift we have--repentance! What a wonderful thing, a thing that so often we're afraid of or don't use! That was the point of the Savior's sacrifice--to provide a means for us to be able to repent and return to live with our Heavenly Father.

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