So, the one photo I have there of us four missionaries was my district from last change! There`s Elder Lindsay, Elder Christensen (the bigger one) Elder Naranjo, and Me! That was outside of the chapel in la Union where we went for P-Day. I just wanted to make sure you were able to see them at least! Also, there`s a picture of Elder Mattias! Yeah, his first name really is elder! He`s crazy! Just wanted to send you a pic of my new little bro at the Pension. :) I`ll tell you more about him later.
So on Tuesday we had our transfers, but of course Elder Naranjo and I still have another one to go together! However, President Chipman invited us to go so that we could listen to him give his farewells as well as some gifts! He gave an amazing talk, along with Hermana Chipman. President talked about how when President Rowley gets here, we need to support him 100 percent because he`ll be the one with the priesthood keys. He`s so right. When I was sitting there listening, I realized that the reason I have loved President Chipman so much is because he`s been able to communicate to me what the Holy Ghost has told him. He`s told me exactly what I`ve needed to here in the moment I needed to hear it. That`s because he is a worthy preisthood holder that holds the keys to this mission. I know that President Rowley will be the same way. I just need to follow what he says, and things will definitely be great!
Hermana Chipman also bore a super powerful testimony, something that just was simply incredible. She talked about how we are all the army of God, and how we have angels that are supporting us. I know that to be true, I have felt so much support here, it`s incredible. Times have not always been easy, and there`s no way I could tell you all of the things that have happened, good or bad, but I know that God is helping each and every one of us in innumerable ways.
The next thing that I wanted to tell you about is Isolina Saavedra! We ran into her a week ago as we walked down her street and she called out to us. We ended up teaching the first lesson, and we were able to go back this week and give her the book of Mormon. She seemed really interested in it. When we went back this Saturday, I had one of those just amazing spiritual moments.
We taught her the Plan of Salvation, but we tried to focus more on the Book of Mormon in the process. We read more than we actually taught her, and she just seemed to understand. At the end of the lesson, we asked if she had been reading on her own and she suprised us by saying she had read the chapter we had left two times already! She began to cry as she related what a difference it was already making in her life.
Isolina is living with her second husband, but they`re not married yet. She told us that he doesn`t mind if she listens, but he`s not really looking for religion. He seems great, and she doesn`t complain about him much. However, in this lesson she told us that before she started receiving us, they use to fight every single morning at breakfast. He would end up leaving for work in the middle of the fight, and that`s just the way it was. Well, since she began listening to us, she`s felt the difference in her home. She said that when she started reading the Book of Mormon, that`s when she really saw it.
Now that she`s reading, she says she feels some sort of peace in her house. She said the other day her husband and she were able to sit down together and just read the newspaper, something that never happened before. She also said that on Wednesday, they had breakfast together with their little girl. They were able to sit down together and eat what little food they had, and were even able to laugh together before he had to go to work. She said that as he left, he turned and looked at her and just said that something was different, that things were changing in their house.
Of course all of this was said as she was crying. I felt the spirit so strong witnessing to me that this was due to the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost that always accompanies us as we read.
I also had quite a different experience this week with a less active member. We were told where she lived by other members, so we decided to give her a visit. Normally when we find a less active, they immediately let us in. Well, Victoria didn`t seem to want to let us in at first. She just kind of sat there in the window until we finally asked if we could come in. She agreed, so we entered.
At first, it was just like the room was full of lead. I could tell that something wasn`t right with her. We tried small talk, but it wasn`t getting very far. Finally we got talking a little more and she lightened up a little and even began smiling. Then she asked who had sent us. I replied that no one had sent us, they just told us she was a member so we decided to give her a visit. She then explained she had been less active for years because of her doubts.
She began relating how her husband is Catholic, and never did get baptised. For a while, the missionaries were teaching him and he almost got baptised, but then they moved. Now he`s left her with her three kids and they`re living on their own. However, she`s still left with the doubts her husband and her husband`s family have placed in her. She said she doesn`t believe in the Book of Mormon. She doesn`t believe in Joseph Smith, and she can`t go to church because she can`t listen to people say that this is the true church.
I could see in her very eyes that it was painful to tell us these things. I asked her why she decided to get baptised years ago and she told me it was because of the atmosphere in the church. I then felt the spirit tell me that I should ask her if she had ever read and prayed about the Book of Mormon, so I did. She said no. That was the moment that I knew why she didn`t have a testimony, it`s because she had never asked, and had never read the book of Mormon.
From those two experiences, and from my own personal experience, I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon has a power that cannot be found in any other work. If we could read just a few verses every single day, we would have the peace that Isolina is just beginning to find in her home. If we are afraid that we don`t have a testimony of the church, we need to read and pray. If we are struggling with our testimony of our Saviour Jesus Christ, we need to read and pray.
It`s so simply, reading and praying. I think that a lot of people forget to do it, or just think that it doesn`t make a huge difference. I`m here to tell you that it DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. It makes a huge difference. So turn off the TV. Stop reading `Hunger Games` or `Harry Potter` or whatever new books are out...and pick up the Book of Mormon. Read. Then pray to know if it`s true. If you`ve already done it, do it again. Heavenly Father can answer any question we have if we will just read and pray. That`s the power of personal revelation.
I love you all, I hope all is well, and hope that you`ll do the simple things so that the harder things won`t be so hard!