Well hello everyone back in the states!!!
Hard to believe that this week has already gone by! I can`t believe that things have already gone by! This week was a challenge for us, but we worked hard, and that`s really what matters. I feel like God is finally answering my prayers with the challenge that I asked for. I felt the spirit witness that to me on Sunday. I know that if I can continue to follow His councel and guidance, I will be able to overcome any challenge that I have and be able to have an unshakable faith in our Heavenly Father that will bless my life and the life of others forever.
So this week I had quite a few really good experiences, as well as some not so good. The first one is Hermana Magnali. We have taught her a few times, and when I challenged her to be baptized the first time, she completely shut me down. She accepted that when she knew that things were right, she`d be baptized, but was NOT willing to set a date at all. I left that lesson just praying that God would be able to touch her heart and change her mind. We had given her a Book of Mormon, but she hadn`t read. This week we visited her with Yanis, one of the young men in the ward preparing to go on a mission. The lesson didn`t go great, but something must have got through, because she read!
When we got to the next lesson, I could see that something was on her mind. At first, I thought that something had happened in the family, or something bad had happened. I began questioning her, but that just wasn`t it. Finally, I asked the question we ask in every lesson: did you pray? Did you read the Book of Mormon? She answered yes...and in that moment I knew she had felt something. I asked her what she thought, and she said she had only read three verses, 2 Nephi 2:11-13, but she had felt something she had never felt before. She said that it was some kind of relief, a peace of heart that she simply hadn`t ever experienced. After reading, she said she prayed as well.
Can I just say, God answers prayers. I have been praying for a long time that she would read and feel the spirit. She did! Unfortunately, her husband got home exactly at that moment so the lesson got a little off track and we weren`t able to really have a conversation about what had happened, but I know that God is answering our prayers, and I hope that she will continue to read and feel that same spirit, the spirit that each of us can feel as we read and are obedient.
The second experience I wanted to tell you about wasn`t the most pleasant of my mission. We were walking one day when a motorcycle stopped and Cristian introduced himself. He said he had met a member and wanted to know more. He began talking about how there are a bunch of religions that believe in the Bible but don`t practice what`s in their. Initially, I got excited thinking that he had been prepared to receive the restored gospel by reading and understanding the scriptures. We set up a lesson, and came back on Saturday. However, my initial impression really couldn`t have been furthur from the truth.
When we got to his house, it was dark. That was the first time I felt the spirit telling me that we really shouldn`t go in to teach him. We began talking in the doorway and I just didn`t have a great feeling. So, I asked if we could go in and turn on a light, thinking that he didn`t have a light in his front porch and that we`d just set up another appointment. Well, turns out that we did go on. It also turned out to be a sort of ambush. Cristian had set up a meeting so that his teacher from the Jehovah`s Witnesses could come and we would have a `debate.`
Once in...I didn`t feel like we could immediately leave, so I said a silent prayer asking for God`s help. Before we started, I stated the fact that we were there to share what we knew from personal experience, and we weren`t there to dispute. Then we said the first prayer...and the first issue came up. Of course the teacher asked me why I didn`t call God Jehovah. He wouldn`t allow us to move on without explaining `where in the Bible does it say that.` Well, I knew of Isaiah 53, how it explains very clearly that Jesus Christ is Jehovah. We shared that with him, and I could tell he got it, but just moved on to another point to try to battle our doctrine. Thus went the `lesson.`
In the end, they didn`t accept what the Bible teaches: that God calls prophets, that He communicates with His children through revelation, and that there is such thing as divine authority here on Earth. I felt really sad to feel, see, and hear how their hearts and become completely hardened. I invited them to pray to know if what we were saying is true, even pleaded with them to do so. I know that God would help them to see the light if they would let Him.
I think Dad said it right in this email...we believe in experiencing the gospel. Those two men believed in knowing the Bible intellectually. I, however, learn from the Bible how to experience the love of God in my life and how to spread it. I know that God speaks to men through personal experience. I know what a prophet is because I have listened to one. I know what the authority of God on Earth feels like because I have been baptised by someone who holds that authority, and have even been blessed by the opportunity to excersize that authority myself. I believe that Christ lives. I believe that He continues acting among the children of men, and that it did not cease after the Bible was written.
One thing that came to mind during the lesson is that the Bible could be likened to a letter from God. It`s His will, right? He wants us to know His will. However, Dad sent me a letter this week. Does that mean that he know longer wants to communicate with me? No. One letter and that`s it? No. There is such thing as a telephone, and there is such thing as not being able to write everything in one email, one book, or even hundreds of books. There is more.
Love you all, have to go!Elder Schofield