Mon, Feb 25
Dear family and friends,
Well it has been another interesting and eventful week in the mission field. I feel like everyday is filled with something interesting especially when serving in this part of the world. Yesterday we had the baptism of Leb_____and it went very smoothly. We were really trying to encourage him to bear his testimony after his baptism and he told us he would pray about it. Well right before he was baptized I asked him if he wanted to give his testimony and he told me yes. After he was baptized he gave a powerful testimony about the blessings that have come into his life since he met the Elders and how the Book of Mormon is true so he knows the church is true. He is going to be a powerful member and it was really exciting to see him baptized yesterday. It's incredible to see how the gospel can change lives and the role of the Book of Mormon.
This past week we had to be really bold with a few investigators who are becoming "eternal" investigators. This includes a girl who was going to be baptized but has gone back to her old church. I asked her if she knows the Book of Mormon is true, she responded by telling us yes and that she always feels peace when she reads it. I then read from the quote in the Into to the B.O.M. where Joseph Smith tells us the Book of Mormon is the "keystone of our religion." We helped her understand more clearly that everything we teaches hinges on the divinity and authenticity of the Book of Mormon. It's not by coincidence that the Lord brought forth a book at the start of the restoration. If not for the Book of Mormon we would have no claim on authority or divine revelation. We were able to really help some of our investigators understand the role this book plays in their conversion and testimony of what we are teaching. The more I read the Book of Mormon the more I grow to love it. I can't help but pick up this book each and everyday to study its contents. I have learned something new each and every time I read this book and I feel the love of my Heavenly Father each time I pray to know of its truthfulness.
We also had a couple of great lessons this past week in preparing L_____ for his baptism this Sunday. He told me yesterday that the Book of Mormon and the message we have shared with him has completely changed his life. L______ has gone through some difficult family struggles and the loss of many loved ones. He had really lost a lot of hope and he had a lot of questions about our purpose here in life and where we go in the next life. As he has read the Book of Mormon and we taught him the Plan of Salvation we have seen his demeanor change and the hope which has filled his life that he can see his loved ones again. He has always had an incredible faith but has simply been kept from the truth. His conversion story has repeatedly brought the words of D&C 123:12 to my mind: "there are many are earth...kept from the truth because they know not where to find it." He was searching for truth and he found it. I'm going to talk more about how we met Lerato and how the Lord performs miracles if we work hard and have faith.
We were meeting with a recent convert when all of a sudden L_____ walked into the door. He sat down and began discussing with us. After talking with him for about 30 minutes, we realized he had all of the right questions but lacked answers. Within a few days we taught him the restoration and we could see his eyes being opened as we handed him the Book of Mormon. From there the rest is history and the moment he began reading the Book of Mormon he was converted. The incredible part is the reason I believe we met him is because my companion and I had been fasting that the Lord would help us find priesthood holders to help strengthen this branch. Within days L______ "coincidentally" walked right into one of our lessons. Now many would say it was by chance that we met L_____ but I can tell you without a shadow of doubt in my mind that the Lord was preparing this man. The branch needs someone like L____ because they are seriously lacking for leadership, knowledge of the gospel and priesthood. L______ has a lot of potential to strengthen this branch and be a powerful member in the church. The Lord is preparing people, in order for us to be led to these people we must be obedient, work hard and have the faith that the Lord will lead us to them. It will be a great week next week as Lerato will be baptized and take that next step forward towards living with our Father in Heaven once more and doing temple work for his loved ones who have passed on.
I love all of you and wish you the best from Phuthaditjhaba, South Africa!