Another week has come and gone in the blink of an eye, I can't believe it's almost Christmas! Last year for Christmas it was a bit crazy because this is when everyone starts having their parties (which always involves alcohol). Last year for Christmas we went around in our area and did Christmas caroling for the members and investigators, we are planning on doing the same thing here. We will be caroling in 3 different areas within our district on the 23rd, 24th and 25th. Christmas time is often a difficult time to proselyte because everyone is busy so we are trying to use our time wisely. Everything has been kind of hectic this past week with the passing on Nelson Mandela and his funeral yesterday, that man is an icon and is seen as the father of this country. Everyone is in a state of mourning and coping with his passing.
This past week has had some challenges we have had to overcome but we are still doing our best to prepare our investigators for baptism. We taught D__ the word of wisdom, he really wants to stop smoking but he is highly addicted and it's not easy. On Thursday we gave him the stop smoking program and the next day we purchased all of the various materials he needs to stop smoking. He has a strong desire to quit but we are worried that he relapsed and is now scared to meet with us because our appointment fell through with him on Saturday (he has never missed an appointment). Then he didn't show up to church yesterday after coming to church for 6 weeks straight, we continue to keep him in our prayers and we hope to meet up with him again to encourage him. There is a deadly cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime within this country that only the gospel of Jesus Christ can help stop. I have seen miracles occur with the word of wisdom and I am praying with all my heart we will see another one here.
We failed to meet with Sister S___ this past week because she has been so busy with work. She still has a strong desire to be baptized and she will be ready if we can just meet with her! We are postponing her baptism to the 29th of December, her work schedule is lightening up this week so we hope to finish teaching her the rest of the commandments before her scheduled interview. She continues to face opposition from her family (aunts and grandmother) but she is 26 years old so she can make decisions for herself and she knows that salvation is individual so she continues to press forward. She is a powerful sister, I have had some of the most powerful lessons on my mission while teaching this sister. She has endured much in her life to this point and it has been incredible to see the difference the restored gospel has made.
This past week we also continued to meet with Brother S who is preparing for baptism on the 29th as well. He is progressing GREAT as he is willing to forsake all of his previous transgressions and keep the commandments we have taught him. He had to make some challenging decisions in order to prepare himself for baptism, I'm very grateful he has had the courage to pull through and make the decisions needed to be ready. He was for sure going to be ready for the 29th but he told us yesterday he has to leave for the next week for a temporary job so we'll have to postpone his baptism into January.
My companion and I are working great together, I have never felt this much unity in a companionship on my mission (That's saying a lot because I've had amazing companions). We have been doing a lot of finding this past week to try and find more potential priesthood holders. The Lord has led us to multiple potential Melchizedek priesthood holders, we really see some potential in a couple of them and we hope to see it continue. I'll relate a story from this past week with a father that we found.
After one of our appointments fell through we decided to go and do some tracting; as we were driving around for a few minutes I felt impressed to stop on the side of the road along a particular street. We prayed before getting out, then as we got out of the car my companion pointed to a house down the street and said: "We're going there!" We knocked on the door and found a father sitting on the couch watching television, he invited us in and we began to talk. After explaining our purpose he told us all of the difficulties he has been facing the past few months (It always amazes me how people are so open with us). He had been in a rollover accident with his wife in August, his wife was killed but he survived, then only a month later his mother died in the hospital. He is living alone with his son and told us he has lost all hope in life, he doesn't see the purpose anymore. He told us he had been praying only minutes before we walked in the door for an answer! Wow... The Lord led us directly to him in answer to his humble prayer. We explained some of the plan of salvation to him and set up a return appointment, upon our return he had read the entire pamphlet and had a lot of questions! We'll be seeing him again this week and we hope he'll continue to receive those answers.
This next week is going to be quite busy with the holiday season, I only hope that all of us can remember the true meaning of Christmas as President Monson always says. It is a time to reflect upon the birth of the Savior of the world, it is a time for giving and serving those around us. I always love this time of year because it helps me to remember how much I have been blessed with in my life! I know God lives and that He sent His only begotten son into the world, I feel his redeeming love each day in my life as I strive with all my heart to come unto him.