November 28, 2016
12 new investigators + 5 baptismal dates + the Book of Mormon= 1 very happy Sister Pyper
Oh my goodness what a great week! At zone training a few weeks ago, someone gave an instruction on planning to baptize. They talked about how President wants us to set three-month goals and ask the Lord how many baptisms we can have each month for the next three months and then from that figure out transfer/weekly/daily goals. Sister Ruske and I did that and felt that Heavenly Father would help us have 2 baptisms in both December and January. In general, in this mission, 32 new investigators translates to 1 baptism. So in order for us to have 2, we need to find 64 new investigators. We did the math and figured out that we needed to find 10 a week in order to do that. After prayer and some discussion, we came up with what we felt the Lord wanted us to do in order to find those 10 people every week. We have been trying our hardest to do what we told Him we would do and He has definitely been holding up His end of the covenant! This past week we found 12 new investigators, 5 of them in one day! We had set a goal during weekly planning to have 3 investigators with a baptismal date and we ended with 5! The work is really progressing here and I am so excited to see what continues to happen!
Okay, one of the investigators we found was Eric. He is so amazing! Sister Burkholder and I had met him and we have been trying to get back in touch with him recently. The first time we met him we talked about the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy. He has an extensive knowledge of the Bible and has some....unique...ideas about some of the things it talks about. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and committed him to start reading and praying about it. We went on exchanges this week and had stopped by while we were in the neighborhood. He was sick but told us to come back later in the week, he had some questions about the Book of Mormon. So we show up for our appointment on Friday and had a member with us. In all honesty, the lesson started out terribly. Eric and the member are both very strong-willed and opinionated. Not in a bad way, they just both refuse to back down from what they believe is right. So this member and Eric were starting to argue and be a little contentious. I did not feel the Spirit and I was starting to get frustrated myself. I was trying to kindly interrupt and get back on track when Eric's sister spoke up and asked what made our church different than Christian churches. That was the perfect opportunity for me to bear my testimony. I had no doubt that the Spirit prompted her to ask that question because it turned the entire lesson around. I bore my testimony that we are in fact Christian, that everything we believe is centered on Jesus Christ. I was able to bear my testimony of the reality of a living, modern-day prophet and of the Book of Mormon. As I bore my testimony I felt the Spirit come back into the room. I can't take any credit at all for that, it was all the Spirit. Our member told us in the car after the lesson that she had felt prompted to pray to know what to say or when to keep her mouth shut. That is honestly the best thing she could have done! She was such a great contribution! She bore her testimony to Eric and his family and was able to relate to him in ways we couldn't. After I bore my testimony, the Spirit was there for the rest of the lesson and it was incredible! There was no more anger or contention, only calm and peace. Eric's heart was completely softened and he said that he had no problem reading the Book of Mormon, that he knew it was about Jesus Christ. I think the biggest lessons I learned from this lesson were the power of bearing testimony and the importance of prayer. It was bearing testimony that brought the Spirit back and prayer that helped us all know what to say. Thanks to our member's prayer, we are all now reading Genesis and have until Friday to finish. She apparently felt impressed to challenge Eric that if he would read 1 Nephi by the time we came back, we would read Genesis and talk about it. Sister Ruske invited them all to baptism and they all said yes!
Other amazing investigators we found this week (running our of time, so I'll just tell y'all a tiny bit about them and fill you in more later)
Sarah: We met her Saturday night and she came to church the next day! And stayed for all 3 hours!
Melanie: Let us right in, knew that it wasn't an accident that we met her.
Mina: Saw us walking and asked us who we were. We taught the Restoration and she is willing to do what we commit her to!
We went on exchanges and the Hermana I was with prayed (in Spanish) that we would find 2 new investigators as we tracted in the evening. Well, we did find 2 new investigators, but they spoke Spanish so the Hermanas got them. If only we had prayed in English :)
This past week has really strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I haven't ever really doubted the Book of Mormon, but recently I have gained a deeper appreciation for it. I know that anyone who sincerely reads it and prays to know if it is true will receive a witness from the Holy Ghost that it is the word of God. I have done that, multiple times, and the answer is always the same. The Book of Mormon is true. Joseph Smith was called by God to be a prophet. The authority to baptize and perform other saving ordinances was restored through him. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's church. Jesus Christ really lived and died and was resurrected. He is truly the Savior of the world. I know all of that because of the Book of Mormon. I can't imagine my life without the truth found in the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father prepared and preserved another record of scripture so that we could have the fullness of His gospel.
OH! Daily gratitude
Nov 21- socks. We tracted in the evening and I was so glad to be wearing boots and warm socks.
Nov 22- the tiny bit of Spanish I know (just enough to tell people that there are other missionaries that actually speak Spanish). We run into enough people who speak Spanish that any little bit helps.
Nov 23- my planner. Seriously, this little planner is my brain. I would be so lost without it and I would forget everything
Nov 24- The Book of Mormon. How grateful I am to have this additional witness of the Savior and the truth contained in its 531 pages.
Nov 25- Members of the ward. This is the day we had that lesson with Eric.
Nov 26- Members of the ward pt 2, specifically the bishop. He is so concerned about us and the people we teach, he always wants to make sure he is doing what is right and helping them progress.
Nov 27- Tiny miracles. One of our recent converts had an argument with their family a couple weeks ago and then vanished. No one had been able to reach them for about a week and then they walk into church like nothing happened. That was such a relief!!!