Monday, November 24, 2014

Grateful To Be A Part of This Work

This week was really good!  Actually it was really hard... but in the end it was really good!   You could say that I hit a pretty rough patch where Satan was working pretty hard on me... but then the Lord blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of two awesome lessons that remind me of why I'm out here. 
#1 Abel
Elder Holman, since he's all big, fancy, and District Leader-y, had a meeting in Omaha that he had to go to for the day, so I got to hang out with the Lincoln Spanish Elders, Elder Garff and Elder Pearson.  They had planned to go and visit a less-active man named Abel and his family.  Apparently a while ago, Abel had asked the Elders not to stop by for a little bit, but after 4 months of waiting, they felt prompted to go back.  WE show up and Abel lets us right in and invites us to sit down.  It was super awkward for a little bit since Abel wasn't saying much and would answer our questions with one word answers like,"si" or "no".  Hard to have a conversation like that.  Elder Garff didn't really know him much and I've never met him so we were asking him questions like "Where are you from?"  or "How long have you been a member of the Church?" when all of a sudden he cut us off and said, "Ok I know what you're really asking.  You want to know why I'm not active in the church."  Elder Garff and I were stunned (Elder Pearson's still pretty new and doesn't understand a lot of Spanish yet so he saw we were shocked and was even more confused).  That was what we were wondering actually!  HE starts telling us the normal excuse of "well I want to go but every time I think about going to church something comes up and I just can't."  We shared with him 1 Nephi 3:7 in the Book of Mormon that says
"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for Iknow that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they mayaccomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
Elder Garff bore testimony that God has given us the commandment to come together and to sanctify the Sabbath Day.  He'll always provide a way for us to keep His commandments, we just have to be willing to make sacrifices for the blessings sometimes.  While I was halfway through testifying that what Elder Garff had said was true, Abel cut me off again and said, "This week we have a family thing and we'll be out of town but next week and every week after that I PROMISE you I'll be there.  With the words of a man I promise I will be there. Thank you so much for not giving up on me.  You don't know what this means to me."  
Once again, we were shocked.  The Spirit touched him all of a sudden and he knew what he had to do.  It was powerful and amazing to see and be a part of.  I guess they liked us as people too since they fed us some absolutely amazing Honduran tamales afterwards as well!  We walked away incredibly grateful for the blessing of bringing the Spirit into that home.

#2 Fernando and Veronica
We've been meeting with Fernando for a LONG time and helping him to gain an even stronger testimony than he already had, but his wife has never been interested.  Everytime we've gone over, she's always grabbed the cat and hid in the other room until we left.  A couple of weeks ago however, after teaching Fernando about Priesthood blessings, he requested that we give one to his wife, Veronica, who was about to go in for surgery, and after that she's really been interested. (side note:The surgery went great.  The Priesthood is real).  This week was the first time we met with Fernando and Veronica together.  We listened to President Monson's Oct 2014 talk "Ponder the Path of Thy Feet" and were able to talk about Prophets and Priesthood Authority.  After asking a question about where the Prophet lived, we said Salt Lake Utah and pulled out the only picture of Salt Lake that we have: The Temple.  This led into a discussion about temples and families being sealed together for time and all eternity.  That's when Veronica asked what I believe was a very inspired question.  She said, "What do we have to do to have that?"  
"Well the first step towards that would be being baptized." We responded.
"I'd like to be baptized." She replied.
"Me too," said Fernando.
Instant smiles came on Elder Holman's and my faces.  From there on, we told them the steps to get there and we set them for the 3rd of January.  Watching the Spirit work in them and helping them to see their divine potential was an experience I will never forget.  The Spirit's been working on them for a long time and I'm excited to see where this goes.
I love this work.  I love the joy that I receive by diving into service head first.  Are there hard times? You better believe it.  I had one this week.  But the Lord makes every struggle, every doubt, every disappointment totally worth it when He reminds us that He's watching out for us and is completely involved in His work. None of that hard stuff is even comparable to the joy that comes from seeing the Spirit work on people.  I'm so glad I still have as long as I do left in the mission field.  I wouldn't change these opportunities for the world.

I love you all!  I hope you have a fantastic week!
Lots of Love,
Elder Zack

And have a very happy turkey day!

Also!  Tomorrow the Church is launching a new, Christmas Centered Website.  Since I'll be inviting people all over Crete to check it out, I'd like to invite you as well!  
Check out!  It's supposed to be super cool!

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