My new companion is Elder Spencer Ramirez, from Iquitos, Peru! He's been in the mission for about one year. He has great Spanish! His English is pretty good too.
He just got done serving in the Spanish branch in Grand Junction, where I
served on exchanges a couple of times. Also, he started his mission in San
|Elders Ramirez and Rogers--Good Times!|
Anyway, it's been a really good week! On Tuesday I spent all day in one of the wards in Denver with a German Elder and a Polynesian Elder who were also waiting for their companions to come over the mountain. It was pretty cool! Wednesday was my first day with Elder Ramirez, and we had tons of success in Leadville! We were able to find two new investigators and put them on date for baptism, among some other good lessons that we taught throughout the day.
We were also able to teach Destiny again on Thursday. She didn't read the Book of Mormon in six hours. She only read the first four chapters. But that's awesome! Seriously, no one reads the Book of Mormon, and that's why they don't get baptized. So I still have lots of hope for Destiny, and we set a baptismal date with her as well. Throughout the week we taught a couple of other people, but didn't have another stellar day until we went back to Leadville on Saturday.
Actually, our day in Leadville had bookend lessons in Silverthorne! One was to a Mexican lady named Guadalupe, and the other to a man named Troy. Both lessons were pretty good, and we'll see if these people want to progress or not in the future. We've had lots of opportunities this week to share the message of the Restoration in its fullness with people, and many have felt the Spirit and absorbed what we taught. One of the biggest problems we're facing right now is people coming to church. We have five people with a baptismal date right now, but not a single one of them will be able to be baptized if they don't come to church. Especially the people in Leadville. One man, Saul, was really interested in the Restoration and agreed to be baptized. But he currently attends a church in Leadville, and our ward building is all the way in Frisco, a thirty-minute drive. There used to be a church building and a branch in Leadville. In fact, it used to be the center of the branch up here in the mountains. But just a few years ago they shut down the branch (absorbed it into the Frisco ward) and demolished the little chapel. Thinking about it now, it would be awesome to have a chapel in Leadville. I honestly think we could build a good branch there; that there's a lot of people who would join the church if we could have a separate sacrament meeting in Spanish in Leadville on Sunday evenings. They used to do a Spanish sacrament meeting in Frisco Sunday evenings, until lots of the Hispanic families moved out of the ward. But alas, it must not be the will of the Lord at this time.
I think one principle this really strongly demonstrates is sacrifice. I'll relate a story I heard by word of mouth, so don't take it for fact, just take it for principle: There was once a man who was a leader in the Church, a general authority. He was approached by a man who asked this member if he really believed the Book of Mormon was true. He said, "Yes, I know it's true." The man proceeded to pull out a copy of the Book of Mormon and turn to a specific verse, pointing out a grammatical error. This critic explained the error, then asked the member if he agreed that it was, in fact, a true error. The member responded that it was, in fact, a grammatical error. "So," the man said, "you still believe this Book is inspired of God?" The member responded that he did. "Don't you think God is capable of using correct grammar?" Then the member responded, "He is. I think he put that there on purpose." The man asked why on earth God would purposely make a grammatical mistake. "I think He did it to keep you out of His Church." The man was shocked. "What? Wouldn't God want me to be in His Church?"
"No; not if can you take a work as sacred as the Book of Mormon, which contains the teachings of Jesus Christ and the fullness of His gospel, and justify discrediting it for a single grammatical error. A person like that doesn't have the kind of faith the Lord requires, and I don't think He would want someone like that in His Church."
Now of course the Lord wants all people to repent, accept the ordinances of the gospel, and enjoy the blessings of membership in His Church. But I relate it to the current situation that I see here in the Frisco ward. If the people in Leadville aren't willing to come to church; if they're able to discredit the Book of Mormon, the Restoration, and the reality of a living prophet because of a thirty-minute drive, perhaps they need to develop their faith a little before they're ready to make sacred covenants. And that's where we come in! That's what we tell people: "We're here to help you. We know you can be ready if you will keep the commitments we extend to you. If you're not ready to be baptized on your date, don't worry. We will continue to help you until you are confident." The things that we as missionaries ask people to do is to build their faith! And that until they believe sufficiently that they are prepared to make the covenant of baptism, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and continually press forward, building their faith in Christ throughout their lives.
I am confident that that is also the objective when we are asked to do something by any of the Lord's servants. With General Conference this weekend, I hope you'll take to heart the counsel and direction of the Lord's living Prophets and Apostles. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet and representative on the earth today! Make this Conference a life-changing one!
A thought from Mom:
“Our Savior lives again. The most glorious, comforting, and reassuring of all events of human history has taken place—the victory over death.
“The empty tomb that first Easter morning was the answer to Job’s question, ‘If a man die, shall he live again?’ To all within the sound of my voice, I declare, if a man die, he shall live again.
“My beloved brothers and sisters…we can receive profound peace from the words of the angel that first Easter morning: ‘He is not here: for He is risen.’”
~President Thomas S. Monson