Happy New Year! Or rather, happy national day of repentance! Where everyone evaluates their lives and makes goals to become better! I love this Holiday! It’s filled with hope and a resolve to change. I can testify that as we make goals with God, we will succeed! Sister Huang and I saw that this week as we witnessed Paul & Lisa Gonzalez and Miguel Erwin get baptized this past Friday and confirmed on New Year’s Day!
Lisa was found by the Sisters while they were tracting this past summer and was prepared to receive the message of the restoration! She was actually found by my MTC companion Sister Hunt! Her husband Paul is in the Navy and gone most of the time in VA and out at sea. The previous sisters never had a chance to teach him, but Lisa wanted to be baptized with Paul and so we met him my first week in Hope Mills, the middle of October. He came back during the hurricane and we were able to start teaching him. After the hurricane he left again and wasn’t coming back until December 23rd, a week before his baptism. We were worried about him learning everything and gaining a testimony, but when he came back and had been living the word of wisdom faithfully we knew he had a pure desire. We taught him the last half of the lessons in a few days and He and Lisa passed their baptismal interview Thursday night and were baptized Friday!
We received a Bible referral for Miguel’s mom, Darlene, in November. When contacting her we found out she was baptized in the church 20 years ago, but had been inactive for about 18 years! After a week or two of meeting with her, she and Miguel started coming to church every week! Just a couple weeks ago we started teaching Miguel! He is 8 years old, and is the brightest kid you’ll ever meet. Darlene and I have really connected and she wanted me to be here for Miguel’s baptism so we sped taught Miguel the lessons and set up an interview with the Bishop because we thought he’d be a child of record baptism. Come to find out during the Bishop’s interview that Miguel isn’t legally adopted although Darlene has had him since he was a baby and he would actually be a convert baptism. It just so happened that we had scheduled the baptismal interview to take place at the same time that Lisa and Paul were getting interviewed by our district leader so he was able to interview Miguel right after, the day before his baptism!
Later Sister Huang and I were talking about how amazing it was that it all worked out the way it did, and that Heavenly Father lined everything up perfectly for us and them! I shared with her that at the beginning of my mission I had tried to set a reasonable goal with God as to what He thought I could accomplish out here and after some prayer I set the goal to baptize at least 1 Person in each of my areas. I did this because I felt that if Heavenly Father sent me to an area, that there had to be a reason, and someone prepared for me to help baptize. Friday, I accomplished Heavenly Father and I accomplished the goal we had set! Sister Huang then told me that she had set a goal in January to baptize 10 people this year. She had had 7 baptisms, but with Lisa, Paul AND Miguel she was able to baptize 10! She also was able to make her goal! I know we were blessed because we really did work our tails off, had righteous desires and the faith to produce this wonderful, beautiful miracle of 3 of God’s children making special, sacred promises with Him!
Well family and friends, this is my last of lasts in the mission field. As I am at the end I am just FILLED with gratitude for the best, most trying, happiest 18+ months of my life! The Atonement of the Savior is something I talk and testify of very often because it is the very event that our happiness and salvation hang on! Something I have come to learn of and gain a testimomy of is what I call the 3’s of the Atonement.
Physical acts of the Atonement:
1 Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemene
2 Christ’s Crucifixion
3 Christ’s Resurrection
Emotional and Spiritual power of the Atonement
1 It cleanses us
2 It consoles and strenghtnes us
3 It perfects us
The Character of God shown through the Atonement
1 Omipotent – All powerful
2 Omniscient – All knowing
3 Omnipresent – All feelling, present in our lives
I testify of the truth and the reality of all of these things. The Savior has rescued and refined my soul through serving this mission. The Atonement did take place thousands of years ago and Christ took upon himself your sins. If you turn to Him He can and will relieve you of the pain of guilt we all have felt from making mistakes. He already has suffered so that the demands of justice don’t have to be felt by us at the judgement day if we choose Him over the world and choose to repent. The Atonement has fully cleansed me, and will continue to do so throughout my life. It has strengthened me and consoled me through feelings of bitterness, emptiness, and sorrow. Because of the power of the Atonement that I have felt sompowerfully out here I know that God knows me better than I know myself. I know that He always blesses me and witholds blessings from me for my eternal benefit. And because I know this is true for me, and that God loves us all so tenderly and individually, I know thisnis the same for you. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ that Christ’s Atonement is infinite. That God’s love is unconditional. And that because of a loving and merciful Father in Heaven and Savior, our potential is limitless.
I love you!
See you soon!
Edgemont folks might recognize this guy – Elder Tyler from Edgemont Ward!
Saying goodbye to Anita and Maleek, the most wonderful people we are teaching.
Shakira Smith in the Ward who I adore