Wow! I would like to share one of the prettiest experiences of my mission which happened today. I woke up feeling like a champ overcoming my sickness and we went to church. Arrived early for the Ward planning meeting and after saw a baptism of a man that had attended our Ward 3-4 times, but even that joy does not compare with what I’m going to share. Standing in the foyer of the church greeting people as they came in a sister that I had known for this whole two and a half months here greeted me and asked me where I was from… (thinking yeah I’ve told you, when we have talked before… and when she’s given us rides) … I told her Utah “yeah I know but what part!” Sandy. She responded “you know your dad is the missionary that baptized me? He gave me the opportunity to be baptized in the true church. Still not putting the name with what my dad has always said, and doubting a little I asked her where she was baptized? “Torreón” After came into my head the countless times my father had talked about his favorite convert. Hermana Juana. I remembered that she had been to our house in 2000 but never expected to see her here.
I think it put me in shock cause I didn’t feel anything, I didn’t think anything, and then I sat down getting ready for sacrament to begin. After really thinking about it, I pondered the many lives Hermana Juana has blessed in this area, this Ward, the missionaries, and the people she has taught who have come unto the gospel because of her. I thought of all the people she has influenced for good, and for the Lord. The countless missionaries she has served, made laugh, and what good has come out of her family that are members.
I began to cry, thinking of the influence of one man, and that man happened to be my father. What joy, pride, and spirit filled my everything? It brought memories of my dad and the love I have for him. And how in unknown ways, this work that I am doing now, may affect my children, but will definitely affect hundreds of people in the future. Just as my dad’s work has done.
In a time fairly depressing for me, a time without baptisms, hardships with my companion, times without seeing the fruits of your labors, I was able to be filled by something my dad never thought he could´ve done to help me. Thinking of how I could bear my testimony in such a special occasion, and on testimony meeting, I turned to the first words in the Book of Mormon. “I Nephi having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father…” And the importance of having good examples in our lives, especially as parents. As I went up to the stand I felt like everything was going to be alright. Just after that hermana Juana came up and asked if she could go first. And shared her story that I’m sure she’s shared hundreds of times in these short thirty years:
Many missionaries had come to my door, and I always told them I’m close enough to God you can go back to your homes, but after seeing that a poor Elder from the United States couldn’t speak the language, she let them in to teach him a little bit. After a few lessons of Spanish the Elder said “I’ve done what you’ve asked me to do” and began to share what was important to him. Shortly after she was baptized.
Tears filled my eyes as she presented me as the son of that missionary Elder Rhodes. I gave her a hug at the pulpit and she finished her testimony… I knew I wasn’t going to be able to start mine. But with a scratch in my throat I testified of the influence of good parents. I feel favorable blessed of the Lord to have witnessed such a miracle in my life. How the Lord knows the specific times in each one of our lives when we are feeling down, or reasonably unsuccessful, as a missionary, parent… anything…. And responds. I know God lives and know Jesus is the Christ. One story that came to my mind was on honoring a name Phillip said to Jesus in John 14 8-12 “Lord show us thy father and it sufficeth us” and the reply “Believe me that I am in the father, and the father in me or else believe me for the very Works sake. Verily verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the Works that I do, shall he do also” I’m blessed to have the name of my father, and that of my eternal brother on my nametag to remind my of the examples I’ve had, and the example I should put. As that of my father.
It was a great experience to reflect on the tender mercies of the Lord, the blessing of the true gospel, and the effect of one man in the life of many. What an effect one man can have, without knowing of having it. I know the church is true and now am going to put on my father’s list of converts, my name. Thank you dad
I love you.