Hello to all!
Sometimes in life, there are moments and experiences that change a person forever. Times when the whole world just freezes, and you feel something never felt before. I had one of those experiences this week, that I wanted to share with you all.
Before coming out on the mission, I received in my home ward a talk about two friends in the premortal existence together, waiting for their "calls to earth". One is sent to the US born in the gospel, and the other to Costa Rica, living in poverty without the gospel. They separated at birth, but made promises to find each other again one day. Long story short, they reunite through the one elders mission, and know without a doubt that the Lord played a big part in bringing them back together, with a knowledge of the gospel and salvation in reach. I had always read that story and thought it was cool, but never imagined to have an experience so intimate and real. I have felt the Lord use me as an instrument, and see many great people be baptized, but hadn't yet experienced a "sure knowing" like that.
This last week, we had been teaching one of our great investigators who is 19 and almost got baptized a few years ago, but fell into many doubts and ended up not following. We had been going over some lessons and teaching him and he was progressing well. We met up with him and had a lesson in the church, when he started talking and saying that he had fasted to know the truth, and 3 Nephi 27 together with prayer and faith, brought him to know that the church was true. He was so thankful for us. I asked him what had sparked the changes in his life, and he said that it was since the first day that I had got there, he felt something different, and has been improving in every aspect of his life since we met. I shared with him that story of the 2 friends, and about how Donna Andrews had said that I would get here and find many people, but there would always be that "one" that had been right prepared for me. I shared with him that Donna had recently passed away, but she is looking down smiling, seeing her words come true right before her. We both lost it as the Spirit was tangible there in the chapel. We went on to teach him, and it was one of the best feelings of my life.
This story doesn't end. On Friday night we taught him, everything smooth, and at the end of the lesson, he told me that he "had something he needed to tell me", which I thought was kind of weird, but wasn't a big deal. On Saturday I called him and he was acting way weird, so after some effort, we got him to meet us at his house to talk. We sat down, and at this point I was so nervous, I was expecting some big doubts, because he had told me that some things from his past experiences with the missionaries kept coming to his head. We said a prayer, and before passing him over the time, I felt like I needed to testify of the truthfulness of our message, and even though we might not speak perfectly in Spanish or be able to answer all his questions, that we know that we have been called by a prophet of God, and that our message is true. Then, he started to speak.
He said that he was thinking about some past things, and that he needed to share them. He said that when he was with another old elder, they talked about the story of the man drowning in the water, saying that God will save him. So 3 boats pass by, and he says that he is waiting for God to save him. Then he dies and asked God "why didn't you save me?". And God replies, "what do you mean? I sent you 3 boats!" Fernando had been thinking about that, and realized that 3 years ago, an elder "Gonzalez" had tried teaching him, but he didn't listen. Then, elder number 2 "Morrill", had worked hard too, but wasn't the one to get him. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, "I just realized, you are the 3rd elder, the 3rd boat. I know that God sent you here for the 3rd time to save me before drowning." I couldn't believe my ears. I, expecting a huge doubt, heard probably the best thing I had ever heard in my entire life.
If that wasn't enough, he directly follows that story up with another dream or vision or realization...whatever you want to call it... that he had also had in that past time period. He saw Elder Morrill (old elder that taught him) in his dream, at Fernando's house. Fernando went out to receive him, when he said that THIS elder (pointing to his companion) would be the elder to bring him to the truth. Back then, he said he looked at him, and distinguished the height, weight, size, stature, etc...but for some reason, couldn't recognize the face, as if it was blank. He had been wondering for all those years who it was. He said that when I, missionary number 3, started teaching him, and after feeling the Spirit manifest it unto him, he received the revelation that I was that elder from his dream. That I had that exact stature, everything. That the Lord had prepared me to be the one to find him. I felt the Spirit confirm that truth unto all of us. I felt pure charity, the pure love of Christ. I know that the Lord has a plan that is so personal and individual that sometimes we don't always understand it. But if we follow his plan with faith, we get to experience first hand the tender mercies of the Lord. I know that the Lord sent me to Paraguay for many reasons, and one of those reasons was to find Fernando. He is progressing well, has attended church 3 weeks in a row, and is preparing to be baptized on this Saturday.
The Lord is really blessing us so much here, I am thankful for the Spirit felt during this week. Keep us in your prayers, its going to be a big but exciting week.
Until next week,