Oh, by the way, surprise! I have pday today! haha. In my last letter I said I wouldn't, but then President changed his mind so that we could get some last-minute shopping done and cut our hair before our conference on Friday. This is going to be quite the crazy week. We have four baptismal interviews to do on Tuesday in varias nearby towns (best types of problems to solve) and then Friday is our last mission conference. I have just three full days of intense work to make it the best week ever, and then we'll have a baptism Saturday afternoon and I have to start my travels up north immediately afterwards. I'm soooooo excited and grateful that the Lord has blessed us soooo much that I'll be able to end my mission with a baptism!
Alejandra is the girlfriend of an inactive member, Marcos, who strongly opposed his participation in the Church when he was baptized two years ago. However, after his brother was killed, the missionaries gave a blessing of peace to them and their home, and she's done a 180 degree change. The both of them have progressed soooo well because they ALWAYS read the Book of Mormon every day, they always read the pamphlets we leave them, and they have attended church each week. They get married this Wednesday and she'll be baptized for the remission of her sins Saturday so that she'll be worthy to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying of hands on Sunday. What a wonderful opportunity to know about and participate in such sacred ordinances of Christ's plan of our salvation and eternal happiness. Wahooo!!! :D
Speaking of the importance of the Book of Mormon, this week my testimony of it's power was renewed. We entered into the house of a young mother and father (each only 20 yrs old) and their three young children and began discussing about the gospel. As Evangelicals, their entire focus of everything is the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of God. Actually, they told us that earlier that afternoon in their church service, three or four people were ''baptized by the Spirit and spoke in languages.'' They taught us about the Pentecost and the importance of speaking in languages to prove that someone has received the Spirit. We had a rather long and non-progressive discussion as we shared scriptures like Acts 19 to try to help them understand the difference between feeling the Spirit and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the importance of the ordinance as Christ's chosen Apostles teach it. The young father didn't let us talk much, and it was frustrating. They struggled to understand (and frankly didn't want to), and I didn't know what else to do. While I silently prayed, I felt very strongly to simply explain and testify about the Book of Mormon.
I pulled out a copy, explained the importance of the restored scriptures and their extreme usefulness in knowing the correct way to receive the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, and my companion and I testified. The two young parents were completely silent. Captivated. They asked for copies and began to immediately scan the pages. We left them with an assigned chapter to read and with the invitation to pray to ask Heavenly Father of the book's veracity.
Wow was the Spirit strong in that house as we testified about the Book of Mormon. There could be no argument that I knew for myself that that book is completely true and divinely inspired and protected. Heavenly Father is so merciful to allow young teenagers and 20-yr-olds preach His gospel for the salvation and happiness of His children. I'm certainly no expert at doctrine nor even in the Spanish language, thus I am so extremely grateful for God's powerful tool to conversion--the Book of Mormon, which can be read, studied, compared to the Bible, and put to the ultimate test of prayer. I know for myself that this restored gospel of Jesus Christ is true. And I know it because I know that the Book of Mormon is true scripture from our loving Heavenly Father whose sole desire is to prepare us to return to live in His presence and become like Him. What a blessing!
Have a wonderful week! I sure love you. See you next week!
Elder Long :)