Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Work of Salvation

I imagine that it's that time of year over there where the fireplace is on and the family is gathered around in the living room, fighting over the white Christmas blanket hiding from the winter chill. However, just in case you're wondering, it's 86 degrees right now in this Island Paradise. 

Well this week has been another great week. It's been ridiculously busy with transfers. We were running non-stop trying to get everything ready for the big day.  Just to give you an idea at what we have to deal with when it comes to transfers, I’ll tell you a quick experience we had the other night. It was Tuesday night and we had to drive the going home missionaries to their hotel room. We just concluded the testimony meeting and it was about 9:15 PM. We loaded everybody in the car and raced off through the dark streets of Manila. Unfortunately, the city never sleeps so there was still stop and go traffic at that hour. We ended up making it to the hotel around 10:30 or so, dropped everyone off and then embarked on a great journey to return two sisters to each of their areas which are on opposite sides of the mission. We finally arrived home at around 1 am and jumped into bed to get as much sleep as we could. It felt like minutes later our alarm was going off at 5 am informing us that it was the day of transfers and time to get ready to head to the MTC to pick up all of the new missionaries. We tackled the busiest day of the transfer on 4 hours of sleep. The enabling power of the atonement is real. 

So one might think that after a week of miracles like last week, there's no way that this week could ever compare. I, myself, thought that at the beginning of the week. However, the Lord proved me wrong. Thursday, the day after transfers, our bishop from the international ward sent us a text saying, "Noah, a young men in our ward boundaries, has requested to be baptized. He has been going to seminary and has numerous friends from the ward. The Bremner family has agreed to open their house to allow you to teach Noah there. The lord is answering our prayers. Act quickly." Oh my gosh. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. Again, I had to restrain myself from shouting for joy and "dougie"ing on the nearest table. I've learned some very valuable lessons from the experiences I’ve had in the past couple weeks about how to hasten the work of salvation in a ward. I truly believe that the success is coming to our ward because our ward council is directing missionary work and they are utilizing the full time missionaries, not the other way around. I'd like to share an experience we had the other day in a ward council meeting and then point out some important principles about the work of salvation found in the text I received from our bishop. It all started at a ward council meeting led by our bishop about missionary work in our ward. He shared a spiritual thought and then set a goal for the number of baptisms by the end of the year. He then encouraged everyone in the ward council to continually pray for this goal and seek opportunities to reach it. The standard had been set. Action then soon followed. The combined prayers from the members and us were immediately answered. Things just started to fall into place with investigators that we're currently teaching. Concerns just started to melt away. Baptism, which once seemed like a long term goal, became feasible in December. Now for the text from our bishop. The first thing to point out is the invitation from a member to join seminary. The next point is the fellowshipping efforts made by the youth enrolled in seminary and the parents of those students. Third, a member volunteered their home as a place of teaching. (Not only that, but they lived their lives and directed their home in a way to make their it a place where the spirit could reside amplifying the teaching experience). Fourth, an invitation to act quickly and accountability. We were able to teach Noah on Saturday and it was one of the most uplifting experiences of my mission. The Bremner family (which includes their son, Noah's classmate in seminary) was present and were ready to share/teach anything they were asked to. As full time missionaries, we led the discussion, but as often as we could, gave this wonderful family the opportunity to share. Right after our lesson, Noah and Connet (the son) left to a ward activity. He came to church on Sunday, had an amazing experience and is excited to be baptized on the 13th of December. The Lord pours out blessings when members and missionaries come together. There is no greater work than this. 

I sure do love this great work. I could not be serving in a better place. The Philippines Manila Mission is exactly where I’m supposed to be. The Lord truly does know his sheep. 

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