26 August 2013
The absolute highlight of the week was M’s baptism on Saturday morning. Our two lessons with him during the week were uplifting for us all ; he is so eager for all the blessings to come – his ordination to the priesthood, serving in the temple, receiving his patriarchal blessing, and a mountainous gospel library to work his way through. By Saturday he was so nervous and excited that he arrived at the church building nearly an hour early, bless him!
It was a beautiful pool-side service up at Hotel Bankov, with us missionaries, President van D (performing the ordinance), Branch member E, and a young German photographer (a friend of M) present. One of our English students even showed up just as the service was finishing! Just in time to give us a lift home: “So that’s why the Lord sent me here!” she said. M said afterward that he felt absolutely “exhilarated”, and yesterday he practically glowed after his confirmation. He is a miracle and will move mountains here in Slovakia, I’m sure. 🙂
And another sweet miracle this week: Zu, a young mother with a daughter aged 4, has shown little commitment to reading the Book of Mormon, and we were beginning to wonder if there was any point in continuing to meet with her for discussions. Then she surprised us by coming with her daughter to sacrament meeting yesterday! It was lovely, and she seemed to have a very positive experience.
Sometimes I wonder if in looking for “golden”, prepared investigators we sometimes lose patience with those who need a more gradual progression towards conversion. Yes, we need to invest our time in teaching those who are committed and willing to progress: people like M who will read the Book of Mormon cover to cover in a week and get baptised within two months. We’re here to find and baptise the elect. But repentance and conversion to the gospel requires an enormous change of mind, heart, and lifestyle. Sometimes I think I need to step back and celebrate every little progress people make in coming closer to Christ.
My bus contacting has improved a bit: I’ve decided to just talk to people whenever I get on public transportation, and my courage is improving with repeated effort. However, I have yet to learn how to get a phone number from it – I need to keep the conversations shorter and more to the point! 😉
We also had the opportunity to work with Sestra N this week – a sister who joined the Church just recently. Rather than teaching her though, we ended up teaching her 12-year-old nephew that she brought with her! He had good questions about the Plan of Salvation, and she said she’d take him to church near his home (he’s from another town), so he could meet the missionaries there.
The weeks are going by in an absolute blur, which says two things: I feel fatigued, and less organised than I would like. We realised this week that the two are a vicious circle: as President Irwin liked to say, fatigue comes from leaving things unfinished. I feel the need to be more committed to my purpose and my goals: I want to FEEL effective, like we’re making a difference!
I know that this is the Lord’s work, and that the cleansing and ennobling power of the Atonement is real. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that those who earnestly seek this knowledge will find it out for themselves by the power of the Holy Ghost.
With much love, and a special “hello” to my Branch back home!