Man, what a fun week. We've dealt with grace, works, and even the Unknown Tongue. And to think everyone says we're crazy when we tell them about the Apostasy.
Yeah, we bumped into an older lady this week who just fired a gauntlet of questions at us about what we believe, finally asking us, "Do you believe in the Gift of Tongues?" By tongue, though, she meant the "Unknown Tongue." Some churches apparently believe that when you're REALLY feeling the Spirit, you start babbling like a Magical Liplorodon.
(Granted, I've heard some testimonies that sounded a lot like babbling, but still.)
So we said no, the Spirit always talks to us in a form we'll understand. To which she curtly replied, "Well, good day to you then." Nevermind that we'd agreed with her views on the last 20 questions. If I'd wanted to be a punk I could've quoted to her what Paul's opinion was on this "Unknown Tongue" nonsense.
The second story was a lady named May who had us sit out on her lawn chairs and apparently rehearsed her Thursday night Bible Study lesson on us. It was really funny, in a way. We told her that plain and precious truths had been lost in the Bible, and she didn't believe us, yet she was holding in her hand one of those non-King James versions where people went in and changed what they didn't like. She told us to seek truth, but blatantly refused when we gave her the same challenge and invited her to read the Book of Mormon. Sigh.
I start out with those two stories because they really hit home to me just how important the Book of Mormon is. We definitely use the Bible, but people have to read the Book of Mormon or they won't progress. So many people say the Bible is the source of all truth, but apparently it wasn't clear enough. We got hundreds of Christian denominations, many of them polar opposites in what they believe, and they all use the Bible. We can't use the Bible to convert Bible people; we've got to get them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.
I was told a few years ago that if someone won't read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, they're wasting your time; they aren't going to get converted. And it's completely true. The Church has some pretty big claims--restored authority, a living prophet, continued revelation from God--and the only way people can come to know they are all true is by reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it.
It seriously works, every time. I love how Dad put it in his recent letter to me: It's 500+ pages of scripture, and there's no way ANYONE could write it, good or evil. It is extremely obvious the very second you start reading it that it is from God.
So, in short, we use the Book of Mormon a lot out here. I find Gordon's approach is still one of the best: "This is what we believe, this is why, and if you want to find out if it's true, read and pray about this book."
But as for our investigators:
Most of our stories this week involve young men.
We bumped into a house full of college guys a few weeks ago, and this week we taught one of them, a baseball player named Vance. When we showed up at his door, he said, "Oh, it's you. Let me take this out," and went and threw away his tobacco. He pulled us into a quiet room and listened respectfully as we taught him. When we asked him to pray at the end, he said, "These guys have asked me to ask You if it's true, and...I want it to be true." Awesome. Pure awesome. Though we learned afterward that he doesn't know how to man hug. We're going to try and visit him tonight.
While we were going to go visit
during this past week, we were stopped by a young man on a scooter. His name was Greg, and he asked us about the church, so we talked to him and gave him a pamphlet. We set up an appointment with him for Wednesday, which he didn't keep, but then he called US Thursday night and asked, "Hey, where could I get a Book of Mormon?" So we set up an appointment with him on Saturday at the church. He made it to this one, and we taught him the first discussion and showed him around. He accepted baptism and called us later in the day to talk about the Book of Mormon. I hope he stays receptive; he's apparently homeless.
The third young man of the week was
Jordan. We went to go visit Jack Johnson, one of our investigators, but he was mowing the lawn. We met his grandson Jordan, though. He had met with missionaries when he'd lived in Tenne ssee
and had been given a Book of Mormon, which he'd read a little of. We set up an appointment and gave him a pamphlet, but then Grandpa Jack showed up. He invited us for a few minutes in to get something to drink, but he said he didn't have time to talk and neither did Jordan.
As we came in,
plopped onto the couch and just started riffling through that pamphlet like nobody's business. I saw this, and I just jumped into the first discussion. As he had to leave, we made it fast, but he listened very well, said the closing prayer, and accepted the baptismal invite. We'll see how things go tomorrow when we meet him at the church building.
We also have some promising Spanish investigators. Elder Molina refers to himself as a "zebra", as he has been in both English and Spanish-speaking areas. We've met some promising Spanish investigators this last week, so we'll see where that goes.
I mentioned in my last email that we had quite the rainstorm this past week. Part of my quad got wet, so on Sunday I got to go through the whole thing, unsticking every single page. I found a lot of my markings from my Old Testament read through a few years page, so I've got some fun ones here. For those of you who looked up the scripture last week, D&C 38:28 was a Harry Potter reference. With that in mind:
Isaiah 1:14 - Apparently, even Heavenly Father grows weary of Twilight.
Ezekiel 35:6 - For you Star Wars fans out there.
Jeremiah 51:20 - Possibly my new favorite scripture. I'm trying to get
Elder Molina to let it be our companionship motto.
And another fun Baptist sign:
"Repent now. Beat the Judgment Day rush."
Well, I'm running out of time on the computer. Elder Molina and I are working very hard out here, and I'm improving every day.
I am SO THANKFUL for all the letters I've gotten, and most importantly, the PICTURES! Oh man, I love pictures. I've needed them. I was feeling really loved that day.
I'm going to do my best today to write responses to everyone. I sure love you all, and I really appreciate the time you spend to write me.
The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It's true. It is completely true.
lugged those plates around for twenty years, braving hardship and Lamanites, so that he could bury them up, all because he knew that those plates would be needed. Just look at how many millions of people came to the knowledge of their Redeemer because of that precious record.
The Book of Mormon is true. It testifies of Christ, and Christ lives. That is why I am out here, spreading His Word, building up His Church.
I love you all. Hurrah for