This past week has been quite the whirlwind. It has been nonstop action from start to finish.
Let me tell you a bit about Elder Dedrick. I've had 16 companions, so I've had a wide variety of personalities, interests, testimonies, and work ethics. Elder Dedrick is probablythe hardest working that I've ever had. He is unbelievably diligent, bold, and full of faith. We have seen so many miracles because of his desire to work. He is a very effective missionary, and obedient, too. I have taken him to be an answer to prayer from Heavenly Father: I want to work as hard as I possibly can for the remainder of my mission, so He's paired me with Elder Dedrick so that I can relearn what it means to have faith, work hard, and serve well. I am so grateful for him.
Last Monday Elder Dedrick had put his iPad on the shopping cart at Walmart and forget it there when we took off. When we realized this an hour later we rushed back to the store and went to Customer's Service. Thankfully some honest employee had found the iPad while retrieving carts and turned it in. When we asked for it, the bored-looking worker went into the back room and brought it out.
"What's the background picture?" he asked.
"Jesus Christ, sir," Elder Dedrick replied. The other people waiting in line cheered.
And it was one of those moments when it's amazing being a missionary.
I could tell you more about what I did this week, but I would rather share my testimony as a result of something that happened. You may consider it overly dramatic, but such are the thoughts that came to my heart.
As our very last stop of the night before going home one day, Elder Dedrick and I went to go visit a certain household. As we pulled up near to the door, we heard two people screaming at each other at the top of their lungs. Literally every other word was an obscenity. We stood there for a minute or two, listening, and I must admit that it made me afraid to listen to it. For whatever reasons, we didn't knock on the door, and after a while we pulled away from the house.
Elder Dedrick was ready to go home, but I could not. I had a bad feeling in my heart and I couldn't end the night on that note. I motioned him to follow me and I walked over to a nearby streetlamp. There, inside its little circle of light, I opened up my scriptures and read a verse from the eighth chapter of Ether.
Before I share them, I want to say that they are the words of Moroni. There is perhaps no other scriptural figure who has captured my imagination as much as he has, which is probably why I talk about him so often. He witnessed the society he grew up in grow ever more wicked and depraved. He saw his family, friends, and fellow church members get killed and his entire civilization get destroyed. On the run for his life because he would not deny the Christ, he watched as the Lamanites turned inward to war against themselves in an endless cycle of violence.
And I can see him, all alone, trying his best to finish the monumental and difficult work before him of completing the Book of Mormon, with all of these horrible things still fresh in his mind, writing these incredible words:
"Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved." - Ether 8:26
Maybe in his day, the bad guys had won. But far in the future, there would be a time that the good guys would win, and evil would be done away with, forever.
Elder Dedrick showed me a video one of our first days together. I'd seen one like it before, so it was nothing new, but it still brought me to tears. Here's the link for it:
When the Church was first founded, no one could have possibly thought that it would have survived. But it did. Despite the persecution and the death of the Prophet, it did. And led by living prophets, it has spread, and will continue to spread, to cover the whole earth.
As I read that scripture to Elder Dedrick in the light of the streetlamp, having just walked away from the terrible argument and darkness going on inside the house, we had it brought to our hearts that it is to get rid of things like that that the Lord has sent out missionaries in this, the last dispensation. The Book of Mormon was written and protected so that, thousands of years later, it could be our weapon in the great battle for the happiness of mankind. No longer are the members of the Church on the run; now they are advancing. No longer is the Church dwindling; now it is growing. This is the day when the good guys will win. This is the time when the filth, the war, and the broken families will finally be gone. This is the age when the Master will return and evil will be defeated forever. And we get to be a part of it.
The Work is true. It is my honor to be serve, so that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may come unto Christ and be saved.
Hurrah for Israel!