Monday, September 23, 2013

Week of Sep 23

This week has been one of the fastest weeks of my mission so far. We had exchanges which means we switch companions for bit. That made the week go even faster. I only remember about an hour of that 24, it was nuts. This week some really cool things did happen though. I will share one with you specifically.
We received a number of people to contact via references and previous street contacts who all lived in the same area. Three houses, belonging to Carla, Blanca and Sonia. We had already tried all their houses before with no answer, but we decided to try again. When we went to try again it was just me and a young man, Carlos. He is the one preparing for a mission in Brazil. None of the three were there but at the last home of Blanca someone was home (not her). His name was Walter, we talked to him at the door and he told us to come in and have a little discussion. We ended up having one of the most powerful conversations and lessons that I have ever had. And certainly the most impacting Carlos has participated in. Walter was highly educated in Salvador but only in Spanish and he hardly speaks English. He is intelligent and well studied in the Bible. As we started he said that he had heard lots of things that he wasn't sure about the Mormons but still wanted to hear what we had to say. He truly does want to learn of Christ from any source he can. We were able to solve a few issues: we don't worship Joseph Smith, no we aren't crazy, we pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ, the house of Israel was the Jews, etc. All of which was fantastic. The truly miraculous part was something that I have never truly felt or recognized before.
Near the end of the "teaching" part of the lesson, we told him there was one more thing that proved the reality of all we had discussed and taught. We pulled out the Book of Mormon, and his eyes were immediately affixed to it. We explained it as another testament of our savior Jesus Christ and that it contains his teachings and his words, through prophets, and his coming to the Americas. I asked him to read the first four verses so he could make the connection between the Book of Mormon and Jerusalem. He took the book and with a special reverence began reading. A feeling in the room started inconspicuously building at first. It felt almost like a specific ray gun in Halo that you hardly notice is over heating but then you truly realize how powerful it is. As he read, it built and built. He was so engrossed in the testimony of Nephi and what he was feeling that he couldn't even turn the page to finish the fourth verse. The feeling then left in the silence quicker than it had occurred. He then said, "este es los otros" this is the others. He began talking of the other people, the other Children of God that Jesus had mentioned. We talked about the other sheep that were not of this fold. He said that he wanted to read it, before we had even asked him. He said he would read as much as he can before we come back. I jokingly said "voy a regresar entonces" I will return then, it was said in jest, but he understood why we were there and what he needed to do to understand this "Nuevo camino" new path.
It was only because of our persistence, our preparation and the spirit through the grace of God that we were able to have this experience. I am especially grateful for this experience for many reasons, many of which you all already know. Continue in your efforts for your answers, for your witnesses, continue in your faith and God will provide what you need to have to continue.
I love you all and hope you are doing well, we are running out of time like always, have a wonderful week and share this with whoever you like.
-Elder Bigelow

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