On the other hand, I've cried over my investigators because after weeks of refusing to pray in front of us, they happily volunteer to say the opening prayer of our lesson. I've cried because they testify to us that they know that this is the true and everlasting Gospel. I cry because they begin to feel the love that the Savior has for them, and that motivates them to make covenants.
I cry a lot! But it is so wonderful! Just like Alma talks about in Alma 36:21, there is such a stark contrast between life with the Gospel, and life without it. I would go through all of the sad crying one hundred times over if I could have just one happy cry for each of my investigators. There is absolutely NOTHING better than seeing their eyes light up, understanding enter into their minds, and love fill their souls.
I've felt so many of those happy and sad feelings with the Macias family. Their hardships are far from few, and they've kept the faith through it all. Their pasts are wrought with sorrow, but as they've relied on the Lord, they've been able to handle anything that comes their way with cheerfulness and patience! They've all been found worthy to be baptized and confirmed as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Victor, the father, has been really impatient! "They said we can get baptized! Why can't we get baptized tonight??" He's been ready for so long, and we had to move up their date a few days because now ALL of us can hardly wait!
After the dreaded Law of Chastity lesson (the final lesson before their baptismal interviews!) Victor ran to our car before we headed home. He wanted to personally thank us for blessing his family. He told us that he and his family loved us, and that they'd be lost without the Gospel. We parted ways, and Sister Roberts and I had to hold ourselves back from jumping and shouting and showing how excited we truly were on the inside. We held it all in until we were in our car!
I love their family with all my heart. I send prayers of gratitude to my Father in Heaven every day for them. The bonds that we've cultivated are so strong, and I'm sure will last through this lifetime and for all eternity! After their baptism, we're going to the Family History Center to help them work on their family history! They'll be able to find names and do temple work for them! Victor has told us that they want to be sealed together as a family as soon as possible! "A year from our baptism? Okay! We'll see you two February 5th, 2017 for our sealing!" To say I love them would be an understatement:)
We're having a Family Home Evening with them this Thursday! (They also made us promise that we'd keep teaching them after their baptism. It was an easy promise to make!) We'll have a quick lesson, and then we'll head out for ice cream and fun! Looove it!!!
PS, they announced their baptism in sacrament meeting, and it took every fiber of my body from jumping out of the pew and shouting a few Hallelujahs.
Though they are the best thing that has ever happened this week, a few other fun things happened! Such as being rebuked by the Holy Ghost! During our weekly planning session, there was some mighty contention between Sister Roberts and me. Both of us had woken up on the wrong side of the bed, and every plan we had for each investigator clashed. I prayed in my heart to know what to do to bring the Spirit back so we could plan effectively, and the answer was immediate: Apologize. I was not about to do that, because I had done nothing wrong! Obviously this prompting was a fluke and wasn't going to do anything. I ignored it, and we continued to be venomous toward one another. Finally at lunch, I seriously couldn't handle the nagging prompting. "Apologize, apologize..." I ate crow and mustered up the courage to say, "I'm sorry I've been so grumpy this morning. I'm trying to be better. Will you forgive me?" It was as if a literal weight had been lifted from my shoulders. My heart was no longer heavy, and I saw my companion in a new light. Her face softened and she apologized as well. We had a hug session, and went through the day being happy and lovey and effective.
Also, it isn't that hard to tell the missionaries, "I'm not interested." Because we respect that. You do not have to put a lock on your gate to keep us from coming back. Just tell us! Stop being so passive aggressive!
We picked up two new investigators! What a miracle that was! One of them is named Kayla, and she lives with her mother-in-law who is a recent convert of 6 months. She's had a pretty bad experience with pushy missionaries in her past, so we've been working slowly but surely with her. Our second lesson with her was a church tour, and it was such a spiritual experience. I had never done a church tour before, but I want to make them a regular habit! We showed her the layout of the building, showed her the important things (like the Relief Society room. kitchen, bathrooms...) and we ended with the chapel, where we shared a quick lesson, and our member team up bore her testimony. Kayla said that she felt enlightened during the lesson, and couldn't wait to come to church the next day!
Hope is our second new investigator. She's also been taught by missionaries before, but never made it to baptism. She's the step-daughter of a less active member, but we know that the lessons can not only help Hope, but uplift and inspire her whole family! The Gospel is just so amazing!
If you want to feel the Spirit and feel super cute and hipster, Emily Brown does a lovely rendition of I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus!
You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.
- Victor Hugo Les Miserables