Monday, May 6, 2013

The Book of Mormon Changes Lives

So we had a really awesome week, mostly because of P's baptism. Everything went really well all week and we had a few good lessons with him, and he was pumped for the baptism. The service was great. There was a really good turnout, better than I expected even (as demonstrated by how there were not enough refreshments). Our investigators V and M both came, also the sister's investigator. The really cool thing is that P's daughter and her Mom came. We had only met them once before and they had a good experience there and she invited us to come over during the week, which is huge progress for her. There was a really good turn out from members and they did a good job supporting. Elder Batson gave a great talk about baptism. One of the members with whom P has become friends, A, gave the other talk. All of the missionaries sang "Brightly Beams our Fathers Mercy" and it sounded really good. Probably the only hiccup was that when I baptized P the first time his foot came up out of the water. So I had to do it again, I put a foot on his feet the second time. Elder Batson told me after the service that he was probably all the way under, then his foot came up, but the witnesses had me do it again anyway. It was a really spiritual experience - the whole service, and especially being in the font with him and in the dressing room afterward. He was just really pumped and you could just see how happy he is, which is not like him because he is very introverted.
The confirmation went great the next day and after church the branch president interviewed him for the Aaronic Priesthood which he should get next week. He is really awesome and the best thing about him is how he can learn on his own, he doesn't need anyone to have to explain anything to him. He already finished the Book of Mormon, Our Heritage, and Gospel Principles.
Oh and at the end of the service, right after the words from the branch presidency, Elder Batson and I said some words and gave him some gifts. We gave him a Doctrine and Covenants with our testimonies in it, also a new white shirt, and the ties off of our chests (it was a big hit). Then they opened it up for anyone else to bear testimony or congratulate him and there were some really good and nice comments. A got up and also gave him the tie off of his chest, which I thought was really cool of him.
So that made it a really great weekend. I was an amazing experience seeing P all the way through from the beginning to baptism. I almost couldn't have imagined this day 3 months ago when we were sitting in his room the first time when he was a little drunk or the first few lessons when it seems like it wasn't really clicking. But there is one thing that changed this man's life and it is the Book of Mormon. I already had a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true, but maybe I didn't realize fully the power it has to change people and bring them to Christ.
Once P really started reading the Book of Mormon, we could see more and more light in his countenance every time we came over. He got engrossed in the Book of Mormon and read the whole thing in about a month and a half, but not only that he understood and applied everything that he read and had questions about the things he didn't understand. I remember the first time he went from not reading and he told us the next lesson that he got to second Nephi. I've been out here for a long time so I was a little skeptical, so I just kind of said, "Great, what did you read about? What did you like about it?" He goes on to give a perfect summary of exactly what happens in First Nephi even remembering names and pulling out really good insights about the importance of obedience and following the direction that God gives us, and more. I was amazed. Then later on he said he read 2 Nephi twice because he didn't really get it the first time. He read Mosiah twice because he liked it so much he decided to re-read it before he went to Alma.
The Book of Mormon gave him a testimony of Jesus Christ and the restored gospel, then from then on out we just had to use that strength to help guide him through his trials, and change his life in order to live in accordance with the commandments.
I don't know if I have ever told you how we met P. It was on a Tuesday and that is one of the days we don't have any standing appointments, so it is really hard to get things set up for Tuesday during the day. So that particular Tuesday, Elder J and I couldn't get any lessons and we had about a 2-3 hour chunk of time so we were looking at the map trying to decide where to go contacting. We prayed about it to receive inspiration about where to go, and after the prayer we both didn't feel anything strongly. After a minute of discussion we decided it would be a good idea to go down to a street which is called Shorsa, that was fairly main and we didn't get down there much, because in order to get there you have to walk maybe about a mile through an industrial part of town with not much of anything and no people. So we set off and talked to all the men in our path. We didn't really get any good conversations except for once we were in the middle of that industrial stretch and met a shy skinny guy in a long black coat who actually talked to us for a bit and said he would like to know more, and that we could come over the next day. We kept going and actually didn't make it to Shorsa, we turned off at the street before it which was also fairly main with a bunch of people on it, we probably got a couple more little conversations there and maybe a number or two, but I think we get the point of this story. The Lord led us to where we needed to be even if it didn't feel like any kind of amazing revelation.
Ok well other than that, V says he wants to be baptized, but he still doesn't believe in some of the main points of doctrine of the church, so we'll see where that goes. Not much progress from anyone else.
The leadership council at Novo was really good. All of the missionaries are going back this Wednesday for zone conference.
Yeah I'd love to speak in Seminary that would be great.
Love you Mom
Elder Topham