Monday, October 19, 2009

Prayer and the Empathy of the Savior........week 23

It began to rain just about an hour ago. I got wet. It is pretty normal this time of year.

Hey there family. It was nice to hear from all of you this week. I will fill you all in on my activities.

The past few weeks have been tough ones for our companionship in our area. I think my companion described the situation best when he said that after a month of fat cows, we are now suffering the thin, sickly ones. We have been passing through a drought in new investigators and progressing investigators. Our faith is being tried in new ways. We are growing because of it.
I find such strength on my knees. I think the mission has taught me how to rely on the Lord, have true faith and pray with all my heart. I receive solace in the scriptures and God speaks to me in simple yet powerful ways as I read the words of the prophets. I love to have communication with God. He really does speak with His children. We many times just aren´t listening.

But we have had such great experiences this last week as well. We began teaching a new investigator named Paola. She is the older sister of a recent convert in the Branch and she is very enthusiastic. She accepted a baptismal date for this week and so finally our drought will end. I see such joy and excitement in her character. Faith, she has a lot of that too. She drank a ton of coffee before, but upon learning that it was harmful and prohibited by God, she has given it up. As we have talked with her, we have come to know her sweet spirit and love her contagious laugh. She is reading, memorizing and preparing really well for the baptism this week and I am excited and confident that she will be a strong member in the church.

Idalia is also progressing. She accepted to be baptized as well and despite heavy pressure from her highly Adventist husband, has continued to receive us with open arms and a open heart. She prayed about the messages and has received a sure witness from God that what we have taught is true. This last week we had a lesson about the organization of the church and although she was slow to accept that we had a living prophet, began to understand and said she would pray.
We have been working really hard to involve the members in the missionary work, allowing them to catch the fire again that they felt upon baptism. We also are very interested in having each person fulfill their responsibilities of their ward callings. The members in Nicaragua are very young converts as a whole. They are very accustomed to see the missionaries doing everything. What we are trying to do right now is make the Branch more self sufficient because we wont always be able to do everything. The mission has also given me a strong testimony of the organization of the church. I can see how the Lord has inspired the organization so that not one member can be lost if we fulfill our duties. I was talking to the Elder´s quorum President, a recently returned missionary, and we both agreed that the Home Teaching program for example is the missionary work for members. If properly put in action, the recent converts would never have an excuse for falling away.

As I bore witness this week of the reality of the living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, I was assured that he indeed is called of God to direct this work. I know he is a prophet and that this church is led by divine revelation. He is God´s chosen mouthpiece and He does the and speaks the will of the Lord. I know that! I also know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it has a power beyond any other book I have read to bring me unto God and Christ. Christ lives and loves us! God is very aware of our needs.

As we talked with a recent convert this week, I could see the anguish in her countenance as she explained how her husband had fallen back into drinking after 6 months away. She said how she had thought it had passed for good. He had been given the priesthood. He had been baptized. She was stricken with grief at the news and worried sick that he would never come out of it again.
With quiet assurance, we promised her that God understood the circumstance and that she could find solace and peace in communicating with him. Tears streamed down her face as she received the witness that God really did understand, that he loved her. No greater love hath any man, than he layeth down his life for his friends. And God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son…that we having faith in his name could be saved by his sacrifice.

When it says in Alma that Christ suffered for our infirmities and pains and everything we would suffer, I know that it is true. As a witness of Jesus Christ, I know that he has felt the pain of every drop of blood and that He can succor us with an incomprehensible empathy. May we let Him help us is my prayer. In the name of the Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Grant Russell

Some current happenings in Nicaragua. My zone, my pets, my food...
enjoy as I am ha ha