[This week I shared with Jake, and experience I had as Ward Mission Leader in which one of our investigators had a very negative response to being told she had to wait one year for her misdemeanor probation to expire before being baptized. Jake responded]
A DELICATE APPROACH WHEN TELLING SOMEONE THAT CAN’T BE BAPTIZED
True, you have to be very delicate in how you inform an investigator that they are going to need some more time to prepare before they can be baptized. If the message is not delivered with a positive spin, they can become disheartened. Case in point: Uriel! Our District Leader told him that he had found him unworthy to be baptized, and that he needed to have an interview with President Smith. This cavalier approach led Uriel to not want to have an interview with the Mission President, until this last week when he finally agreed to meet the President. When he became disheartened, Uriel stopped reading the Book of Mormon, and stopping going to church. He began to feel that no matter how hard he tried, he was never going to be able to be baptized. He didn’t understand that not passing the interview had nothing to do with his current way of living, and the current path he is on. When he let go of the iron rod, as we explained to him, his conviction was shaken, which is what led the Mission President to decide that Uriel needed a little more preparation before being baptized. Now that we got him grasped to the iron rod again, he has his goal set for being baptized in the month of September. Look how much drama that could have been avoided if our District Leader had just phrased things better in explaining why an interview with President Smith was needed. The important thing that you guys should be doing with your investigator right now is to help her understand the significance of Lehi’s vision so that she keeps reading the Book of Mormon, which is the most powerful tool in helping someone stay on the straight and narrow path, as Ezra Taft Benson taught. Otherwise she will surely never be able to completely enjoy the blessing of Christ’s sacrifice, the greatest gift that one can experience upon being baptized. The main reason why members fall into forbidden paths is because they don’t read the Book of Mormon.
The same positive spin you were going to use with your investigator, is the same spin we used to help Otto’s wife to commit to being baptized. At first her daughter was going to be baptized in August, and she in October, when she had all her debts paid off with her boss so that she could start going to church on Sundays. Now we helped her become more committed by having her daughter wait to be baptized with her so that Otto can perform the ordinance.
Anyway… that is a super delicate situation with your investigator. I imagine it is going to take a lot of damage control. You will just need to have the faith that everything will work out. I will make sure that I keep your investigator in my prayers this week.
Through God’s grace, I was permitted to stay in Tojocaz for at least one more transfer, but sadly my companion did not have the same luck, and will be transferred after just being here for one month.
WELFARE IN GUATEMALA
I have heard that in the past, the Church had a lot of problems in Latin America with people joining the Church just because they heard the Church helps members with financial struggles. For this reason, I hear, the Church’s policy toward helping people out here is a lot stricter than they are in the States.
We have an investigator named Alan whom we are teaching, who, after reading the Book of Mormon told us that it filled the void in his life. But once he stopped reading the Book of Mormon due to peer pressure he felt from his family, who judged him for listening to us, he began to make his way over to the great and spacious building. Now he had gotten a glimpse of the path that the iron rod would lead him. Ultimately he began reading the Book of Mormon again, and he is now preparing to be baptized the 1st of October.
We have another investigator named Roberto, who was very reluctant to accepting the message of the restoration, and reluctant to reading the Book of Mormon. But after we finally got him to read it, his entire attitude changed.
We have another investigator who we recently found. During the lessons, we assumed he was not paying attention at all. He answered every question we asked with “si, pues, es alegre” [translation: “yes, well, how joyful.” So we decided to have a bit of fun with it, so we invited him to be baptized, figuring that he was just going to respond the same way, “si, pues, es alegre.” But to our dismay, he spoiled our fun by actually answering that one question differently. It turns out that he really was listening the entire time. After explaining to him that it is not “playing with God” to be re-baptized, he surprised us by inviting us to come back to his home again on Thursday to teach him more, which is not usually something that happens. Now if that is not “alegre” [joyful], I’m not sure what is.
Do you remember me telling you about the Mendoza family? They are the family who speaks Mum (an native Indian dialect). We have never really been quite sure how much they really understand from our lessons. For example, we recently taught them the steps of a prayer.
- Direct our heavenly father
- Give thanks
- Ask for blessing and wisdom
- End in the name of Jesus Christ
So they did exactly that… and I quote, “Nuestro Padre Celestial, te pedimos, te agradecemos, te pedimos, te preguntamos, en el nombre de Jesucristo amen” [translation: Heavenly Father, we ask thee, we give thee thanks, we ask thee, we inquire of thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen”]. Well, yesterday Andres, the dad, left us speechless with the spirit that he brought when he totally poured out his heart to God, desiring to know if this is the true church of Christ. All this time we had been assuming that when we asked them if they had been praying to know if the church was true, we envisioned them just doing the same prayer they did when we first taught them the steps of prayer. It is so great to watch people grow in the gospel.
This week we also found a lady that had been pleading with God that he would have mercy on her and send missionaries to her home again to help her with her rebellious son. It was humbling to her to have us show up at her door the next day.
Prayer is definitely one of the most powerful tools God has given us that we often take for granted. The scriptures repeat several times… whenever we ask in the name of Christ, if it be just, it will be granted unto us. If it was not for the fervent prayer of Alida, I doubt we would have found her. If it was not for my fervent prayers for Uriel and Alan, I doubt Uriel would have felt the change in his heart to talk to the Mission President, and Alan to receive us again. If it was not for prayer, I doubt Elvis would have ever got the strength this week to place his faith in God by paying tithing so he will be worthy to enter the temple in a year from now to get sealed to his wife. And he would never have seen his money double. If it was not for prayer, Uriel would still be fighting to be able to provide for his family. Now he has a job that provides him with sufficient amount of income. If it was not for prayer, Elise’s sick father would still be preventing them from going to church. If it was not for prayer, I probably would not have found any one of these people whom God has prepared for us to bring to the gospel.
And if it was not for prayer Elder Chirinos and I would not have had to walk home in the pouring rain, especially since we were shivering with a fever caused by “dengue.” Instead we would have gotten a ride from a drunk, who we later realized was completely wasted. When my companion asked him “a donde va hermano,” [where are you going brother], he responded, “Hay Dios Mio! Hay Dios Mio!” [Oh my God! Oh my God!], and then he laughed hysterically. We probably would have died if we had taken that ride, which I guess beats walking in the rain. For a second there, we thought he was going to kidnap us. He stopped to let us in, and told us that he wanted to bring us to his home to help him stop drinking.
But just so mom knows… I am 100% okay! I say that so she doesn’t act like a Nervous Nelly all week wondering if I’m okay.