This week went pretty well. Elder Nestman and I are getting along well, so that's good.
Anyway, the week started off on a fairly high note. We had a really awesome Zone Conference with President Hawks. Sister Hawks gave a really cool talk about "defining moments." She started out by explaining a classic Book of Mormon character in a really cool way. I'll give you a summary:
All right, so this man left his home city of Jerusalem when his prophet-father received
guidance from the Lord. He left behind his home, his possessions, and his entire life to follow his family. Not too long after leaving Jerusalem, he went back to the city to get the brass plates for his family, risking life and limb. He even literally saw an angel of the Lord on that trip. After recovering the plates, he helped to build a boat that they would board to go to who knows where, all based on the things that the Lord had said.
You're guessing Nephi, right? Wrong. This was Laman. Sister Hawks pointed out that Laman and Lemeul both got to take part in many of the same spiritual and miraculous experiences that Nephi did, but they turned out completely differently. What was the difference? It was the attitude they had towards what was happening to them and towards what they were doing. It was a really neat talk, and it really made me think of some of the reasons I'm here in the mission. I'm really glad that I can have this experience to get closer to God while I'm still so young. I feel like I've already changed a lot, and I'm excited to see where I end up after another year and a half out here.
The conference was also really cool because we had a training on how to use the First Vision in our teaching. We had a really cool experience with what we learned later that same day. I'll copy/paste it for you
guys from my weekly report to President Hawks:
Me and Elder Nestman were out doing some routine finding along a moderately busy sidewalk. We weren't having a ton of luck - most people just did not want to talk to us at all. But we kept going. Then, Elder Nestman greeted a young man who was walking alongside us. He was fairly friendly. We were able to pull him off to the edge of the sidewalk and sit down with him on a low wall. We started teaching the Restoration, being careful to apply the things President Hawks mentioned in training. Then, when it came time to share the First Vision, I made sure to say it slowly, carefully, and reverently. I paused after I recited the experience. The Spirit filled the silence. Then I had a crazy thought pop into my head. I remembered that paper that you gave us a while ago that talked about committing people to baptism - even on the street. I thought about it for a moment, and decided that it was time to finally give the street baptismal commitment thing a shot. Elder Nestman was barely starting to introduce the Book of Mormon, but I politely interrupted. I clarified that when Joseph Smith restored the Church, he brought back the ancient keys of priesthood authority. I briefly introduced why baptism is important, and what it means. Then, I turned the lesson back to Elder Nestman. He invited our contact. The contact accepted. The Spirit was incredibly powerful. I have high hopes for the future of that street contact. I think he's a lot closer to getting baptized than he would have been if we had just done a "standard" street lesson.
Besides that, we also got to have a baptism this week. We baptized Aubrey - a girl that's been investigating for a really long time, actually. As in, her teaching record goes back for two or three years. She was kind of a slow mover. So, I don't really consider myself a major role in her conversion, but it was still cool to participate in her last few lessons. It was neat to see another person come unto Christ. Plus, she had a fairly cool small miracle with her baptism. Her parents were super unsupportive of her getting baptized, and she's a minor, so she needed their signature. Originally she thought it was going to be impossible to get it, but as she, us, and the ward prayed for her, her dad's heart was softened and he signed without too much complaint. She thought that it was really miraculous, and she's glad that she could get baptized.
Another awesome thing for the week is ELDER HOLLAND IS IN HONG KONG! WOO! He did a devotional for the members last night that was really, really amazing. He talked about how this Gospel dispensation is the most amazing dispensation that ever was. He talked about how this dispensation is the time when Israel can finally stop fleeing from Babylon. It's our responsibility to turn around and face it. In every other dispensation, the gospel has been rejected and eventually fell into apostasy. But this one won't. And it's our privilege and our duty to make sure to prepare the Church of Christ for the Coming of Christ. It was a really, really cool talk. And it gets better - there's a missionary-only meeting with Elder Holland tomorrow. That's right - it's a devotional, with Elder Holland, just for us. Sweet.
Other than that, there's not anything else too exciting going on. Ms. Lauh's dog is still gross and almost dead. The ward council wants to figure out a polite way to break the fact that dogs are not allowed in the chapel to her, but so far nobody knows how to do it. We're working on it. Andrew is still doing well. We taught him the Word of Wisdom and he accepted it really easily. Hopefully not too easily. We'll see. And Mr. Laih was too busy betting on the horse races to come to church. Sigh. I'll figure out that guy one of these days. Plus, we hopefully got a few really good contacts and phone numbers on the street, so hopefully we'll be able to expand our teaching pool a bit. It'd be nice to teach more.
Anyway, that's more or less my week. A few other minor things happened, but those pictures took a while to upload, so I'm outa time.
Love you guys lots,
Elder Brennan McEwan