Monday, February 13, 2017

A Second Email from Last Week

The story of my interaction with Susan & Sophie:

On January 7th 2017, I was on exchange with a missionary from Texas named Elder Barney, and we decided that we would go out and knock on some doors, like you tend to do as a missionary in England. So we did what we usually do, we picked out a street on the map and went there. Before we started to knock we said a prayer, asking that the hearts of the people that we spoke to would be softened, and that we would be able to find someone that the Lord had prepared for us to meet.

Halfway down the street we met this family. Susan is 53, and her daughter Sophie is 14. They were really hesitant at first, Sophie later told us that she thought we were police so she went and hid. Susan was hiding halfway behind the door! But we got talking with Susan and soon (after hearing our accents) Sophie came and joined in the conversation too. They were just heading out to their friends house, but they told us we could come back and talk to them more the following Monday.

So on Monday I called Susan and she was happy to hear from us! We went over with another member on Monday night and we taught them about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Susan expressed to us her feelings. Her father had died when she was younger, and recently afterwards her sister died as well. This happened 37 years ago, and Susan told us that she hadn't been back to church once in that 37 years, and she'd stopped believing in God. 
But something in what we taught intrigued her and her daughter, and they agreed to start looking into church again. 

Sophie on the other hand was very interested in the church. When she was 11 years old, she'd decided that she wanted to get herself Christened, so she went to a local Anglican Church and got herself christened. She didn't keep attending the church because she didn't feel welcome. So when we invited her and her mother, she was very excited to come to our church. They have come every week since.

On our third visit with Susan and Sophie, we taught them about the Word of Wisdom, which is a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith that talks about how to keep our bodies healthy and pure. It talks about how we should abstain from addictive and harmful substances such as Tobacco, Alcohol, Illegal Drugs, Tea & Coffee. Sophie was fine with that, but Susan had been a smoker for most of her life, and drank up to 16 cups of tea a day. Recently her Doctors had been telling her that she needed to stop, but nothing they had said really stopped her.

Susan stopped smoking that day, and has never smoked again since. The tea was harder to give up, but within a few weeks Susan told us that she had run out of tea bags and was done for good. Now Susan has a few physical health problems that have arisen, and she is a little frail. Most of the time when we go to her house, it's difficult for her to stand up when we leave, and we usually help her up. But this last week, only a few days after she had stopped drinking tea for good, she told us that she felt better than she had in years, and when we got up to leave, she just hopped right up with us like it was nothing! 

There's a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants that describes the blessings of keeping the Word of Wisdom, and one of them says this:

"And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones" (D&C 89:18)

We read her that scripture and she said: "that's me!"

This last Saturday, that being February 4th 2017, was their baptismal interview. I went over there with one of our district leaders Elder Scheffner, and he interviewed each of them for baptism. Susan has a hard time praying out loud, but she likes to write down her prayers. She has a big notebook that she's started writing down prayers in. She showed me one of them when we were there on Saturday and this is what it said:

"Dear Lord, Thank you for bringing Elder Thompson and Elder Charman into our life so they could teach us to believe in you again as I stopped after my sister died and now I don't know why. As what we have been taught over the past few weeks has made me believe again, please could you bless them for what they have done for us. Amen"

And it made me tear up a little bit. There's another scripture that came to my mind when I read this, in Doctrine and Covenants section 18:

"And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" (D&C 18:15)

And my joy is great. Susan and Sophie are getting baptised on February 11th 2017. This is a kind of joy that I've not really ever felt before, the joy that is bringing someone back into the knowledge of their God and Redeemer. I'm very happy.

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