Here are a couple highlights of the week family! I love you!
We met with our investigator Donita, who we worked with for a long time, right before she moved up to New York on Friday. She is definitely going to get baptized up there and she said she'd send us pictures! It will be awesome. But she said some stuff to us that made us really grateful to be here in the Lord's service. She told us how much she appreciated us helping her learn about the gospel, how much we had helped change her life, how she feels like we are her kids, and a bunch of other amazing things. It almost made me cry. We were on top of the world as we walked away. Although we weren't able to see her receive baptism, it is moments like that that make everything about the mission worth it. We get to participate in placing the gospel into people's lives. It is such a blessing.
The Lord is blessing us with families to teach. We are teaching three families right now. We taught a new family last night. First let me tell you about our exchange. A soon to be 19 year old member, Kevin, was visiting his family in our ward and we went to eat with them last night. We had asked him if he was preparing his papers for the mission and he said no. We could tell that he didn't have the strongest testimony of the gospel. We invited him to come teach this family after dinner and he accepted. He was a really cool kid and we talked a lot about missionary work and how fun it is and stuff in the car with him. We asked him if he would give his testimony in the lesson (since a testimony is found in the bearing of it). He said he was nervous and didn't know if he could. So we go in to teach this family and everything is crazy. Kids running around, people doing dishes and laundry, people walking in and out, everything. We got to know the mom a little bit and she said that she hadn't been to church, prayed, or read in many, many years and was struggling with smoking. We explained the Holy Ghost and all knelt in prayer. Dead silence. The Spirit swarmed the room. After, we talked a lot about baptism, read from the Book of Mormon, and talked about the restoration of the gospel. When we talked about Joseph Smith, Kevin bore a very powerful testimony of the BoM and how he knows the strength that can come from reading the scriptures. It was SO great! He brought a cool spirit to the lesson. We testified that she could have hope through the Jesus Christ and overcome the things that are holding her back. Her countenance changed. She started crying and said "I guess there is hope." It was amazing. She accepted a baptism date for May 7th. After that, we invited her to pray and ask God for the strength to overcome her temptations. She was very nervous and said she didn't want to. Elder Bennett, Kevin, and I said we would say a prayer first and then she could do it after us. After our prayers we just waited. She started with "Dear Heavenly Father..." and then she stopped. Her little kids were whispering to her "Just talk from your heart! You can do it." I felt the Spirit so strongly as her children said those things to their mother. I teared up. I'm tearing up right now as I'm writing this. She said a beautiful prayer and we knelt in silence after. After she was done she said "I haven't done that in a long, long time." We thanked her and got out as quick as we could so she could be alone to feel the Holy Ghost. It was incredible how we went in, not knowing anyone, with crazy surroundings, and the Holy Ghost was able to help everyone be silent and feel God's love throughout the ENTIRE lesson. We started a reaction in her life that will change her forever if she chooses to continue in the gospel. We talked to Kevin after and he had changed too. As we were driving him home he was talking about how he was going to serve a mission. I know that everything last night happened for a reason. God touched the family's life and Kevin's life. Elder Bennett and I were able to see a very tender mercy of the Lord. All were edified.
I LOVE being a part of this work. The mission has given me new eyes. Everything I see now, I see differently than I did before. I've started to see through the eyes of our Heavenly Father. The eternal perspective. I still have a long way to go, but I'm such a better person than I was before. Thank you for your love Mom and Dad. Have a great week!
Elder Austin Gable Engemann