Wednesday, March 30, 2016

30 March 2016 - Happy Easter

Dear All,

Happy Easter to Everyone!

Well one of the greatest things that happened this week was with an
investigator. He was our only one that was truly preparing to be
baptized. He hadn't been going to church and just wasn't really doing
anything related to the gospel and was even dropping our appointments
all the time. So we were finally able to meet with him and he was
like, "April 17th, I'm getting baptized, right?" Elder Bell and I looked
at each other and our response was very blunt. We pretty much said,
"All right, we can't baptize you if you don't keep any of your
commitments. Baptism is a big deal and we just can't let you do it if
you're not ready. There's just too much responsibility that comes with
becoming a member of the church." He was distraught. He then started
begging for us to still baptize him. He truly wanted it, but I think he
just hadn't understood that it's a big deal, and that the idea of being
baptized isn't a joke. We let him know some things he had to do to be
baptized. We also asked him about why he wanted baptism, because
we just wanted to be sure he's doing it for the right reasons. He then
said some awesome stuff and continued to beg us to baptize him. It was
a very necessary ultimatum we made with him. He has since reminded us
every time we've seen him that he's getting baptized on April 17th.
He's got a true desire and has been keeping his commitments and we can
see that he now understands the importance of baptism and really
desires it.

Easter Sunday was awesome. Both of our investigators with baptismal
dates came to church! That hasn't happened in a long, long time. Church
was super spiritual and all the meetings and classes were very
enjoyable. We were able to talk with some of the Branch leadership and
discuss how we can help support the branch. It was very sad to hear
how one of the members responded. They said something like, "You guys
are the first missionaries that have offered to help with teaching and
scheduling. Many times before when I've asked missionaries they've
said something about how I need to ask the members because they were
too busy to help." It was just so sad to see him say that. So we
continued to discuss about how we can help without taking over other
people's callings. It was just a wonderful Sunday. Brother Harris
("April 17th, baptize me, please") got up to sign during one of the
classes and started talking about how much he's been helped by "Bell
and West". He talked about how much better he is than before and how
much he appreciated us. It just felt so nice to see everything working
out with him.

I was thinking about Easter on Sunday, for obvious reasons. Elder Bell
and I were talking about what to teach someone for Monday. It sparked
a thought about Easter and Christmas. I thought about how Christmas is
so so hyped. It is by far the most hyped holiday, but obviously not
for the right reasons, although it is well known that Christmas
celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Obliviously that's one of the
most amazing things to celebrate. But as I was thinking, I realized how
overlooked the holiday of Easter is. Easter is definitely not quite as
hyped as Christmas, but Easter celebrates the two most amazing
miracles that have ever occurred. The first and probably foremost, is
the Atonement. So amazing for obvious reasons. The second miracle that
I think is overlooked is the Resurrection. These are literally the
greatest things that could possibly happen. It's just so crazy that
some people don't even know about these things. Harder for me to
accept is when people just disregard the Atonement and the
Resurrection, or just simply disregard Jesus Christ. He did
everything for us. His entire life was devoted to us. It's just so
incredible the things He did for us.

We had a slightly funny thing happen to us yesterday. We went over to
see a Less Active and then Brother Harris. Brother Harris was at the
Laundromat and when we walked up to him he looked at us, kind of
shrugged, and then with a very cold-hearted stare, just slightly waved
at us. Our first reaction was, "Oh no, what happened. He's always
super excited to see us but now he doesn't care anymore; what do we
do?" We were genuinely worried, and then he just signs, "Joking
joking." It was not funny for a second, and then we realized he just
totally played with our emotions. It was pretty funny. Earlier in the
day we were teaching our other investigator with a baptismal date. He
had told us at church that he didn't want to "rush into baptism, maybe
in like 2 or 3 weeks". We were both just surprised to see someone say
that. Two or three weeks is very, very fast. So when we were teaching
him yesterday we said that we don't want to hurry him into baptism, so
set him up for a date that was about 5 weeks away. Even that is very
fast, but he had obviously wanted to be baptized quickly. We asked him
what he thought, and this was his response, "I don't care. Really it's
honestly no good." We both were super surprised and thought he didn't
want to be baptized anymore, so we asked him what was up.  He said, "I
mean, I guess I don't care if I have to wait that long to be
baptized." Oh man he got us good. We both thought the guy didn't care
anymore, but in reality he just didn't want to wait "that long."

Yay! This weekend is General Conference weekend! The reason General
Conference is so important is because of the people who are talking to
us. They're literally Prophets, Seers and Revelators of God. They
can see everything that has ever happened, everything that is now
happening, and everything that will happen. Their warnings are for us.
Elder Bell and I were talking about this and I finally realized how
important their words are for us. They know exactly what is going to
happen to us! They're warning us as to how to avoid the bad things that
can happen in the future. It will be extra special this time too
because we'll be watching Conference with our members and
investigators in ASL.

At some point on my mission I've realized a fundamental part of this
Church. I don't think I had ever realized that this Church is truly
about Jesus Christ. It's not all about Joseph Smith, it's not all
about President Monson, it's not even all about us. It's literally
God's Church on the Earth, lead by the one and only Jesus Christ. It's
not lead by the prophet. As I've taught people and shared my
testimony, I've truly started to know more about my Savior. He loves
us so much and He's given us this Gospel to be happy. The point in
having this Gospel is to come closer to Jesus Christ, and by doing so
be prepared to meet God and enter into His kingdom. If we don't want
to do this, then that's okay because God's given us the ability to
make choices. That's why He gave us this ability, but if we don't
choose the right path then we won't be able to reach our full
potential, nor will we be able to have eternal happiness. Once we come
to know our Savior, we will then be able to learn the ways to be
prepared to enter into His kingdom. I'm so grateful for this
opportunity to serve others and improve myself while helping others.
I'm even more appreciative of the opportunity to grow closer to Jesus
Christ and show others how to do the same.

That'll all for this week. I hope everyone had a good Easter and is
enjoying life.

"April 17th, baptize me. Please, I'm begging".
"Ya'll sexy".
"Listen here, Chum Bucket."
"Listen here, Pinto Bean."
"Do you want to see a video of Jesus?
No. I served my time."
"Remember those two boxes of cookies I bought? They're gone. I ate 64
cookies today."
"I start out with 4 cookies. And I'm like, 'wow, these are some good
cookies'. So I eat 4 more. And I'm like, 'wow these are so good'. Then
I eat a row and before I know it, the box is half gone."
"Mmm, there's nothing like nectar from the white cran-peaches of
Portland Oregon."

3 Nephi 10:14 - Learn of Him
3 Nephi 11:10-11 - "I am the light and the life of the world"
3 Nephi 12:44 - Love your enemies
3 Nephi 27:33 - The way to Eternal life is narrow, while the way to
death is wide
Mormon 8:17 - The word of God is perfect

Keep on Truckin

-Elder West

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