Monday, July 22, 2013

Adventures in Oz

Oi familia!

Well, I didn't see the wizard, but I definitely had some o'timo (awesome) experiences this past week with seeing the hand of the Lord.  The first was with a lady in the ward named Sister Shaw.  She's a less active who has a problem with smoking and we were going over to visit and try and help her out.  We went over and she told us about all sorts of crazy things that have been going on in her life but how she's been really trying to rely on the Lord and have faith in Him.  We started talking about her smoking problem and she said she was really trying to quit but sometimes she would just get super stressed and a smoke would really relieve her.  We told her that anytime she has the urge to smoke she should pick up the Book of Mormon and read a verse or two to feel better.  She said that was great but she has a bunch of cataracts so it's very difficult for her to read.  I felt prompted to turn to Alma 34 in the Book of Mormon.  I had no idea why but I figured that it was pressing heavily upon my mind so I would.  I opened up and turned the page and there was a teaching from Amulek in verses 17 - 27 that repeatedly said "cry unto the Lord" and I testified to her that if she cried unto the Lord every time she had the desire to smoke that she would be able to kick the habit faster than she could imagine.  It was powerful and when we went back later that week she said that our message had really affected her and she really felt a desire to return to church and she'd been smoking less and less every day! (To make matters better, we saw her at church yesterday!) I've never felt guided to a scripture like that and I was amazing to see the hand of the Lord in our teaching efforts.
We've had a number of opportunities to just contact people on the streets this week.  I've really learned that one awesome things about being a missionary is the chance I have to testify to people every single day about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the fullness of the gospel.  We see so many people who will read the pamphlets and part of the Book of Mormon and don't really give either of them a chance.  I've learned from my own experience (and millions of others have as well) that if you have an honest desire to know if this book is true, that you WILL receive an answer.  It is true! It has changed my life and I know it will change the lives of everyone who reads it.  What a blessing that is!
On Friday we had an awesome opportunity to teach a young man named Wes who is 20 years old.  He went to a church in Wellington that a lot of young people are attending.  We had met with him briefly before during the week and explained a little about Christ's Earthly Ministry and Atonement, briefly about Gospel Dispensations, and challenged him to baptism when he knows this church is true.  He accepted and is on date for the 17th of August.  On Friday we really dove in and presented the whole first lesson. He seemed interested and it all clicked in his head.  When we were explaining the cycle of gospel dispensations and apostasy he really connected with it and said that it made sense.  When we started talking about the Restoration the Spirit in the room intensified.  As I was explaining the story of Joseph Smith the Spirit was so strong and then I shared the first vision.  I looked Wes straight in the eye and said it "I saw a pilar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.  When the light rested upon me, I saw two Presonages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air.  One of the spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other, 'This is my Beloved Son, hear Him.'" Wow.  The Spirit flooded the room.  At that moment, I knew, undeniably, that the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth, and what a blessing that was.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I am helping to share the greatest message the world has known since the time of Christ himself.  Wow.  What a privilege.  We invited Wes to come to church and he said he would.  Sure enough, he made it! Some of the members of the ward really took to him and began fellowshipping him.  This kid has a really bright future in the Gospel and I thin he's really going to love it.
On another happy note, we had a second investigator come to church this Sunday.  His name is Richard Strickland.  He's married to a member of our ward and he's been raised Presbyterian most of his life.  We invited him to come to church and he said he would like to.  He and his wife came yesterday and during our potluck yesterday he said that he loved it.  He loved how we listened to sermons and then we were able to split off and really dive into the word. Both Sunday School and Elders Quorum were about faith and we had some really good teaching going on.  He loved church and I think the Spirit will be able to teach him a lot as well.  
That's about all I can think of this week. I hope everything is good at the homestead and I'll continue to pray for all of you.

Paz, amor, e felicidade! Amo voce^s!

Elder Trent Evans

P.S.  When I put random characters after letters (voce^s for example) the accent is supposed to come on the preceding letter.  Hope that makes sense.  

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