This week, I have realized how incomprehensible the workings of the Spirit are. It's been interesting to see things all work out exactly how they are supposed to with those we are working with, our daily plans, and even the things we study and discuss together turn out to be themes that we will need to teach someone later or that is needed at another time soon after. It's amazing to see the orchestration of God as we try to follow His Spirit more closely. Very cool stuff!
So do you remember Michael? I haven't talked about him for a couple of weeks and that is because I have not seen him for a couple of weeks. We went from talking every single day to him falling away for a time. I knew in my heart that he was going through some things He has many friends from other churches who have been working hard to get him to join their religions and have been antagonistic about his involvement and interest in the Lord's True Church. As you can imagine, this would be tough. I got to experience a little taste of parenthood for the last 3 weeks, constantly questioning whether we were doing the right thing. Before, I would be pretty forward in inviting Michael to actively be working towards baptism and setting goals with him to help get him there. But, he went into the dark about 3 weeks ago. During this time, Elder Jimenez and I felt that we needed to leave him to himself a little bit. Rather than calling him, going by, leaving notes on his door, and being more proactive about establishing contact; we would leave him for a few days and then maybe call and leave a message letting him know that we were there for him or send him a text with the same message.
Finally, yesterday we randomly went by Michael's home. We had invited him to Stake Conference over the phone a few days before and he was very excited to come see the retired 4 Star Air Force General who is now a member of the Second Quorom of the Seventy come and speak. We heard he had been to Stake Conference and when we went by his home he did not answer his door or his phone. We talked to his neighbor, Vaughn, for a few minutes who we are working with to reactivate and then Michael comes out of his home, Scriptures in hand and he was ecstatic to see us. I gave him a big hug and we talked for a long time.
Sorry for such a long background story, but here is the point- he told us all that had been happening in his life for the last three weeks since we had seen him. Even though, for the entire three weeks it was torture leaving him to himself, when he spoke with us about all that had been going on, this was exactly what he needed. Like a parent watching a child struggle, my companion and I were somewhat restrained by the Spirit. Michael had to take a few steps toward God by himself.
MAN, it was tough! I could feel that this was happening to him and it was hard not to go kick down the door and say, "We're here for you, Michael! We'll help you out!"
Letting him struggle on his own a bit was not fun, but it was what he needed and it the Holy Ghost only that prevented us from diving through his front window on a rescue mission.
But even though the time of separation was hard for little pansy, Elder Bell, Michael came out of it more converted than before. I could not describe my joy in hearing him speak words of truth, seeing his growth and light after a time of separation. Like Alma, when he meets the Sons of Mosiah and he sees that they are still his brethren in the Lord! YEA!!!!!
I wish I could tell you all the miracles that have happened to me this week. I wish I could tell you of all the miracles that have happened to me since I came to this mission.
As I spoke concerning being guided by the Spirit in studies, I feel that I should share somewhat a theme that Elder Jimenez and I have been on lately-
2 Nephi 1:13
13 O that ye would awake; awake from a deep asleep, yea, even from the sleep of bhell, and shake off the awful cchains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal dgulf of misery and woe.
This is something we have all experienced at one time or another- Spritual Apathy, or as Lehi says- the Sleep of Hell.
I would expound to you what we have discovered, but time will not permit.
I hope you all know how much I love you and how much it meant to have you involved in the baptism of the Atoigue's! They love you, Mom and Dad! As always, my dear family, we are connected through time and space by the Spirit. I can feel of your love and prayers. They strengthen me daily. The power of prayer is real and I can testify of that having felt yours strengthen me in times when I have needed it most, without even knowing it.