Happy Father's Day to all you Paps out there! Y'all are so great and such wonderful examples to me.
This week was full of miracles! I wish I could share everything, but I will just have to stick with a few highlights.
We went on an exchange with the Denham Springs Zone leaders and I got to exchange over in their area with one of my good buddies I served around earlier in my mission, Elder Orison. We started out planning to just go tracting for a little bit before a couple other visits, but the miracles were just so evident that we ended up just meeting people in that housing area almost the entire night! The miracle I want to share from that experience though was when we met this small humble family witha Mom, three kids ( 4,7, and 11) and a rampant old man, bless his heart. The mom immediately invited us in and we could see that they were still recovering from the massive amount of flood damage to their home. She told us that when she first saw us wave at her down the street (don't even remember waving, but amazing to think about the small things that cause a huge impact) as she drove passed that she knew we would come find her family. We were able to teach the restoration lesson to her and the 11 year old son, Josh. As we shared the loving message of the gospel she told us that she was "feeling a good vibe from us." Haha that was so cool to tell her it was the spirit. And since Elder Orison and I had made it a goal to extend two baptism commitments, we were blessed to have the opportunity to do it! She told us that she had never been baptized before and felt like that would be something special for her and her family. I know that Heavenly Father is there and he hears and answers our prayers. That was a special experience for me, because i truly felt like that family was prepared for us to find them. And it only took 10 houses to get there :) Later that night we met with 2 RM's that were married, but a bit less active. Such a nice family with strong testimonies, but just got a bit distracted it seems. The wife is from Nicaragua and got baptized when she was 15. The miracle though was that she asked where I was from and when I said Pocatello, Idaho she was stopped in her tracks. The missionary that baptized her was from Poky. Not sure if anyone knows Jason Summers or his family? But please let me know if you do! Either way, it reminded her of the day she got baptized and the feelings that she felt that day as well as her mission experiences. She was so excited. She told us that she knew I was sent there for a reason and she needed to start coming back to church! It was unreal. The Lord truly guides us to where we need to be.
We have been working very closely with Part members in the ward and Less actives with non member family members and have been seeing a ton of opportunity for sharing the gospel. We have noticed that when we focus on teaching about family history within the Restoration lesson it brings the spirit so much. Families truly are the center of our Heavenly Father's plan.
It has been so cool taking a younger youth, Joseph Sant out teaching with us. He turns 16 in a couple weeks so we had to get permission to take him out teaching, but he has seemed to really enjoy it! He told us the one day we were with him, "So do y'all always have this much success?" And I honestly didn't even think it was that good of a day hahahaha. It made us really think about the small tender mercies. When you look at the small miracles and blessings though, it truly is amazing what the Lord does for us. He helped us visit a RC that we are helping read since he is a bit educationally challenged. He is doing so great though! We are helping him read the Sacrament prayers so he can start blessing the sacrament on Sundays.
On Friday we went to visit someone in the ward and ended up getting invited to this big neighborhood bible study! Sister Theirry from the ward was there and she introduced us to all her friends. There were 6 other people all non-members just having a study! It was so awesome. She was like, "these are my church members. my missionaries." Classic! We ended up staying for the study and read in Romans 8 about love. the lady holding the study told us she met with missionaries like 15 years ago and has always wanted to come to church! So sister Theirry invited her for next sunday :D
Alright the highlight of the week though was Elder Parker, an area seventy coming to the Baton Rouge Stake Conference! Just picture this: a really big African American guy that grew up Baptist and was converted at age 22 lighting up the podium with his energetic, hand motions, totally mobile, and intense southern preacher feel from Atlanta Georgia. You got it?? It was so awesome! only a guy like him could get away with that southern baptist preacher feel in sacrament meeting LOL. He told us his story too: He was in the military and out at war when he found himself trapped in a fox hole with 5 other guys. Long story short, he was the only one to make it out alive and while he was in the hole he remembered the missionaries knocking on his door. He remembered that they taught him how to pray and so he prayed that if he made it back safely onto U.S soil that he would turn his whole life to God. He made it back safely and 5 days later the spirit nudged him to remember the promise that he had made. He then called the missionaries and got baptized! Such a stud. Later someone told us that he had a brother who was a huge baptist preacher of a Mega church in Atlanta. And to be considered a mega church it has to have over 10,000 members. Well, his brother has 12,000 members and one time he let Elder Parker speak for 30 mins. Elder Parker told him that if he wanted him to testify of Jesus Christ he was going to have to use the Book of Mormon as well. His bro was okay with it, so he preached and had tons of missionaries come. He told him that he wouldn't give any copies of the B.O.M out inside the church, but the sidewalk was a different story haha. So he had tons of missionaries come and bring boxes and boxes of B.O.M's to give away outside the mega church. So basically those missionaries had referrals for ever! I just wanted to share that story, but seriously this guy was so cool! You can just imagine that Baptist Preacher style sacrament meeting talk from this member of the Seventy. And he bore such a powerful testimony of missionary work and got the members all excited.
Well, it was such a great week. I love y'all so much. You are such great examples to me. I hope everyone is doing fantastic!