June 1, 2015
So this was an interesting week. We had a lot of awesome plans for this week and they pretty much all fell to pieces immediately. On the down side, we only taught like 8 lessons, which is bad for this area. Plus, we were not able to see a lot of our investigators. Richmond is a lot of fun and you get to teach a lot but the people there have a hard time keeping appointments. Despite the down week teaching though, we definitely saw a lot of miracles.
First of all, we had a bunch of people placed in our path by the Lord that we were able to talk to and set up appointments with. The Lord really blessed us as we tried our best to talk to everyone we saw a lot of people were willing to listen. We were shocked at how willing people were to hear our message. Hopefully those people will act on the invitations we left them and we can teach them in the near future.
The other biggest miracle of this week was that we had a baptism! Her name is Lilia and she is awesome. I will tell you some of her story so that you can see what a miracle this was.
When I first arrived in the area we were about to drop Lilia. She had a teaching record that went all the way back to 2006! Missionaries had been teaching her off and on for 9 years, and we had only recently re-added her to our teaching pool. We planned to teach her the Plan of Salvation and commit her to baptism, but we were not expecting much since she had had several dates in the past. Her big issue had always been the Word of Wisdom and we had little expectation that things would be different this time. Nevertheless, we taught her and she accepted, and committed to keep the commandments. So we were happy but unsure if anything would come of it. In the past, missionaries had worked so hard, trying everything to get her ready for baptism. But we just committed her and said if she is ready then she is ready and we will do our best to help her. If not then oh well, maybe someday. But each time we went over we found that she had an increasing desire to be baptized and had quit coffee the day after we committed her to baptism. That is miracle #1. She quit everything all by herself, with minimal help other than support and prayers from us. We were amazed. We had set the baptism for the 6th of June but that turned out to be Stake Conference. So luckily for us, she had started keeping the word of wisdom exactly 3 weeks before May 30th. So we moved up her baptism and were praying like crazy for her to make it.
Unfortunately, Lilia forgets a lot of stuff. She is a funny old lady and sometimes we would set appointments and she would just forget that we were coming over. So we were a little concerned she would forget the baptism. Last Wednesday we scheduled her baptismal interview and told her about 5 times the date and time and who would get her and everything. We went down and she was not there. And since we were not sure if she would pass the interview we could not finalize the baptismal plans for that Saturday. So we were getting nervous. Then we tried again the next day and she was not home again. Finally, Friday afternoon we managed to get her into the interview with a miracle effort from a sister in the ward and some awesome zone leaders that changed plans for us. Sure enough, Lilia had forgotten that her baptism was the next day. Thankfully she was interviewed and found worthy. So that night we called a bunch of people and had everything ready to go. That whole experience was miracle #2.
On Saturday we went down early to Oakland to fill up the font at the ISC (Interstake Center) and got everything ready. The Thulin's a ward missionary couple (they are awesome and so funny) were the only ones there. So we were worried Lilia had forgotten again or no one had come. But it was just the door was locked. So that was a relief. She was baptized and confirmed yesterday in sacrament meeting.
I have not told this story very well, but the fact that Lilia was baptized is a huge miracle. It has shown me that there are people all around us who are prepared to receive the gospel, and that no effort is wasted. I am sure those missionaries had no idea what a long journey this would be when they talked to her on the street 9 years ago. It is on the Lord's timing not ours. Elder Schaeffer and I basically did nothing, it was all Lilia and the Lord. It was an awesome experience, and she is an awesome example to me.
That was pretty much the highlight of the week, as I said most everything fell through. We did add 2 investigators that also seem very prepared at this point in their lives to accept the gospel. I feel like I say this every week, but next week should be awesome!