Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Epistle - 10.28.09

Good Wednesday everyone!

Everything here is going well. To share the best experience of the week I'm going to copy and paste an excerpt from my weekly letter to my Mission President, in the interest of time.

Last night we had an amazing experience. Two appointments dogged us, so we went to our backup of tracting a street on the other side of our area at 7:00 at night in the rain. We finished one side of the block, and at the corner on the other side was a church building. The house next to it wasn't on the property of the church, but it was a very nice looking house, and seemed like it just might be the preacher. With a grin and a bit of a joke about how we could convert the whole congregation by getting the preacher, we knocked on the door, only to have it answered by an older white man in ordinary clothes, but with a cross hanging from his neck. It turns out his name is Norm, and he is a Presbyterian minister. We sat down and I asked him some friendly questions about his denomination and the organization of his faith, very aware of my role as an official representative of our church, and knowing my duty to convey our respect for our Christian brethren. After a few minutes of that he said "now tell me about your church, you've very politely listened to me."

I very briefly outlined the basics of Christ's church, apostasy and restoration, and he commented "Oh if you had said you were Latter-Day-Saints I would have recognized you, I just didn't know the name of this "Munson" you spoke about" I explained he was the 16th president of the church and prophet of this dispensation (And that his name was Monson!).

I asked him if he had any questions that he wanted answers, intending for him to ask about our faith. He took the question differently and started detailing some details in the Bible he was searching for answers about. Specifially he referenced a time when it says within the councils of heaven an angel agrees to put a lying spirit within 400 prophets to send King Ahab to his death, that confused him, and he talked a little bit about his wondering if Everyone was saved or not, and specifically voiced his wonder about people who never hear about Christ. I bore my testimony to him that there were answers within our message, and God wanted him to have them. I asked him how, if God wanted him to know the answers, would God tell him. He answered through revelation. I agreed and asked, In the case of King Ahab how did God reveal the truth to him? And he answered "By sending a prophet". I again bore testimony that God had sent a prophet to us to answer all these things, and brought out The Book of Mormon, asking him what he knew of its origins. He explained he knew about the golden plates and translation in to English by God's power. I shared the promise from Moroni Chapter 10 with him and he explained he had heard the verses before, and had in fact received his first copy of the Book of Mormon while in High School. He explained he couldn't promise to reading the Book a lot because of how busy he was, and readily agreed when I suggested that we leave a couple of chapters. We left Alma 32 and 3 Nephi 11, and committed him to read them before we came to see him again and pray in the name of Christ to know whether they were true.

I believe this was the scariest, most intimidating experience I've yet had in my mission. It was made more scary because he was honestly listening to us, not simply rejecting what we had to say. That meant that we honestly had an opportunity to teach him, and I was terrified that I wouldn't know what to say.

Scared as I was, with a fervent prayer for guidance in my heart I spoke with a clarity and conviction, teaching in a way so perfectly situated, linking together every concern he had raised that I could never claim the words as my own.

It was biking home from that appointment that I was filled with a desire to be ever worthy of such experiences, and to stay clean from the world. I wanted to do it for Norm, and I wanted to do it for however many others I may yet be able to touch in my life.

As I stand today President, I feel very good.

Well that was one of the more exciting experiences of this week.

Also, Amanuel was confirmed last Sunday. He is ready to go and help us teach all of the Ethiopians here. We run in to a TON of ethiopians, many of which speak very little English. We have been telling President Mansell that we need an Amharic program but in the meantime now we have Amanuel on our side, a man who truly fell in love with the Book of Mormon. He told us once, "Every time I read this book, I feel happy!" And on the day of his baptism he said, "Today is a very good day in my life". Yes it is Amanuel, yes it is.

I love you all. I hope you are all doing at least half as well as I am doing, because if you were you'd all be having a great time!

-Elder Ted E. Bear

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