This week started another transfer here in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission. Elder Andrus, my previous companion, has left and gone to the promised land of South
Philadelphia -- my birth place! I must say I couldn't have been more
thrilled to hear that such an incredible Elder was going in there to
help serve those people. My new companion is Elder Matthew Lake from
Gilbert, Arizona! I actually served with his cousin, Elder Court Lake,
in South Philly for a transfer. I am super excited. Elder Lake is a
funny guy and really hard working, so we are pumped to serve together!
He also started his mission in Bayview, Maryland, which is cool because
that's where I just came from. We had some funny stories to tell. Good
times. Everyone makes jokes with our names, "The Wilde Lake." I'm not
sure I understand it, but it humors them ha!
We had such an amazing week, busy busy busy!
This last Monday, we had such an amazing miracle. After our P-day ended,
we were suppose to have three appointments from 6-9. We weren't able
to have dinner that evening because the member got sick that was
feeding us, so he told us to come over and he would give us money to
go out and eat. We went over and he gave me, Elder Holden and Elder
Cristaldo $20 which was plenty for a nice meal at Taco Bell :) Anywho,
we continued our night and both our first two appointments canceled
which was so odd considering we confirmed them earlier. We were both a
little stressed and thought we should just go have dinner and then
make it to our last appointment.
As we got in the car, we both felt
very strongly we needed to go drive 15 minutes north to go visit a new
family we have been working with before we had dinner. As we drove up
and got out of the car, the woman came to the door and was just very
depressed. We asked what was going on and she told us her daughter had
been diagnosed with some type of illness and they needed her daughter at
a hospital in Philly by the next day. Unfortunately, this family that
we are working with has had some financial issues and she told us how
she had been praying all day to find the means to pay for her
transportation (bus and train) to get to Philadelphia. She had been
searching and asking for help but didn't receive anything. She said, "I
don't know what I am going to do, I don't know what is going to happen
if i can't get my daughter to the hospital and all I need is $20 to
pay for me and my daughter to get over there." Elder Holden and I
looked at each other and nodded at each other. We took the $20 and
handed it to her. She couldn't have been more thankful. We proceeded
to tell her that we felt inspired to come up here this evening when we
had no plans to in the first place. It was because of this lady's
faith, prayers, and diligence to search that we ended on her doorstep
Wednesday I was able to be a part of another amazing experience. We
have been teaching this man named Joe for about two months now,
but in the past he had been taught for about six months, so now eight total.
He never came from a religious background, has no belief in God,
anything. This has been a unique experience for me to be able to teach
him because typically the only people we teach are ones who have a
background of God and Jesus Christ. Joe is such a kind and loving guy,
super great. He keeps every commitment but just could not find an
answer. He isn't the most sincere with his prayers, but it's hard to
be sincere about something you've never been sincere about in the
past. However, the previous lesson we were over there we got into this
ridiculous discussion about the creation, and ultimately I invited him
to go onto the "Gospel Library" app and to search up the word
"Creation" and to read all of the tags that came up.
Of course, he kept
his commitment and when we came back the next lesson, he told us in his
own words, "I am starting to really believe that there is a God, and
what you're teaching me is really true." My jaw dropped. I was like,
"Wait, really?" I asked him what brought him to this and he said that
he read a scripture that really really touched him. In the Book of
Mormon in 2 Nephi Chapter 2 verse 13 it reads: "And if ye shall say
there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say
there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if
there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no
righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if
these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are
not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of
things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things
must have vanished away."
After months and months of reading the scriptures, coming to church,
praying, and keeping the commandments, he finally realized that the reason
he was so happy was because he was living the gospel because he was
seeing changes within himself because he felt the Spirit touch him.
After thinking about this, I realized that Me as an individual cannot
really convince anyone of anything, but the whole purpose of a
missionary is to help people feel the Spirit and help them have
spiritual experiences as they exercise faith. I told the member I was
with that night on splits--that was one of the best mission experiences
I have had thus far.
We had a few investigators come to church who are getting baptized on
the 16 of October. One named Jack, we went to the Goodwill and bought
him a fancy outfit for church for only $15 ! Looks fantastic!
This Sunday at church one of the lessons that one of the members of
the church gave was based off of a conference talk given by the
Apostle, Jeffrey R. Holland entitled, "Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders
We discussed a specific verse in the Bible, Hebrews 10:32 which says:
But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were
illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;"
We discussed how in our lives we may have such spiritual experiences,
but the second after a spiritual experience occurs, we are immediately
tempted by the adversary because he wants to drag us down called the
"post-illumination affliction" :) Anywho, the Adversary wants us to
think that we are not good enough, we can't change, we can't reach our
potential, we have no potential. He wants us to remain and never
become better. Many people tend to believe this when life gets hard,
when they meet these afflictions or temptations, but in order to
overcome these things in our lives, we need a change of perspective.
After these spiritual experiences, we can either be dragged down and
fall or rise and continue to have more. It all comes from having a
change of perspective knowing that as our faith grows, we have to live
and do certain things to grow as well or else we stumble. Most
importantly, my favorite part of what Elder (Apostle) Holland said was
that "we get credit for trying." As we try our best to do our best the
Lord recognizes and blesses us in our efforts.
I definitely know all of this to be true. I've had some very
remarkable sacred experiences here in my mission, but everyday I make
silly mistakes and I just kick myself for failing and I forget that
I'm trying my best, but that I need to realize the Lord has blessed me
so much especially on my mission, as I seek to do and be my best.
This morning my grandma invited me to listen to a talk that was given
just a few days ago on Saturday. Another one of the Apostles spoke. His
name is Dieter F. Uchtdorf and he gave an incredible talk based on
"Faith." As he was closing out his talk, he discussed and shared an
experience he had where two young missionaries many many years ago
were in Europe in a place where there was a small amount of converts
and how they had every reason to believe their efforts probably
wouldn't result in helping the people there be baptized. However, these
young missionaries had so much faith and one day felt very strongly
that they needed to knock the doors of a four story apartment. They
knocked every single door and got rejected every single time until the
last door of the whole apartment and a young girl came to the door.
The missionaries shared our unique message with her and she went and
told her mom, but her mom told the missionaries to leave because her
husband has passed away to cancer and she didn't want to talk about
God. The young girl urged her mother to just listen to what they had
to say, so finally the mother came to the door. The missionaries told
her about how the church had been brought back and then handed the
lady a Book of Mormon. The lady then read the entire Book of Mormon in
a few days and both she and her daughter were baptized. The young girl
turned out to be the Apostle's wife - pretty amazing.
It reminded me of
a story I had on my mission. I had a lovely member in Maryland who
told me that the reason I wasn't having success in the area was because
I lacked the faith to find the Lord's elect. I went home that night
and dropped all of our investigators because they weren't progressing,
I prayed so much to know where we should go knock doors the next day.
We felt so inspired to go to a neighborhood (which Elder Lake told me
this week he had tracted before. There aren't many places in Maryland,
so it doesn't surprise me haha) close by. As we went, we knocked every
single darn door in the suburb and all these Catholics basically just
told us no (to say it nicely) and the very very last door we knocked, this
Hispanic lady, Rosa came to the door. We were showing the
Easter holiday video and she began to close the door, but I felt very
strongly to put my foot in the door and not let her leave because I
knew she was the one. I did, I stuck my foot in the door, begged her
to watch the video -- four weeks later she was baptized. The Lord
works in many wondrous ways!
To close, I'm very excited for General Conference next week, having
the opportunity to hear the words of the Prophet, Apostles and other
leaders of the church. It is Christmas to a missionary to hear them
Love you all, thank you and God bless!
P.s. Sorry this one is long