This week seemed to rush by. Everything about it seemed to just zip
along. There was a lot of good things and bad things and sad things
and wonderful things, but most of all, these were all missionary
things. This has been the first week since I have been out that I felt
like I was an actual missionary. I'm not so much of a young,
inexperienced kid so much as a missionary who is fully grasping the
purpose of the work and putting it to good use. Don't get me wrong,
I'm still inexperienced and unknowing, but I am finally gaining
confidence. Confidence is a term that accompanies me on the stage of
theaters, but I mainly was shy and not very bold in other aspects of
my life. Now I am getting the hang of not only knowing that something
is true, but also being BOLD with it. The message I have is important!
Listen up! I'm a very submissive, casual person, but I'm getting the
hang of this confidence thing.
I was driving the car after a dinner appointment and we were listening
to some church music. It was here that I found out that Elder Tovar's
favorite band is The Doors. So not only is this guy a wizard at
soccer, from the heart of Mexico City, one of the most respected
missionaries in the San Antonio, and a fantastic cook, his favorite
band has Jim Morrison in it. This guy is great. The rest of the night
I had "Riders in the Storm" in my head as we cruised through the
blazing heat of Texas, through neighborhoods and lush grasslands that
seem to sprout from the cracks of suburbia here in San Antonio.
Last week I talked about how I struggled to find love for other
people, including strangers. That sounds bad, but surprise, I'm human.
Luckily, God answered my questions and relieved my thoughts. People
have been so nice to me this week. We were walking down the street to
visit one of our investigators when we saw a man barbecuing in his
front yard with his kids. We were simply going to leave a card with a
picture of Jesus Christ and our contact information on it, but the man
refused to let us go until we had some of his barbecue wings. And oh
my goodness, The wings were from heaven I tell you.
Now, a complete stranger just shared with us one of the most
delicious, delectable things that I didn't even know existed, and I
feel so much love for him now. I wonder if converts to the church feel
the same way.
We were teaching one of my favorite investigators of the church is a
16 year old named Matthew who understands doctrine better than most
Bishops and Seminary Teachers. He also is completely devoted to
martial arts and studying literature and religion. In his house he has
copies of Dracula, Les Mis, the Quran, the Torah, Old Man and the Sea,
and he just reads them when he isn't working out. Sometimes he has the
best questions ever. For instance, when we were talking about how our
bodies will be perfected after the resurrection of Christ, he stopped
us in mid-sentence and said, "Wait, so if I wanted to split and Oak
Tree in half, by kicking it, I could do that?" You bet, buddy. You
Sadly, he doesn't want to be baptized in the church quite yet, but we
did have someone who did just get baptized. It was my first one! I
didn't get to baptize him, but to quote Paul, "For Christ sent me not
to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (1 Cor 1:17). As a missionary,
our goal isn't to dunk people into the waters of baptism and get them
into church and be a weird mormon like me. That's not my goal at all.
It is to invite others to come unto Christ to help them receive the
restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to help others understand
that if they want to know their God more, and to serve him, then
baptism, faith in Christ, repentance, they are all part of coming
closer unto Him. Our message invites people to give them a knowledge
of their own, so they can participate in beautiful ordinances and
covenants, such as baptism.
And believe me, it was beautiful. The spirit was so strong there as I
taught Thomas the lessons and saw him be baptized in front of his
friends, both members of the church and nonmembers. And the spirit
professed its presence ever greater when I was able to lay my hands
upon Thomas' head, along with my companions and the Bishop's, as we
gave him the gift of the Holy Spirit. If There is one testimony that I
can leave to you, my friends, my family, my loved ones, sons and
daughters of God, it is that He Lives! And that he has a plan for us,
and you can find it in its fulness in his church, the church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints.
I wish to finish this brisk email (But one written much better than
last week's. I reread it after I sent it. It looked like I took my
thoughts into a blender for 5 minutes and them spilled them onto a
page) with a piece of personal study from John 12
35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with
you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he
that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the
children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did
hide himself from them.
I only have 23 more months of walking in the light of Christ
continually. That's it! Then I'm off to the world, where finding,
clean, simple, loving light can be hard at times. When we feel the
light, happy, joyous, thankful, what shuold we do? Hold on to it. Take
it for everything it's worth. When you offer some time up to read the
scriptures, make it worth every minute. If a stranger says hello on
the street, smile and make a stranger a friend.You'll notice that the
moments that you have light will grow longer and longer, and
eventually, you won't find that it is missing.
There is a God, and he loves us.
Elder Richard Hall
P.S. Here are some pictures from the baptism! And a bonus of my
companionship and a member of the congregation who's about to serve a
mission in England. I got to know him well in this month.