Monday, June 22, 2015

Teaching a Wonderful Couple

22 June 2015

Dear Family,

We are so happy with an investigator’s progress this week. She is an avid reader, which I love. She found a lot of books from the church that her late mother received from the missionaries and she is reading them all. She and her mother received visits from the missionaries for a long time. It sounds like these sisters visited frequently and it must have seemed a hopeless case, an old woman who was never going to go to church and be baptized and her daughter who was at this time still married to someone other than the man she was living with and had a long process of divorce ahead of her before she was going to live the law of chastity. Also she was very Catholic and not interested. I don't know what spark of hope those sisters clung to or what the Spirit directed them to do because I don't know if I would have continued to visit a family like that if they weren't going to progress and didn't seem interested but I'm glad they continued. Thanks to them this woman is so prepared. She remembers so much of what they taught her only now she knows it's true. Her mother passed away a few years ago and I am very excited to teach her daughter about family history and vicarious temple ordinances. Those missionaries who visited before have no idea how much they have contributed to the work that is happening now. I prayed for them this week and asked Heavenly Father to bless them and help them feel that their missionary service was successful.

This investigator reads the pamphlets we give her and even reads the questions and the scriptures in the back. Under the question about whether Christ's apostles knew that an apostasy would occur she read the scriptures and wrote underneath, "excellent reading." She's wonderful.

In one of her mother's books she found a picture of her cousin who was a member of the church. She told us that her cousin had passed away but that, "I think she wants her family to be Mormon." I think so too. There are people in the Spirit World who are helping us in this work. We have recognized it in several occasions this week and I am sure there are countless moments that we cannot see. Thinking about her and about the missionaries who taught her before makes me humble and helps me recognize more of the Lord's glorious hand in His own work. I feel humbled in a very positive, beautiful way. I used to think that I needed to serve a mission because there was something I needed to do, but the more time I am here I realize that I do nothing. It's already being done. God has perfectly orchestrated every detail, but He let me come here at this precise time to let me see great things unfold before my eyes for my benefit. He sent me on a mission, not to work for Him, but to let me see what He can do. I am grateful that He told me to serve a mission. I feel privileged beyond measure.

This woman we are teaching is just devouring the Book of Mormon. She commented to us that she read about a great and abominable church. She told us, "I know what that is, it's the church they baptized me in." I tried not to comment because that's definitely not part of my curriculum, but I listened as she said decisively, "I'll stick with the good stuff from my church, which is my faith in Christ." She told us about how she had spoken out about certain things, such as worshiping images and confessions, and that for the past five years she had been forbidden from entering that church. She read in Alma 32 about those who were cast out of synagogues and said, "That happened to me."

She says that if you look at the Book of Mormon from a scientific point of view, which she says is absurd, it is either true or it was written by someone who loved God so much that he wanted to improve upon the Bible and clarify it.

Hermana Fullmer had what we now know was an inspired idea to give them a copy of the Book of Mormon to give to someone. Our investigator was impressed and told us that the night before she had a dream that she was speaking with one of her friends from her church. Apparently they didn't get along perfectly. In the dream she gave her friend a copy of the Book of Mormon and told her, "Read it, compare it with the Bible, and then we'll talk."

She knew immediately who she needed to give the Book of Mormon to because she had done it in her dream the night before! My companion followed a prompting and good things are coming of it. This woman felt a little nervous about it. She said she always felt inferior to this friend who knows so much and has a lot of wisdom. Her husband encouraged her and coached her on how to start a conversation with their friend. I talked about my experience as a missionary. I love to read and study. I took a World Religions class in college and thought it would help me become an excellent missionary. However, when I arrived here all I knew how to communicate was a simple testimony of the Book of Mormon, prophets, and the restored church. I found out that it was enough. Wisdom is good but it's not how we enter doors or hearts. Knowledge alone is not how we enter doors or hearts.  All we need is the Spirit. Now I can say whatever I want in Spanish but I still stick with the basic doctrine because that's what I'm here to teach. I told our investigator to share the Book of Mormon as a gift because that's what it is.

Her husband is amazing as well. We talked about the Holy Ghost and described what it felt like. We asked him if he had ever felt that and he said that he felt it in that very moment. He said he felt it both times we visited him. We explained that it comes from the Holy Ghost and not from us and that he can feel it even when we are not there. His grandmother was a member and he remembers attending her baptismal service. He told his wife, I'm not going to explain it for you. You have to live it yourself. 

This couple are really funny together. He reads the Book of Mormon but she is rocketing through books. He talks about how she reads in the evening and as she learns something new from the Book of Mormon she talks aloud, "No, it can't be..." And then she compares with the Bible, ponders, and says, "Yes, yes, it's true." He asks about it and she says, "You won't understand." She tried to get him started on one of her rather thick LDS books but we gave him a pamphlet and told him to start with that to get the big picture at a glance and he was relieved.

We taught her in exchanges with Hermana Verastegui and invited a member. When we arrived we found out that they already knew each other.

 Our investigator went to church for the first time this week (Her husband was working) and loved it. We walked home with her and she cried. She says that everything she is learning was stored up in her and she feels like she is remembering it, waking up. She says she didn't want to brag but she thinks now that God loves her and that she is someone special. 

I'm out of time so I will have to write some paper letters about everyone else we are teaching. This couple makes me so excited that I have only written about them but they are only two of the people we visited this week.

Love you!
Hermana Eva VanCott
At church Sunday

We made a Peruvian lunch for our P-day activity with the sisters in our zone.

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