So to give a brief preface:
Our investigator (now member), has a friend that she met in an incredibly prepared way named Hermana Terry who is a member in our branch. Hermana Terry has invited her to church many times, but she never went. Then an Elder met her on exchanges and gave her to us as a referral because she lives in our apartment complex. We went to go see her a few weeks later (about my 3rd week here in Washington), and she wasn't home. We tried again, of course and she said she was really busy and asked if we could come back. Of course we did! She was surprised that we actually came back, invited us in...and last 6 weeks are history haha. She has kept every commitment we have ever given her and has even made her own. She has some incredible experiences where she found the truth of our message. She invited herself to be baptized! I could go on and on, but hopefully this will suffice as a short summary of her conversion!
The baptismal service was incredible. The Spirit was as tangible as a human touch. It just enveloped the room. My favorite thing about her is her perspective and true intent. She was baptized for all the right reasons, but one of our favorite quotes from her explains her true motives:
"So what's my temple status?"
What's my temple status. She truly has gained an eternal perspective and she understands that baptism is not the end. She knew baptism was a step toward the temple and so she took it wholeheartedly. She plans to go to the temple to be baptized for her parents as soon as possible and is counting down the days until she can be sealed for and to her parents for time and all eternity. The baptism is over, but her quest to return to live with our Father in Heaven with her family forever is not.
That is our goal as missionaries: to get people to the temple. Not to baptize people and then drop them--but to set them on the road to making and keeping sacred covenants of eternal significance. She is truly a prepared daughter of God destined for greatness. Watch out for the next General Relief Society President!!!
Her whole conversion has taught me so much. Not only to help me recognize that it's truly possible to instill the temple as the end goal, but also that conversion and the preparation of our brothers and sisters is a team effort. Members, missionaries, and the Lord. It look all three of these components to have this rock-solid investigator.
I know I probably sound like I nag on you all a lot to do member missionary work, but I just can't express how important and crucial each and every one of you are. This work literally will not function without the help, support, and preparation of members. I am not saying you need to slap anyone over the head with a Book of Mormon, go knocking on people's doors, dragging friends to church. That's not how it works, don't worry haha! But you guys play an essential role in this work and especially in finding and preparing. Your example and willingness to follow Christ works wonders, and I promise small, simple, NON-AWKWARD opportunities will come. Remember, you can be bold and not overbearing.Overbearance is simply boldness without love. Always remember to love. It is key. Share spiritual experiences as appropriate, a simple verse of scripture, a family proclamation, invite a family over for family night--anything. It's easy, natural and it makes ALL the difference. I just want to tell you all thank you for all you are and all you do. Our work is pointless without you:)
Okay, I am sure I have said more than plenty:) So just something else small for the week--
At the end of the day in my prayers before I sleep, I love to "rendir cuentas" with the Lord--basically talk about my day and what did and didn't happen. I have been applying various principles from Jacob 5 to my prayers. I like to ask myself as I converse with the Lord:
What could I have done more for [thy] vineyard?
Jacob 5: 41
Asking myself this and discussing it with the Lord makes my work and prayers so much more meaningful. As I make changes, I become better and am refocused on the things that are most important. My end goal each day is for the Lord to tell me
And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments.
And this is the blessing I promise all of you as I extend this challenge: Try to "rendir cuentas" in your prayers. This isn't just for missionaries. Is there more you could have done to share the gospel? Is there more you could have done to magnify your sacred calling as a father or mother? Son or daughter? Sister or brother? Co-worker, friend--you name it. It doesn't matter who you are, you can do it because you are entitled to the same blessings.
I am not perfect--I am far from it. But I am grateful every day that we have a loving Heavenly Father who is patient with us despite our weaknesses and shortcomings. He truly does choose the imperfect ones to do His work. What great love and trust he must have for us.
I love this work.