The news is true! As true as the blue book is true! I am being transferred! only my 3rd area in more than a year on the mission, but no one is complaining here! My final week here has been far more than i could have ever asked the Lord for! I will get right to the good stuff! It will need some back story!
We met Alicia and Brian stewart, and their 4 kids more than a month ago. We just street contacted into them. They were gardening in their front yard, and they felt bad for us biking in the sweltering new england heat. They sent us on our with with an apple, a pair, and waters, but we got from them what REALLY mattered- their phone number! (haha).
after calling and setting up appts and swinging by, a little over 2 weeks ago, they invite us over for dinner (it was a delectable dinner, btw). We spent the night getting to know them- She is the Lay Leader at the Methodist church in providence, and thus extremely active. He is also yoked in the church and very religious. This caused us to move forward with slight trepidation. We didnt want to say a wrong word and leave this house with more than a little compunction for what could turn out to be one of the greatest blessings ever! We taught a simple lesson one- The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They understood it very well, but were not totally sold on the idea. We left them moroni 10 and the intro to the BofM. They did it, decided to do their own research online (to which they found many outlandish things) and then, unbeknownst to us, called up their cousin Lenny who lives in Salt Lake City, is a Doctor, and who also joined the church in Rhode Island when he was 17.
That was last wednesday. The very next day we had district meeting. We recruited these 2 freshly returned missionaries living in a bordering town to come and give us a training on our purpose, because the sisters told us that they were super awesome. They both served in Salt lake city, and have been married for a year. They came to our district, and threw down the most contentious, bold, and correct training ever. They told us loud and proud that our purpose was to baptize. It isnt to make cookies and help others feel loved(sorry sisters), it isnt to provide service or to teach the gospel to those who will listen. our purpose is to work with those that are willing to join the church of christ, and get them baptized! Ive still got my own reservations about this philosophy, but as far as i am concerned, the gist of it was that we need to be inviting more people to be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority.
The next wednesday rolls around, and as elder walk and i are planning our lesson for alicia and brian, we decide that this couple from scituate is right. We need to make sure we are working with those that will be baptized, and invite everyone to baptism. We were scared inviting, what seems to us as a methodist bishop of sorts, to be baptized, but we decided to do it anyways.
We come to their home, and they feed us a great dinner! We have great discussion, and tell us all about the phone call they had with their cousin lenny. i wish i could tell you every detail about it, but in short, they REALLY felt the spirit as they spoke with him. When they called him up, he was preparing his lesson for sunday! This man is fully active and serving in the church, reaping the benefits of activity in the church. He bore his testimony to them that they must find out the truth of our message, from god, for themselves. They told us how they could tell he was smiling over the phone, and as Alicia is telling us all about how happy he sounded on the phone, and how logical the church sounds, Brian interrupts her and says to us ” i love how Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus, because if that happened in Old and New Testament times, why not now?” there were a multitude of instances like this, and its positive to say that chills were going down my spine the whole lesson. The spirit was so strong as THEY testified to US of the restoration. We taught about prayer, and I invited them to both follow the example of Jesus Christ and prepare themselves to be baptized by someone holding the restored priesthood on september 14th. They looked at each other for about 5 seconds, then brian looked at me and said ” Im ready.” Alicia concurred and then we wrapped up the lesson with an inoculation against those that hate us and will traduce us, and after it we prayed and left the house.
They came to church yesterday, and LOVED it. Alicia told me that it was exactly what they have been searching for. She said the methodist church was just not fulfilling her spiritually, and this was what she and her family needed. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WANT TO DIE OF HAPPINESS!!
This is the BIGGEST testimony to me that God truly has a plan for us. For so many reasons. 1st, because their cousin lenny is the most crucial player here. without him joining the church 34 years ago, this wouldnt have happened. I have served in Warwick the past 7 months, and have, id say at least many times a week, prayed that we will find a family to teach and baptize. we have taught 4 or 5 families since i have been here, and The stewart family is truly my answer to prayer. this gives me the STRONGEST witness that God is my father, and hears my prayers. all i can do is stand here with my jaw dropped. i am so blessed. but also SO BUMMED THAT I AM LEAVING WARWICK AND WILL NOT GET TO TEACH THIS FAMILY THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH! elder walk is training a new missionary, and it makes me very happy that this greenie will have such propitious circumstances to enter into!