This past week has been one of the more successful weeks I've had, and certainly the most fun. I guess the highlight of the whole week was seeing the Danville Spanish Sisters, the self-proclaimed "Dan-chicks", help someone be baptized a member of Christ's church yesterday! I was able to go over to Danville early on Saturday morning to interview this good brother for baptism (one of the responsibilities of a District Leader). He will be confirmed a member of the church next week and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost then. He is one of the most spiritually thirsty and ready individuals that I've been able to meet. I Just wish I could have been there in person!
We also have been working with a wonderful woman by the name of J***. She and her two daughters are just super cool, and the girls are just absolutely adorable! In a way they remind me a lot of Hannah and Abby, two of my younger cousins. We first began teaching J*** after the Sisters were pulled out of Morrilton, and at first she didn't seem all that interested, just one of those "Sure, you can stop by if you really want to" type deals. But as we have been talking with her and testifying of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ the promises given in the Scriptures have been fullfilled. Her mind has been enlightened and her soul has begun to expand, as Alma 32 speaks of it. She and her daughters have been working to be baptized on July 4, so please keep them in your prayers! We last saw them yesterday with Brother Peterson, one of the greatest men in the Morrilton Ward, and the Spirit was so strong as we all testified of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to eachother. I truly am blessed to be in Morrilton right now.
On Thursday we had our District meeting, the first one of this transfer actually. The Zone Leaders were also in attendance, ELder Wahl (I arrived in Arkansas with him, no I didn't know him before hand) and Elder Crane. I honestly didn't know what it was I needed to speak on until late the night before. I've got a small notebook next to my bed at home with a pen and a flashlight because oftentimes revelation from God comes and goes in a flash, and if you aren't ready to capture it, to remember it, then it will leave you. If you show you treasure His word though by writing it down when it comes then it will come more and more frequently. This has been my experience thus far. Anyway, I probably really annoyed Elder Thomas by my constant clicking of that flashlight as more and more new ideas poured into my head. The next morning I solidified my thoughts and was able to present a discussion based on 10 questions about ourself, the first question repeated as the final question making a total of 11 questions. The questions were all about how we see ourself, and hopefully seeing some ways that we can better ourself. Sadly I don't have the little notebook with me right now, but if you want the questions just ask and I will get them to you next week. Next we focused on the Missionary Purpose, perhaps the most oft-repeated sentence in all of missionary-dom:
Our Purpose is to Invite other to Come unto Christ, by Helping them receive the Restored Gospel, through Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.
It is simple, so incredibly simple, but it literally sums up the entirety of what it is we do as missionaries. But in its simplicity I feel it is also one of the most overlooked sentences we know by heart, simply because of the fact that we do know it by heart. It was truly wonderful to be able to talk with other missionaries about what that purpose actually is, why each word was used, and then very briefly to talk about some of the other things we just glaze over in our minds, such as the Sacrament Prayers, the Lord's qualifications for Baptism (D&C 20:37), and D&C 4. I was thinking about including the Mission Song, but I thought that that would have been a bit much. ;D
Following this I was able to go on an companion Exchange down to Conway for the day. It was a lot of fun, being able to teach an impromptu class on the Book of Mormon, play volleyball with a bunch of the youth, and wash the dishes of an inactive recent convert down there, but the highlight of it all was when we were outside sharing the Gospel. The other things were nice, but they weren't what our purpose was. While we were talking we had opportunity to talk with a man for Puerto Rico. At first he wasn't all that interested, telling us in somewhat broken English that he spoke Spanish. Elder Crane speaks no Spanish whatsoever (maybe 'hola') but I know just enough to fool someone for all of about 4 seconds that I know how to speak Spanish. I like to say I know just enough to get my self in trouble. As it turns out, my repeating our introductions in Spanish was exactly what this man needed to decided he wanted to talk more with us. He invited us into his home and showed us his Bible, and expressed how excited he was to have one and that he knew enough English to read it. We began teaching him and three of his kids that happened to be in the room at the time about the Restoration and how God has made a way for us to read even more of His word, found in the Book of Mormon. He was so excited to learn about it and insisted on having the missionaries come back the next day at 11 when he, his girlfriend, and all seven of their kids would be home. "Please come back," he repeated over and over again. "Please come back. We will be here. Please come back."
I testify that the Lord is preparing the Hearts and Minds of people all around us. Our purpose is to find those that He has prepared. I know that once we not only know that this is our purpose, but truly understand what it means, God will put people into our path for us to fellowship and help bring into the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as with writing answers to prayers though, these opportunities will come far more frequently when we show the Lord that we treasure such moments and are willing to act on them. Is it sometimes a bit of a hassle to pause at the end of the night to click on a flashlight and write down a thought God just put into your mind? Absolutely. But the reward, that gift of knowledge, is far worth it. With this I can bear witness that any and all efforts, indeed all sacrifices on our part to bring another to Christ is worth it. Love one another, and let us all return home again together.
~Elder Jayden Barker
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