This week was wonderful full of super hot sun and then super crazy torrential rain. One day we were walking in the rain, in a street that was filled with water up to our knees, when a motorcycle passed by. I think he thought we wanted to get wet or something because he accelerated and passed by us super close, covering us like a tidal wave! We arrived in the church completely drenched and covered in mud!
I was blessed this week to see many testimonies grow through trials and challenges.
Our investigator, Aldemir, until Saturday was undecided about being baptized in another church. We had already taught most of the lessons, and he was progressing (reading the Book of Mormon and praying). So we decided that it would be best to teach the commandments. Usually I don't teach the commandments until someone has actually set a date for their baptism, but we felt it was important for Aldemir. Before we started the lesson he told us he had read the Book of Mormon and had prayed, and felt that it was true. We told him that through his testimony of the Book of Mormon he could also know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints is truly Christ's true church restored upon the earth. He told us that his doubt wasn't if the church was true or not, but what direction he wanted his life to take.
We were guided to ask some questions. I asked, "what is faith to you?" He understood faith as a vague life force that comes from believing in something. We explained that belief is part of faith, but not everything. We explained that a true belief in Christ will lead us to act (following His commandments and repenting) showing our faith. Beleif + Action = Miraculous Faith. He asked how he could show his faith. And we explained through the following the commandments. We made the comparison of a kite. Many people think that the wind is what keeps the kite in the air and that the string just holds the kite back. When in reality the kite will fall immediately when that string is cut.
We explained that Heavenly Father has given us two very important strings so that we can fly to our highest potential: The word of wisdom, and the law of chastity. Aldemir likes coffee and has a girlfriend, but saw that true happiness comes from holding on tight to the strings that Heavenly Father gives us. He accepted to live these laws. Then we taught about another important commandment: Baptism. He now saw the importance of baptism, and wanted to get baptized as quickly as possible! We are really happy for our friend, Aldemir, to have the happiness that comes from living the commandments!
I was also honored to witness Tiago's (one of the member's of our ward) testimony grow through his own personal trial of losing his grandpa. His grandpa, Nelson, is a member that we always passed by in the streets, shook his had and joked around with. Tiago was really sad to loose him. But I saw his testimony in the Plan of Salvation shine as he comforted others at his grandpa's funeral. Tiago told me that he was happy because he knew that Grandpa Nelson is in paradise waiting for us.
And last but definitely not least, I was so pleased to see my family's testimony grow as the promises of the Lord were fulfilled. I recieved the call that Riley's tests where good and his port was out on Friday in a crouded bus smashed full of people I didn't know! I hung up the phone and began to tell everyone around me what had happened this past year and how that Lord had blessed my family! Many people clapped and smiled and they all accepted a visit from the missionaries. (Thanks Ri, we've got a lot of work to do now!)
Through this trial I have learned so much. I do not have a shadow of doubt that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers, that he ALWAYS fulfills his promises, and that angles are real. I am so blessed to be able to help others come to this same knowledge and joy.
Thank you all for your love and support. I hope that you all have a testimony strengthening trial in your lives that you can thank Heavenly Father for. And I hope that we can see all of our trials and challenges in this way.
I love you all!
Love, Sister Culley