This week was another really great and really hard week. I am amazed every week how miracles just keep coming. I'm realizing, they've always been coming, I'm just beginning to notice them more.
Anyways, so on Tuesday we had a lesson with Kenneth about the Book of Mormon. We got there and he had lots of great questions about the restoration pamphlet we left with him. He read all of it! He was upset at the end because he looked up all the scriptures in the Bible, but he didn't have a Book of Mormon to read those scriptures! So he ate it up! We really were so excited to share it with them. This book is incredible and it will change anyone's life who reads it. So we showed that to him. At the end of the lesson, we knelt down and invited him to pray, he was hesitant, but he agreed. We helped show him how, and he started to slowly pray. There was a long moment of silence after he said "Heavenly Father...." and I was praying so hard for him. It really was one of the hardest times I have prayed for someone on my mission. I was pleading for Heavenly Father to help him to pray and especially to feel the spirit. He gave such a simple and beautiful prayer. The spirit was definitely there. Elder Gorringe and I were ecstatic after! There is nothing else in the world that can bring that joy! Hearing someone pray for the 1st time and feeling it... ahh! It was amazing. JOY.
The next morning/night we had to get up at 2:18, yes 2:18 AM, so we could drive to Sandusky to hear from Elder Shane M. Bowen who was coming to visit our mission. And St. Marys is the furthest away in the mission, so we had to get up early. It is super weird to think I could have driven in less time from St. Marys and gotten home (to Indiana) quicker than we got there. Anyways, I was SO tired. It felt like a battle to stay awake the whole drive. It really was a miracle that I stayed awake the whole drive. Not only that, but during the whole meeting with Elder Bowen. It was SO good. We received so much guidance and were definitely uplifted. He talked a lot about getting rid of artificial limitations. Sometimes we tell ourselves, "Oh that can't happen here...we don't baptize in this area..." or things like that, and he said "Get rid of them! They're not true!" It was a great meeting.
Yesterday, at church we anxiously anticipated our investigators coming to church. We called all of them the day before to invite them, we had 3 new investigators that week we invited, we did all we could. We sat in the chapel waiting...but no one came. Church was so good. It was SO spiritually edifying. I left feeling stronger and closer to Christ. I left having my questions answered and knowing what I can do better this week. It was so good. I felt heartbroken for all our investigators. Not because of the numbers of having 0 there, not because they need to come before baptism...I felt heartbroken because they missed out on that. They missed out on that strength that comes from church. I wish so badly that any of them would have come. I am sad for them, but not discouraged. We just have to work harder to get them there! We really do them no lasting good unless we can get them to come to church. They have to come for themselves otherwise the spirit they feel is just temporary.
We are still seeing so many miracles here. We are finding prepared souls everyday who need this Gospel. The spirit is truly guiding us and so many amazing things are happening with us and with the members of the branch. Our key indicators have been improving every week and the branch is getting more excited about sharing the gospel! This week, I studied Jacob 5:70-72, where it talks about how the Lord is laboring with His servants in the vineyard. I heard someone say this week, "Well He isn't laboring with us yet...", I felt a little defensive (I know I shouldn't have). I said, "I KNOW He is. I feel it. I see it everyday. The things that are happening here could not happen without Him."
I know that He really is laboring with us today! The Lord's work isn't some future thing where He will come and "finish up" what we missed. He is fully invested, 100%. He is even more involved and cares SO much more about this than we ever will. He is so much more involved in this work than we can even imagine. This work is a joy because He is laboring with us, we have no need to fear or be discouraged because the Lord is on our side! I know these things are true.
Things are going great. Conversion takes time, so it is teaching us patience. But I know that when the Lord is working with us and within us, it comes. Thank you for all your prayers! I love you all so much!
Elder Heath Tenney