It was another awesome week! Starting out I was able to go on an exchange with Elder Allridge in Woodburn. It was the first time that I had gone tracting there for almost a year. I definitely love that place and miss it. It was kind of funny, because we had Elder Allridge stay in his area and he had only been there for 3 weeks, so it was kind of us just running around like chickens with our heads cut off, and then going back to some people that I had taught before. It was actually a lot of fun. Elder Allridge wanted to get to know the Branch President a little bit better, but when we went by his house, he wasn't there. At the end of the night, Elder Allridge and I were praying to know where to go and what to do with the last half hour of our night. We got the interesting impression to go to a specific family's house and we followed it. We got there, and the President was with them! It was so awesome to see him there, with one of the families I had worked so hard with when I was back in Woodburn. That family has definitely changed so much from when I was there, and it is amazing to see the atonement working in their lives. But we couldn't pass up the opportunity to teach with President, so we jumped right on it and started teaching the family. There was a non-member there and we committed them to come to church and they accepted. It was nice being in one of my old areas with one of my old friends who was one of my old companions! I guess it was retro day!
The night that I started this exchange with Elder Allridge, was MLC. It was such an awesome MLC. We had a little of rebuking and calling to repentance, but I have learned to love that. The mission is going through an awesome "going back to the basics" cleansing. It was fun to teach as well. In the MLC we taught about obedience being the first law of heaven, and planning, and studies. And then right after, we went on exchanges with Elder Allridge and Anzures.
The very next night we went on exchanges with the Elders in Forest Grove, Elder Clark and Elder Palmer. I served around Elder Clark as his zone leader and he is the one that wants to be a QB at BYU, and we throw a ball around sometimes when we're together. He is pretty excited to hear about Ty Detmer becoming the QB coach. Elder Palmer is the one that took over as zone leader when I left Forest Grove and is just an awesome missionary. Elder Clark is from Arizona and Elder Palmer is from Arkansas. Elder Palmer came here to Newberg with me. It is always interesting to go on exchanges with someone who doesn't speak Spanish, and it is another added weight and pressure because I end up being the only one that can speak to the people. But they are awesome opportunities to grow and exercise faith that God will truly give you the words in the very moment that you need them and that the gift of tongues is true. It's not hard to talk to people in Spanish, but it is difficult to teach in Spanish on your own, or even in English on your own, when you are so used to teaching with a companion. Companions are awesome. But we spent the day riding on our bikes and talking to literally every person that we saw. There was one point that we were knocking out an apartment complex and we didn't feel that much was getting done and that it wasn't very inspired, so we decided to go stand in the center of the complex and to have a prayer in our heart and wait and see where the Holy Ghost would lead us to go. All of a sudden someone walked out of their apartment and we started talking to him and he ended up being really interested and we gave him a Book of Mormon and got a return appointment, so needless to say, we just went back into the center of the complex and waited again until another impression came to us to go somewhere. We ended up getting 3 new investigators! It was kind of funny, but another testament that listening to the still small voice really does work, and that it's better to work smart and hard than just hard. We were in the middle of teaching a part-member family when all of a sudden one of our old investigators, that we hadn't been able to get a hold of for the longest time, came walking in. We had prayed, before we entered into the part-member family's home, that we would be able to ask someone to be baptized that day and so we were fully expecting to find someone, or have them find us, that would accept the challenge. We immediately, but subtly, changed our teaching tactic to teaching the old investigator that came walking in. We taught him from the scriptures from the chapter where Ammon cuts of the arms of the robbers, but didn't go very far because the spirit told us to stop and expand on prayer. He seemed to have a really good grasp on what prayer was, so we went more in depth with him and told him that he could receive the answer to his prayers if he just asked. We showed him a 3 minute restoration video of the first vision and gave him the example of how Joseph Smith asked in prayer what was true and right. The spirit filled the room as he watched the video of the Restoration and directly afterwards, we asked him if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the proper authority of God. He sat quietly for at least 2 minutes, no kidding, and I sat there, on the floor right next to him facing him, and I stared so intently at him as he sat there looking down at his hands. I prayed in my heart that he would hear and feel of the spirit, and you could see the corners of his mouth rise just a little bit indicating that the spirit was touching his heart. He said right after, "I just don't know if i can do it." We shared with him the scripture that talks about putting off the natural man and becoming a saint through the atonement of Christ and that he needed to put off the natural man that was trying to keep him from being baptized. After promising blessings and bearing testimony we asked him to be baptized again, but this time with a specific date of and he said that he would pray about it.
One of the analogies that Elder Palmer used as he was teaching really touched me. I thought it was kind of weird at first, but as I thought about it, it really made sense. He said that the Gospel is like a pie. In order to know if a pie is good, do we have to eat the whole pie, or even a whole slice? No, we just have to take a bite of it to know that it is good. It is the same with the Gospel, we don't have to know everything or have to read all of the Book of Mormon to know that it is true. The spirit can give us a taste of the goodness that it brings. It is a great analogy because people are afraid to take that step of faith when they can't see it all before them. They have to eat the whole pie to know for themselves and before they can say that the pie was good. That isn't what God wants, and in reality, no one has ever partaken completely of the pie other than God and His Only Begotten Son. So sometimes we just have to walk by faith.
The last miracle that I want to talk about was with Elder Joly last night. We were walking out of an apartment complex from talking with a less-active member when the spirit told us to knock a door. We knocked it and a girl in her mid-20's answered the door. She said to wait just a minute and she would be back. We were left on the porch for about 3 minutes kind of laughing as to what was going on until she came back. When she came back she told us to come in. We walked in and it was her and what I am presuming was her boyfriend. There were no chairs in the apartment because they had just moved in a week or so earlier. We testified ever so boldly of the restoration and taught all of the principles from it while using the pictures from the pamphlet. I can't even explain what its like when you are taken over by the spirit and He speaks for you. It was as if every word that left our mouth was as an angel speaking and testifying of the truth. It was so clear and better than either one of us have ever done while practicing. We invited them to be baptized and they said that they would if they came to know it was true. We ended with a kneeling prayer on their living room hardwood floor. She told us at the end that she was expecting us because she had talked to some missionaries earlier that week. Apparently the Lord led us specifically to her out of all of the doors in that entire apartment. Sometimes its crazy to step back and think about what I had just done. I literally knocked on some random door, went into a strangers home and testified of a restoration and exhorted them to read and pray and to change their life completely and be baptized. Kind of crazy and definitely something you don't get to do on a daily basis! But I personally love it so much. It increased my testimony of faith and listening to the spirit, and that the Lord really can speak to others through you if you just humble yourself. I feel as Nephi did when he said that he couldn't write but a hundredth of what he wanted to. There were so many other miracles throughout the week that i would write you about if I only had the time. But I know this church is true, and that it is only through baptism that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father.
I love you all! I miss everyone back at home, but I know that it is going to rip my heart out when I have to take this badge of !
Love, Elder Romney (: