30 May, 2011

May Miracles

5/18/2011 - Vision achieved!
We had a companionship vision of 8 baptisms for the transfer - we had 9!

5/18/2011 - Always preparing
This week we had a miraculous day. We had nine lessons planned, and every single one fell through. However, the Lord led us to three other investigators we needed to find, two of which are now progressing, and one who accepted the baptismal challenge! Not that we are glad that nine planned lessons fell through, but we know that the Lord is always preparing people to receive the gospel--no matter what!

5/18/2011 - Take it back!
While doing casa, a lady answers and says she has something for us. She comes back with the Book of Mormon. I’m thinking, "oh no not again" as she begins to tell us some mean and nasty things. I refuse to take the book back.  Instead, I give her my testimony that I know it’s true, that this book will bless her life, and that I was called by a prophet of God to show her the truth. My companion testified as well and then I asked her to read the book and pray specifically to know that it is true. I promised her that if she did so, God would respond. Her countenance completely changed; she started to cry and told us she wanted to keep the book and she didn’t want to give it back. When her husband showed up soon after, we went inside and talked about Christ’s Atonement. Wow! It blew my mind how the Lord can work through you and testify to others that what you are saying is true, and change what could have been an argument into an awesome spiritual experience for us as well as for her.

5/25/2011 - God is involved in His work
On Tuesday, I was on a scambio, and at the end of the day, we were headed to teach a less-active member. She wasn’t home yet when we called, however, so we were going to have a little time to some other work. We dropped by the church to drop something off, and as my scambio companion opened the door a woman walked by with her dog. My companion said, “Hey go talk to this lady.” Immediately, the fear factor kicked in and for an instant, I thought about just making up an excuse and not doing it. But the Spirit got the better of that fear and I stopped her. I made an invito, not the best one ever, and found out she was atheist and had been for 20 years.  She had seen missionaries before, but had never talked to them.
She proceeded to explain how her mother had just died and it had given her a desire to hope that there was something more than this often sad and difficult life here on earth. We assured her that there was more and that she indeed would see her mother again. Her interest was peaked. She told us how out of all the times she'd seen missionaries, they had never stopped her. She usually brushed religious people off claiming she wasn’t interested. She didn’t know why we had met, and right in front of the church at that, or why she had agreed to talk with us. We invited her to take a tour of the church and listen to a short message. The spirit was thick--thicker I think than I have felt so far on my mission. I could literally see hope coming back into this woman's life.
At the end of the lesson, she consented to pray. This woman addressed her Father in Heaven for the first time in twenty years. As she prayed to be close to her mother and to know if there was more than this, she was overcome with tears. She thanked us and asked when we could meet again. You cannot tell me that our Father doesn’t have His hand in this, His work. You just can’t tell me that. I wouldn’t believe it for a second.

5/25/2011 - Save a life
So as we were riding our bikes, I hear a voice in the background, "ANZIANI!” So I stop and talk to the man. He had talked to missionaries 10 years ago, and since then his life has been horrible. He told us that he was actually walking to the bridge 100 meters away to jump off and kill himself. He said he couldn’t take life anymore and God doesn’t love him. He started walking to the bridge again and we grab him and sit him on a bench. He said he didn’t feel that God loved him anymore, because of the things he had done and thought it would be better for everyone if he just killed himself. He said he tried a few other times. He lifted up his shirt and he had cuts all the way up his arm and his wrists. He said this was the last straw though and he just wanted to jump to end it.
At this point, he was immersed in tears, telling us that God doesn’t talk to him anymore. He said that 10 years ago, he was going to get baptized...literally. The font was filled and he was about to step in and he backed out at the last minute. He said that from that point on, his life was not the same and he fell. He said he still reads the Book of Mormon every night, though, and it sits right by him on his night stand. He said that he knows with all his heart that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet and that the Church of Jesus Christ was restored on the earth again. Still crying, he said he didn’t deserve to live. We then open up the Book of Mormon and read with him from Enos, when he’s repenting of all his sins "in a battle" of prayer with God. He didn’t want to stop and we ended up reading the whole thing. After an hour, we decided to go. He looked at the Book of Mormon, opened it with his eyes closed to a random page, and he read a random verse out loud. It was perfect. He then said how it was amazing that we came by him in those few precious seconds and it ended up saving his life. It was great. We'll be seeing him today hopefully. That was a pretty cool experience. 

5/25/2011 - It’s raining investigators!
We found one family, then another, and then we found two more investigators.  We also contacted the referral from a woman we met while doing casa, and he became a new investigator, too. In addition, an old investigator with severe family problems told me that she had just finished the Book of Mormon in Bulgarian front to cover with her mother who is very ill and that they want to be baptized!

5/25/2011 - Visualize and find The One
At the beginning of this transfer, we had talked a little bit our first night together about "The One,” the new member that Elder Kopischke had asked us to visualize every morning when we get out of bed.  We described that person to each other and carried on with our work for the night. One morning, we were doing casa down this street that my companion felt we should do.  In the last palazzo of the morning, we talked to a woman for a good amount of time outside her balcony. Then, while we were knocking doors inside, we knocked and met this nice young guy who cheerfully talked to us about faith in Christ. While we were talking to him, his mother and sister came home, and it was her--the girl that I had described just the night before! She walked up to us with a big smile and told us how important her faith is to her and willingly set up an appointment and gave us her number. I walked away ready to just jump out of my skin! I am extremely excited to start teaching her and I know that if we prepare ourselves well, we will have the spirit with us and Heavenly Father will help us bring his daughter (and possibly her whole family!) to salvation!

5/25/2011 - I frutti del lavoro
Il miracolo della settimana è che abbiamo 5 date battesimali! Pensiamo di farne altre. Dopo molti sforzi, vedo i frutti del lavoro missionario e sopratutto che start chart sta cambiando il mio modo di lavorare. Mi sento più sicuro di quello che dico e sono molto preparato! Quando le persone vedono questo, vedono in noi persone sicure di se stessi! Fra poco vedremo 5 battessimi! GEM! 

5/25/2011 - Investigators + Members = SUCCESS!
After the training meeting, we had FHE. We were super pumped from the training meeting and brought four investigators to FHE. We saw miracles from bringing investigators to member activities. Paola (who is 14 and has a baptismal date for next Saturday) was telling us she wasn’t sure if she was ready and had some doubts. After FHE, we took her to some young women who were there and they talked about it and answered all her questions and resolved her concerns. Later on the way, she told us cheerfully that she was ready and excited to get baptized! Another woman we brought (who we had just found doing casa the week before) had a lot of questions about the spirit. All the members jumped in and answered all her questions with amazing testimonies. She just cried through the whole thing and can’t wait to come back to church on Sunday! She now calls us her angels. Members can do amazing things in this work.

5/25/2011 - Listen and baptize!
This morning before coming to do email, we met with our investigator whom we haven't seen in about a week and a half, Michael. Last time we saw him, the lesson was very powerful, and with my last companion, we invited him to baptism and made him pray with us for an answer right there on the spot.
This is the first time I’ve seen him with my new companion. Because it has been so long, he was sort of was hesitating, so we read 2 Nephi 31 with him. The spirit was quite strong, and then my companion, who doesn't understand anything, suddenly tells him that we are going to ask him and important question that he must really think about (like they suggested doing in leadership training), and then invited him to be baptized. He said he would think and pray about it. So my companion said, 'pray now.' and got him to pray on the spot to know if he should be baptized, all of us kneeling around the table in silence for a few minutes. I would not have done that, because we had just done it the lesson before, but my companion didn't know that and was open to the promptings of the Spirit. Michael told us he received an answer to be baptized on 25 Giugno, and opened up to us very deeply about his biggest concerns and struggles. I love new missionaries who act on promptings even if they are scared it won't fit into the conversation because they can't understand!

5/25/2011 - Overcome the awkward
We walked up to a bus stop to wait and there was an 18 year old boy (a lot of times it's a little awkward to try to talk to other guys the same age about the gospel).  However, we began talking to him and we jumped straight into the gospel.  He opened up a bit and we got talking.  We ended up going and sitting down next to him, and we talked about some things for a while.  He is agnostic - he said he has to see in order to believe.  Then, his friend pulled up on a scooter.  We talked about some similar things with this friend, who was a bit more stubborn.  However, I got testifying about how we can know, and how I came to know, even if I never have "seen."  Then, a guy a little bit away jumped into the conversation.  He seemed really promising and I got thinking that it was a cool miracle to how we got talking to him. So, I turned my attention away from the 2 boys to this man. In the course of this conversation, I felt like I should share Ether 12:6, so I opened up the Book of Mormon and read it.  The man with whom I was talking lost interest and stopped talking, but then the friend of the first boy asked to hear the scripture again.  He then came over and copied the verse into his phone.  He said that it hit him and made him think a lot.  This boy and his friend then got up and left; we didn't get his info, but hopefully this scripture and experience will help open this boy up for the gospel in the future!  It was cool miracle that took a lot of unexpected twists and an unforeseen finish.  I'm glad we took the opportunity to overcome the awkwardness and begin talking with the teenage boy!

5/25/2011 - Endless obvious miracles
I don't even know where to begin. This week I feel like I have been floating 3 feet above the ground; it has been so jam packed with miracles! Our less active families are coming to church and activities, and one has come and taught with us. We fixed baptismal dates with the Italian family we are teaching. It was SO GREAT. We taught the Mom first, because the kids were out, and committed her to baptism. The 13 year old boy came home and we taught him the same lesson and committed him to baptism. Then, the 14 year old daughter came home, so we taught her the lesson as well and committed her to baptism. It was incredible! They are getting baptized on the 4th of July. As we were teaching them, I could FEEL the Lord speaking through me. I could feel it. Just they way their eyes were locked on my companion and me, I knew they felt it too.
On Friday night, we were finished with a lesson and had the impulse to go visit a member that lived near by. We couldn't get a hold of her but decided we'd just go pass by. We couldn't find her citofono so we just tried others, got in, and decided to do casa. The first citofono we rang let us in. We went up, entered in her house, and began to tell her our purpose. She just started crying, saying she is desperately searching for help, and has been so lost and so completely down. We told her that Heavenly Father loves her and that we were directed to her tonight. She just cried. We had a short spiritual lesson, said a prayer, and invited her to church. She came to church. We taught her again, and she came to family home evening and just cried through family home evening. She is so great! MIRACLES!!!

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