Monday, December 12, 2016

The Blessing- Week 72

It was an excellent week!
I learned and grew a lot this week and was able to feel the Spirit so strongly as it enlightened and empowered me and saw so many miracles. Here are just four, that I can't do justice in typing, none the less. 
Miracle #1
-We received a call on Tuesday from a returned missionary Sister currently living in Arizona. She informed us that she had already called our Bishop and proceeded to ask us a little bit about ourselves and the work and how everything was going then she told us that she has a boyfriend that lives in Oklahoma City in our area and she just wanted to call to be ensured it would be okay for us to meet him and to work with him in teaching the restored gospel. It was an, interesting, but exciting and enjoyable phone call! I've never really been interviewed in that kind of fashion but not even 5 minutes after we hung up with her we receive a text from an Oklahoma number which read "Hello, this is Gray. Shantel gave me your number and said I could talk to you about getting into the converting process. Just let me know where and what time and I'll be there."
Shantel got home from her mission a few months ago and was in Oklahoma at a horse show and she and Gray met on the plane and she gave him a Book of Mormon! (Is anyone else impressed with this story yet?) 
We met him at the Church the next night and had an amazing conversation/discussion with him in which he first told us that he was not pursuing this because of some girl but that he has been looking for a while and he feels good about moving forward in this direction and referred to the fact that he has already prayed about it and it feels right which preceded him teaching us basically all of the restoration, told us he has read the first book of Nephi (yes, all 22 chapters). We then asked him what more he would like to know so he told us he would like to know more about the restoration of the Church/Priesthood and Joseph Smith and we talked about some of the details of those things including time-lines and honestly just a lot of stuff that typically, most people don't need to know because it would be way too much for them but he was just loving it and wanted us to tell it to him! It was crazy! He already knows what he wants/needs and we are honestly just a tool for him to get there so we are just trying not to get in his way! Haha it was such a neat experience and one I'll never forget. He is such a great guy and so prepared!  
He went to Arizona this weekend and Shantel was speaking in two different Sacrament meetings so he went to both of those. (2 sessions of church, in one day!) All he wants is for us to teach him the lessons as quickly as possible, he asked if him going to church for both of those would count for him going to church twice (so he can join quicker) and so much more. Absolutely miraculous. We will see him again tomorrow night and pin down some of the details for the rest of the timeline leading to his baptism and confirmation.
Miracle #2
-Xander is a nine year old boy that we have been working with who is so excited to be baptized! We stopped in and saw them yesterday and he told us he wants to be baptized this month and his grandma, almost pleading with us, asked if it could happen before Christmas so we, of course, excitedly told her yes and explained to them what else he would need to do to be prepared spiritually and physically and logistically to be baptized on December 24th and comfirmed/receive the gift of the Holy Ghost on Christmas day, if possible.
Miracle #3
-We are working with a father named Michael who is going through some difficult times right now but just desperately wants to be a member of the Church and be baptized and he is shooting for the 31st of this month, or sooner if possible. I will have to finish the rest of his miraculous story next week because it is a thriller!
Miracle #4
-He Is Jesus Christ is a musical performance that took place in the community and hundreds of people came to the two performances on Saturday, members and non-members alike. It was open to all but the Church (surrounding stakes) was in charge of putting it all together and had the majority presence of people involved and who attended. They requested that at least 24 missionaries be at each show to help out and our mission President told us that if someone we are working with goes then we can go. We were able to help at the 3:00 session and then to come back later that night with Michael for the 7:00 session. At that performance in both sessions I got to see soo many people from previous wards and it was so fun for me to see each of them and rekindle the love and friendship that we have. I got to see Brother Paul Vorel who was the first miraculous conversion I got to see as a missionary who was baptized a little over a year ago and he invited me to attend his endowment session at the temple this Wednesday at 7:30. I got to see many, many more friends that I consider to be family who just brightened my whole day and allowed me to reflect on so many wonderful memories and miracles throughout the duration of my mission. The performance was also so powerful and spiritual and touching that it brought tears to my eyes in gratitude and love and admiration for my Brother, and my Savior, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. What a glorious name, life, sacrifice, and gift. 

Keep the faith my dear Brothers and Sisters,
Elder Ricks

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