Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Blessing- Week 105

As I have prayed and thought and reflected I continually question how I can put into words all that I have felt, experienced, learned, grown, and changed to be forever a better man and friend over the last two years?
I am now and will be eternally grateful for how the Lord has infinitely blessed me. I will share just four ways from this last week:

Miracle #1:
We met Alex last week, and truly it was a miracle of itself how God's timing is always so perfect and led us together, for only a few minutes and were able to set an appointment to come back and see him. We met him while we were out with Kherissa last week so she came with us again to visit him and it was such a happy and simple and really spiritual experience. God's love was manifested to each of us as we talked about simple truths of the reality and love of God, Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice, of prayer, of the Book of Mormon and all scripture, and especially of the importance and blessings of family. He is from Africa and primarily speaks French but is incredible fluent in English and has only been here for about 8 months. It was such a powerful reminder to me of God's love and of the simplicity and beauty of His gospel for which I am eternally grateful and infinitely blessed.

Miracle #2:
One of the summer sales guys in the ward is Allen and he met with missionaries last summer, attended a YSA and family ward when he went home over the year and is talking with us again and we've had some really spiritual visits together that have uplifted and edified us all and caused an increase of each of our faith and in that process we have built a tremendous relationship of love and trust and he texted us randomly on Monday and asked if he could call. We were out for dinner but were able to take his call right there and then and he asked us some great questions that he said he feels is at the root of some of his hold backs with completely joining himself to the Church through baptism and confirmation and they are questions that he has had for a long time but hasn't felt comfortable sharing with others or talking with missionaries about them but because of his trust and the spiritual nature of our relationship he feels ready to talk about some of those questions and sincerely seek and learn answers. That friendship is one that the Lord has made possible for which I am eternally grateful and infinitely blessed.

Miracle #3:
John moved from his apartment this last week into a home and asked for our help so we and one of his friends, Jamison, were all able to go and try to do some good. While we were helping him move we watched him put a few things in his backpack and lastly he took his Book of Mormon and set it gently on top. We inquired about it and he said he has only read a few versus but loved it and is so excited to read it and wants to have easy access and keep it with him. After everything was moved and done we were able to stand and talk with John and Jamison and through the conversation we mentioned something about how important it is to have a change of nature and not just a change of behavior and a couple minutes after that John stopped us all and said "You said something interesting there that I want to talk about more..." So we were able to have a beautiful talk about  conversion, about Christ, about change and repentance and the role of the Book of Mormon in such a change and each of us in one way or another shared stories and experiences about times where our nature was changed and not just our behavior. They both agreed to come to church and seem enthusiastic about learning more and diving into the Book of Mormon. The Lord truly has prepared them and was there, for which I am eternally grateful and infinitely blessed.

Miracle #4:
One of the members of our ward told us of a woman she knows named Jackie and of her family of 5 children and how she has been to church several times before, how she has a Book of Mormon and her son has already begun reading it, how she has seen parts of general conference twice and how she is from Uganda and has a beautiful story. So we had the pleasure of getting in contact with her and set up a time that we could meet her and her family and learn of their story and talk more about the Savior and His Church and the Book of Mormon. She would go with her family to a family ward and not to the University Ward with us so we went with the Elders that she would be able to meet with and go to church with in the future. We were able to go and met all of her beautiful little kids and we talked with them while Jackie went in the kitchen and made us all breakfast. We were able to talk with all of them together about the Restoration of the gospel, of Joseph Smith's experience seeing God our Heavenly Father and His Son the promised Messiah Jesus Christ, of the true power of prayer and the miracles that come from God, and of the Book of Mormon. She had already read from the Book of Mormon that morning, two of her girls downloaded the gospel library app we felt the Spirit all together so tangibly. I know that families are ordained of God and that all of this is true. I've given my life to it and for it the last two years and am eternally grateful and infinitely blessed and feel all I can do is give everything I have for the rest of my life. May God bless each of us with His love and to walk in the light, as He is in the light, in our path and journey through mortality back to Him.

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks