Sunday, October 25, 2015

I feel joy when they do

Hello Everyone!

I don't have much time to write today.  However, there was one experience this week that really warrants writing about. One of the people we teach is an actual investigator, which is pretty rare here because they don't want us missionaries ruining them. Anyways I'm not going to give her full name, but for the meantime I'll call her Esperanza.  She's had a hard life and she doesn't believe in God, or Jesus Christ, but she's an amazing person.

During our second lesson I felt prompted to share some experiences from my life. She began to cry. I so wanted her to feel the love of her Father in Heaven, because I felt it so strongly. She then shared with us a story from her heart, unfortunately there wasn't much that I could understand, but I got the gist. I then testified to her of the love her Savior had for her. Out of the blue she asked how to pray (we had taught her the time before).  I again taught her and then asked her to pray. She acquiesced and tentatively started to pray. It was one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard, in the middle of the prayer she began to quietly sob. And never have I prayed so hard that she would receive a witness that God is real and that He loved her. Immediately after the prayer she looked up at us and said, "I know that God is real and I want to learn more of Him." She then asked about the Book of Mormon.  We told her a little about it and asked to read in 2 Nephi chapter 4, one of my very favorites. We then left.

Yesterday we again had the opportunity to learn with her. It had been a very hard day for her, and she was almost in tears by the time we walked in. When I asked, she told me more about her life, and how hard it is to be non-Mormon in a predominately Mormon school (she goes to BYU).  I cannot remember everything said, but I know that God was able to use my experiences to help this woman, and for that I am eternally grateful. We then committed her to baptism (of which she said in time, as she learns more) Although initially she said no because she thought we meant the next day.

It's challenging for me to be a missionary sometimes, because it is impossible for me to not grow to love the people. When I love them, I feel what they feel, and the same goes for my companions. When they are going through hard times, it feels like I'm going through it with them. I hurt when they hurt, I want to cry when they cry. But I also feel joy when they do. Although it is hard, I know it is a good thing because it increases my desire to be a better teacher and missionary ten fold.

We also had Chad Lewis come and speak to us. For those of you who don't know, he is a former American football tight end in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams.  He grew up in little ole Orem, Utah and played high school football.  He then served a mission in Taiwan before attending BYU.  He was pretty hilarious and seemed like a great guy, except that he sure showed a lot of pictures of himself. At one point he told us that the way to members hearts was through their children, and that we should just scoop them up and hold them. Except for the fact that it is waaaaaaay against mission policy to ever hold children. My oh my did the mission president look uncomfortable.

Also, I am in the choir, and it is amazing, mostly because of the choir director.  Thank you, Jacqueline Anderson, for recommending I do that!

I'm sorry this week's letter is so short. I really need to write down experiences when they happen because I tend to forget.

Elder Noah M. Toney

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