My amazing family!
Well this week was really crazy and really great! On the top of the list goes Jess and Brian. They got married on Saturday by Bishop Ross. We saw them on Sunday, and when Brian walked into the chapel for Sacrament Meeting, I asked him how everything had gone the day before (we didn't get to go to the wedding, it was super small), and he just couldn't stop smiling. It was awesome to see. We then had the baptism later that night, and man it was awesome! The word everyone kept using was amazing. There were a bunch of people there, and as it started, I just felt this warm peaceful feeling come over me like someone had thrown a blanket on top of me. It was amazing! I can't even describe how happy I was to see Brian and Jess in the waters of baptism, happy and full of the Spirit. I was asked to give a talk after the baptism, and I just talked about the peace that the Spirit brings. They have truly felt this peace come over them as they have made changes in their lives, and as they've given up things of the world for things of eternity. The ward bought them a framed photo of the Denver Temple, and I know their sights are set on it, and on becoming an eternal family. I'm so excited I'll still be in the mission when they are sealed, and I hope I can go.
The rest of this week was a little bit hectic and crazy, but no surprise. We went on exchanges twice. I went with the zone leaders twice so Elder McKay could do his exchanges with the other elders in our district. It was fun, and both Elder Rheingans and Elder deBruyn are great missionaries who really care and love the work. We also had the Christmas Devotional for all the missionaries in the North half of the mission which was great! I loved it, and Brother Keith Handy had an amazing presentation on the archealogical evidence of the Book of Mormon in Mexico and Central America that really strengthened my testimony. I've always loved the Book of Mormon, but I felt even more of a connection to it during his presentation--it made me appreciate my heritage even more.
As for our investigators, Katrina who was going to be baptized tomorrow is not anymore. She just isn't sure of her answer, and Elder McKay and I are pretty sure that her dad has a lot to do with her unnassuredness. Her dad is pretty against the LDS church because her mom is part of it. They are divorced, and I think he has a lot of nasty things to say about our church. Katrina is very swayed by her dad, and she doesn't want to be known as the mom-pleaser. We have prayed and fasted for her, and are meeting with her tonight. We are just going to rely on the Spirit and Trust in God that He has a greater plan that we are all part of. I hope she makes a decision and realizes she has had an answer. Our other investigators are doing well. Tashanna came to church this Sunday and she met with Bishop. He challenged her to find her own testimony and be baptized. I think Bishop is awesome, and he is a really missionary-oriented Bishop. I can't say how grateful I am to him for all he has done for our ward.
Another cool experience we had this week was with a potential investigator, Lamarr Sherrod. We tracted into him last week, and we stopped by this week to meet with him. He let us in, and we talked with him about his religious background which was going to a Baptist church sometimes with his mom and grandma. We established our expectations with him, and shared a little about our beliefs. We told him we didn't want to take much time with him, and that we would teach him more about what we believed in another appt. He just kept saying, "No, don't worry about it. I really NEED to make time for this, I need to get closer to God." And as we were leaving we told him that we would come by with the zone leaders (who cover the YSA branch which he chose to attend) for just a few minutes the next day and that we wouldn't take much time. Then he said, "Don't worry, it's not taking my time. It's time for me that I just can't deny it anymore. I need this in my life." It was awesome, and he'll become a great investigator for the zone leaders.
The problem Elder McKay and I are facing is getting our investigators to church. Granted, it is a difficult and busy time of the year for some people to find time, or to change churches and social circles, but we have really been searching for a way to help people see the importance of church attendance. It makes me appreciate even more the eight fundamentals that they teach missionaries in the MTC (pulled from PMG). They are truly inspired. "Revelation through church attendance" is a fitting fundamental. We encourage people to receive personal revelation--to pray and read and try to find an answer. We need them to also realize that revelation comes through church as well. I believe that if people came to church asking God a question in mind and expecting an answer, they will always receive that answer. There have been countless times people have said that talks in church or testimonies felt like the person was speaking directly to them. That is the Spirit answering these peoples' concerns, and Elder McKay and I are trying to help people find how spiritually enlightening church really is.
This Christmas week is going to be one full of energy and the Spirit of Christ. I have been trying to understand more fully Christ and my relationship with Him. I know that He cares about me and He knows me by my name. I know that He understands everything I go through and He has gone through all of it Himself. I know that He is on my side, and He wants me to succeed. I also know that I have to be on HIS side as well. When times are tough, when I feel alone or feel like my peace has been destroyed, I know that like my favorite hymn says, "Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side." I know that after Sunday's phone call, I'm probably going to be homesick, and I'll probably feel pretty alone or sad. But I know that all I need to do is turn to Christ because He "was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows". With His stripes I can be healed; through His love, I can find peace. I love Him and I love the work.
Elder Logan Bryan
P.S. the pictures are of President Toombs dressed up as the grinch for the Christmas Devotional, and Elder McKay and I with Brian and Jess at the baptism. It's a little blurry, I should be getting another, better quality picture soon. Love you.