This week was great. The title of the email is the title of the song Elder McKay and I performed for our ward party, and for the stake nativity exhibit this past weekend. He sang, and I played the piano. Shout out to Sister Gibson for helping me with my very limited piano abilities. It's a really cool song that I think was a Negro slave spiritual at one point. There are some weird chords that I played. We'll have to do it for the recorder, and then I'll send that home. Elder McKay is an awesome singer. He really brings the Spirit in with his singing, and I am grateful to have been able to help him perform this song.
We saw a lot of blessings, as we have seen this whole past transfer as well. We have been working hard on finding a balance between finding and teaching. It seems that the most effective way to find is to have a specific time planned out each day to find. I think what Elder Maynes talked about was very true. When we start working and teaching, we can't forget finding. He said that eventually we would have to start cancelling appointments to make room for finding. It's very true, and I think Elder McKay and I will be implementing that soon. We have tried to make room for finding each day, and it seems that every time we go out and tract, someone is willing to let us into their homes to teach them. One day this week we decided to finish up a street that we had tracted most of, and the first door that we knocked on was a lady who told us she had just recently gone through cancer treatment and she wanted us to come back and talk to her and her kids and get more information about what we believe. As we walked away from the door after having set up a time to come back, her kids asked her who we were, and she told them, "They're men who do God's work. They're either Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons, but we'll find out." It was really cool to hear that. Then the next door we knocked on, the one right above hers, was a lady who had a baby 3 days before, and she invited us back, and we set up an appointment, but she cancelled on us via text (much nicer than just not showing up). It seems like we're constantly being led to people who are prepared, courteous, and willing to open their hearts to the gospel. I don't think it's any coincidence that this tracting success is happening this time of the year. I feel like more and more peoples' hearts open up during this time of giving and kindness. I'm so thankful for Christ and how we celebrate His birth this time of the year.
Brian and Jess are getting married on Saturday, and she's getting baptized on Sunday. Earlier this week, Jess's mom was giving her a lot of grief for jumping into this marriage, and doing it so fast. It really affected Jess, and she was crying one night about it. She even second-guessed the decision she had made, and one day Brian called us very desperately trying to get us to help Jess out and give her some encouragement. We went over the next day, and we had texted her the day before giving her some scriptures to read and some confidence-boosting encouragement. We saw them again yesterday, and Jess said that the day after we went over there, everything just worked itself out. I'm so excited for them. Bishop Ross is marrying them on Saturday, and then we're having a dinner after the wedding that Elder McKay and I are invited to. It's just awesome to have been able to see all this happen from step 1.
Our other investigators are doing well, we still have a lot of work with a lot of them to prepare them for their baptismal dates--we may have to push some back because of church attendance. There are eight investigators that we have right now with a baptismal date. Jess, Katrina, TaShanna and her daughter Abby (which we'll push back a little bit), Teresa, Kelsie, Neil, and Jess. We had a lesson with Teresa this week, and we talked a little more about the plan of salvation and where her dad is right now. She just needs the peace and comfort of the gospel. We talked about baptism with her, and she got really teary at one point and said, "Would God be ok with me getting baptized again?" She just wants to do what is right, and we talked about the priesthood authority with her, and she committed to be baptized on 1/14. Her mom who grew up LDS is very excited for her, and wants to meet us. She is just prepared for the gospel. We haven't met with Rebecca again, yet, but we will this week. We had a lesson with Kelsie this week and we talked about baptism with her also, and she was totally open to it and committed to be baptized on 1/21. We hope to be able to start teaching her husband as well. We are just being so blessed.
We in particular are concerned, and praying for Katrina. She had a baptismal date of 12/20 and yesterday she texted us saying she didn't understand what we were talking about regarding baptism and she wasn't ready. We texted back telling her she had a lot of faith in God, and she just needed to keep the faith up, and He will answer her. That comforted her, and she said she would keep reading and praying. Elder McKay and I are going to fast tomorrow for her to get this answer. I am constantly amazed at the blessings that God gives to us. It really makes me wonder why I ever doubt. At times before I've been a little hesitant to pour my heart out into the work and just step outside and work. But why? Every time we just go to work and do what God asks us to, He blesses us. It's the simplest formula or equation out there. I can't believe I ever doubt that if I work, He will bless me. Time and time again, He has proved to be completely faithful, and I just continue to try to be faithful to Him. I love missionary work. It's amazing and so rewarding. I feel closer to the Spirit more now than ever before. I've been studying Christ lately, and especially His atonement. I am completely amazed at how little the Bible shares of the atonement, and how much the Book of Mormon brings to light about Christ's infinite sacrifice for us. It's just another testimony to me of how inspired and divine the Book of Mormon is. It really is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. We put on a little fireside at the Wilzbach's last night, and I was in charge of the Book of Mormon christmas part. I shared some thoughts about how the signs given at Christ's birth were a star and light in the night. Interesting how both signs were light. At Christ's death there was darkness in the land. How can people expect there to be light when the "light of the world" was crucified? How could they not expect there to be signs of light when the "light of the world" was born into the world? Now that Christ is no longer on the earth, we are called to be the light of the world. "A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid". During this time of the year and throughout all our lives, we are responsible to be representatives of Christ, and do what he did. We cannot hide what we do. We need to be reflections of Him whose wonderful life we try to emulate. The wonderful message of Christ's birth is the redeeming message of His life, His sacrifice, and His triumph over death and sin. We simply need to try to live our lives for the "Light and Life of the world" who saved them. I love Him.
Elder Logan Bryan