Well, today’s a big day. I’ve just started my last transfer on the mission and it’s a 5-week transfer (there’s 1 five-week transfer each year). I’ll be finishing up my mission serving with Elder Graver here in Klagenfurt!!!! We typically get our transfer calls on Friday and it wasn’t until this last Thursday evening that I realized that this last transfer had already flown by and we’d be receiving the call the next day. It was only then that it occured to me how much I was hoping to not get transferred and to be able to finish up my mission in this area with our investigators. Learning that I would be staying was such a relief to me and something I’ll be grateful for these next 5 weeks. I felt so desperate in my desire to stay because there’s still too much left unaccomplished here that I really hope to finish up before going home.
We’re working with many investigators at the moment, 5 of which I have the vision, hope and faith for that will be baptized before the mission drags me back to America. Although I hope to continue to work and help our other investigators progress in these next coming weeks, my mind will constantly be focused on what these specific 5 friends need and how I can help them in order to be prepared and feel ready to enter the waters of baptism by the end of this transfer if it is the will of the Lord. I hope to make their opportunity of accepting the gospel as good as possible, and I know that I’m going to need to put in a lot of work, effort and prayer to acheive that. This is why I’m so happy and thankful to be finishing up here in Klagenfurt. I’m not ready to leave these wonderful individuals quite yet.
We got to meet with Nikolas and Antonio this last week and it was a really great lesson. We read from 2 Nephi 31 together and taught them simply about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Although they are fairly young, I’m so impressed with their maturity and desire to do what’s right. We’ve been focusing on helping them know for themselves if the Book of Mormon is the word of God and if Joseph Smith was God’s prophet, and they’re definitely making great progress and have faith that these things are true.
Our lessons with Lukas continue to be incredibly uplifting and he is truly one of the “noble and great ones” on this earth. When I look around me at the unexistant morals and the filth around me in Europe, I find people like Lukas to be miracles. The fact that he understands and appreciates mature gospel principles and continues to search for the truth and sincerely rely on God at 23 years old is such an example to me. In the last lesson we had with him, I had the opportunity to bear testimony to him that he was on the right path and was making the correct righteous decisions in life that will bring him true joy. His eyes began tearing up as the Spirit filled the room and bore testimony to us all of this truth. Every member of the ward loves him and they pretty much drop everything they are doing and ask us if they can come be joint-teaches at his appointments. He’s simply a really cool hollister model that isn’t caught up in what 99% of austrian university students are doing. With each lesson, I feel more and more certain of his desire and decision to be baptized on 3.5.14.
I probably did the boldest thing of my mission this last week. There’s a part member family that we’ve been carefully working with these last 4 months without ever really teaching. The wife is the only member of the family that hasn’t joined the church for the last 20 years, but has a testimony and continues to come to church each week. She’s never really liked talking with the missionaries because she thinks we are just there to baptize her, and I could definitely sense that as I first got to know her 4 months ago. In the last few months, we have continuously brought cookies by and found many ways to show our love and appreciation for her, her character and her testimony. With time, the friendship she has developed to the missionaries in general and to me especially has blossomed.
I had the impression about 7 weeks ago to write her a letter, enclose the talk “come, join with us” from President Uchtdorf in this last General Conference, and to invite her to baptism (this invitation is the reason why she has distanced herself in the past from the church and developed a negative outlook on missionaries’ intentions). Well, I wrote and gave it to her this last week, so that she would be able to think about the invitation and talk with her own time. A few days after dropping off brownies with this letter attached to them, there was a fireside held at this family’s home. After the fireside, she came to me and seemed to be even happier and friendlier than usual, which was a great sign that the letter hadn’t done any damage. Phew!! She asked me when I would be going home and as I told her a little under 6 weeks, her husband commented that she should come to a conclusion soon if she would go through with being baptized. This was very abnormal as he NEVER talks about baptism in front of her or even mentions it to her. Things are in motion with her and the rest of this story has been left in the hands of our Heavenly Father. I’m praying that the Spirit will touch her heart as she reads the words of the prophet in this talk we gave her, confirming to her the importance of this step. I’ve learned from this experience that love makes the difference. True charity, when felt by those we are among and speak with, can lead to miracles and a change of heart.
I felt and feel so much fire behind me this week and know it will be there to propel me quicker through these next many weeks. A stumbled across a scripture this last week that I feel sums up everything.
“The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.” – Leviticus 6:13
Mit größter Liebe,