So, as you may or may not be able to tell, I am highly upset about how quickly this transfer is passing. HIGHLY upset. I mean, COME ON!!! A transfer is only 6 weeks, and we're already summing up week 4?!!! ARGABITE!!!!
Now that that is out of my system...hey y'all! I've only got a few minutes left, so I'm skipping all the pleasantries and getting right down to the good stuff!
This week we had a breakthrough with one of our investigators, Honor. Sister Woods came on an exchange with us, and the three of us headed on over to talk to Honor and Damian. Our plan was to give them a "Kikuchi First," the method that we'd practiced with Elder Kikuchi. The whole goal of the lesson was to get the Spirit so strong in the room that we'd be able to point out exactly what it felt like, and then transition into how we can feel this all the time. We had just barely gotten started talking about 3 Nephi 11 when Damian was called away. I won't lie, I was bummed. We'd been trying for AGES to get Damian to stay through a whole lesson so he'd feel the Spirit too, and want to get back into church. But it ended up being good that he left, because we got to have a one-on-one...or rather, three-on-one, I suppose...with Honor.
We read together the first half of 3 Nephi 11, and Sister Woods shared how important this chapter was to her. Honor then mentioned that she didn't really know whether Christ was a real person, or rather just an inner feeling. Sister Woods looked over at Sister Pennock and I; I felt like I just had stuck my finger in an electrical socket. We were teaching the completely wrong lesson! Sister Woods looked back at Honor and asked, "So, you're really wondering about the nature of God?" Honor said, "Well, yeah. I guess I am." At that moment, we chucked our beautifully planned lesson out the window, and proceeded to fly by the seat of our pants...or skirts, I suppose.
Sister Woods told Honor that she had a loving Heavenly Father who knew her and cared about her personally. We briefly talked about the pre-mortal life---that we all were spirit children of God, and that we had lived with Him before we came to earth. Naturally, the topic turned to Jesus Christ, and Sister Woods began to talk about the Atonement. She paused, looked Honor right in the eyes, and asked, "Do you understand what the Atonement is?" Honor replied that she didn't; she recognized the term, because she was Catholic, but she told us she'd never really understood what they were talking about. Sister Woods explained that because Christ died, we all have the opportunity to live again. She said that this was only part of what the Atonement was, and she looked over at me. I pulled out my Bible, and prepared to search quickly for the right chapter that talked about the Garden of Gethsemane. I had another shock to my system as my scriptures fell---I mean really just opened by themselves---to Matthew 26. I stared at the words in awe for a few seconds, and looked up at Sister Woods. I whispered, "This is obviously the right thing to be teaching, because look at where my scriptures just opened to." She looked down, and then looked back at me and smiled. I had goosebumps everywhere, and that alone was a testimony to me that the Holy Ghost was very present in that room.
I turned my attention then to Honor. I started to briefly explain about the events leading up to the Savior's entering the garden. As I hope I always will, I got teary when I talked about Him praying and asking if there was any other way; and upon realizing there was not, He then said, "Father, not my will, but thine be done." Honor and I were looking right at each other as I explained why the Savior was suffering in those verses---that He was taking upon Himself all the sins and mistakes of the world, yes, but also all the pains, the sorrows, the afflictions of the world as well. I said, "Because of the Atonement, because of His willingness to go through it all, He knows exactly how we personally feel while we are struggling. He went through all of that so that we would never have to be alone." Honor then began to cry. She told us that she'd been really struggling lately, and that she had felt all alone. Sister Woods got up and went to sit by her, and gave her a hug.
I waited a minute, and then I suddenly felt that I should tell her something that had only occured to me right before I left on my mission. I said, "Honor, even if everyone else in the world were perfect, and you were the only one who couldn't make it back to our Father's presence on your own---even if you were the only one who ever needed the cleansing and the healing the Atonement brings---your Savior Jesus Christ would have gladly gone through it all, just for you. Your Heavenly Father would have wanted that so He could hold you in His arms again. That is how much you are loved. That is how precious you are in your Father's eyes, and in your Savior's eyes."
Honor really began to cry then. The Spirit was so incredibly strong in that little apartment. We all bore our testimonies of the power of the Atonement in our lives, and we talked more with her about different things. We ended with a prayer, and we all gave her a big hug, and told her we'd come by and see her the next night. As we walked out to Sister Woods' car, the three of us were in awe at the turn of events. We were very grateful for the chance we had to be a part of helping Honor realize who she really was, and helping her have hope.
(Holy crow, I have like two minutes left, so I'm sorry, but I've got to do reader's digest style!)
Sister Pennock and I went back the next night, and we witnessed a miracle. Honor had read (not the miracle) everything we'd suggested, and SHE UNDERSTOOD IT ALL. Honor is very dyslexic, so this was a HUGE deal! She really understood it, and was asking us questions. We answered most of them, and then set up an appointment to come back later.
Skip ahead to Sunday---Honor was sick, so she didn't get to come to church, but she wanted to. We went over on Sunday night, and she asked all sorts of questions about church and who spoke and what the lessons were about. We filled her in, and then we started talking about faith. We watched "Finding Faith in Christ" with her and Damian, and talked about some of the scenes from Christ's life that the movie portrayed. Talking about faith lead to talking about repentance, which then in turn lead to talking about baptism. Honor brought up the subject, surprisingly, and asked about the covenants we make at baptism. We explained them, and then Sister Pennock, following a prompting of the Spirit, asked Honor to not only pray to see if baptism was a step her Father wanted her to take, but to pray about a specific date. AND SHE SAID SHE
WOULD!!! We gave big hugs, said goodbye, and got back in our car, and proceeded to flip out. WE HAVE A COMMITED, PROGRESSING INVESTIGATOR!!!! Truly, God is a God of wonder and of miracles!
And that is all for me, folks! I'll keep y'all updated, I promise. Please pray for Honor! Pray that she will be able to recognize the answer that God will give her.
I love you all!
Your Friend in the Faith,
2 Corinthians 4:5
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.