I have absolutely no idea where time goes. It has flown since last week. It's hard to believe I'm at a computer terminal again. But anyhow...
Things here are progressing. It's still hard to find the investigators we have--many of them are hardly at home and rarely answer their phones--but with the few we have continuing contact we are seeing great progress. There is one family that we've been teaching for about two weeks now who are progressing at such a great rate. They are the Silva family. We found them through a recent convert who casually invited them to come to church and listen to the missionaries. The mom was the first to accept. Her name is Claudia, and she was very receptive to the message of the Restoration when we first talked to her. We've had several lessons with them since then, reviewing the Restoration, the importance of reading the scriptures, praying, and going to church, and the Plan of Salvation. They've been doing a lot of reading on their own, both from the Book of Mormon and the Gospel Principles manual. On their own they are realizing a lot of the things they are doing contrary to the will of God and are making plans and carrying them out to change. For example, Claudia and Julio, the dad, aren't married. She really wants to be baptized, as does her husband, and at first getting married was just something they wanted to do to get baptized. But as Claudia was reading something, she realized that the importance of being married--the severity and seriousness that the law of Chastity has in God's eyes--is so much that they are advancing all of their plans to do so. Quick side note, in Argentina, all marriages go through civil authority, not ecclesiastical authority. In order to get married, one needs several documents and to take out a turn from the civil office to make an appointment to be married. So they're advancing in that. Best part, we haven't even talked about the Law of Chastity, nor have we really mentioned being married more than that it is a requirement for baptism (among couples who are living together. They need to be living separately or get married before they can be baptized). Such progress!!!! I haven't seen it all that often. Their three older sons also will be baptized within the next two weeks. They already receive so much revelation for themselves in areas they never knew of before!
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! Of course there are the frustrations of appointments falling through and not being able to contact certain of them. And the most discouraging thing is when you know someone is progressing and they just choose not to participate any more. But then again, that is why God has given us our free agency.
Anyway, moving on. In my Book of Mormon study, I got to Alma 38 today. I'm a little behind, but I read something today that has become my favorite scripture. We all know that Alma 36 is the big chapter about repentance, it being Alma's account to his son of his own repentance and acceptance of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But the second half of the third verse really stuck out to me this morning when I read it. "...for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day." What a promise!! It is something that I have questioned several times. I've wondered how to recognize if a thought is my own or if it is insporation from the Holy Ghost. I've had to apply what Moroni counsels in Moroni 7, which is, "all that is good cometh of God." In other words, it doesn't matter. If we just trust in Him and do good, we will be supported in all our troubles, and if we endure well, we will be lifted up at the last day. This scripture has taken on such a deep meaning for me and I wanted to share it with you. Then again, I have learned so much in the last two months that has played a part in the importance of this scripture to me, and I don't have the time to share all of that with you. But that's what the homecoming talk is for, right?
I have come more and more to appreciate the guidance we receive through the scriptures. I know that the Book of Mormon is holy scripture and the word of God, just as the Bible, and both testify of Jesus Christ and His mission among man. The counsel and guidance we can find in its pages are priceless, being of such eternal value that it cannot be counted nor measured. I never cease to be amazed at what I learn from reading of the prophecies of the prophets and the dealings of God with His people. I know it is true. And we have this marvelous book of scripture thanks to the efforts of so many in the early days of the church, foremost among them Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon really is the keystone of our religion and all that we profess as a church balances on the veracity and validity of its truth. By reading its words and applying its counsels we can and will come closer to God. I know it. Iknow it.
I know God loves us. I know He has a plan for each of us, and that through obedience to Him, we can live eternally in His presence. I feel His love. I feel my Savior's love, through reading and pondering the accounts of His Atonement and suffering. I know of their love because I have felt it, and I hope you all will know of my love for you. I love you. I pray for you. And I await anxiously the day when we meet again.
Elder Matthew Dewsnup