We were able to witness a real miracle this week. Will Thornton was baptized, confirmed, and received the Aaronic Priesthood! Will's wife Evelyn was baptized about six months ago and will wasn't all that supportive of her but little by little he became more receptive to the gospel as he saw the changes that took place in Evelyn. He had some big problems with the word of wisdom and as his testimony of the gospel grew so did his desire to quit those bad habits. By the time I came to the area he had kicked everything except one that he was holding onto and just couldn't quite leave it behind. So the first day I was here we taught Will and we made a goal for march 6 to get baptized. In order to get baptized he had to be clean from everything for one week and have a desire to not partake of any of it any more. Well we called him a couple days later and he said that he's just not ready and that its really hard to quit this last thing especially since he had already given up so much. So we met with him on Feb 27 and had another lesson with him. It went way way good, the spirit was so strong, we read with him Ether 12 and talked a lot about faith and about weaknesses and how if we give our weaknesses to the Lord He will turn them into strengths. We again recommitted him to obey the word of wisdom and to be baptized the following week on march 6. He accepted and we told him that we would keep in contact with him daily and also gave him a ton of sticky notes to put around the house, and wherever temptations are the strongest, and put on them the date march 6th so that each time he was tempted he would think of his baptism and to say a short prayer asking for strength. Well each day that we called him he said that he was good to go. About Wednesday came around and he said that he was still good but that he was really struggling. On Thursday he said the same thing but that its getting almost unbearable, he was getting way bad headaches and the temptation was almost too strong for him to handle. He asked us to give him a blessing. That night we met with him and he didn't look too good, you could tell that he was really struggling. We shared with him the story of Moses and how he saw and talked to God face to face and beheld his glory and how right after Satan appeared to him in the form of a man and told Moses to worship him and Moses said to the effect of why should I worship you, you have no glory like God does, he says I am a son of the living God, depart hence Satan. And then Satan gets mad and shakes the earth and Moses finally realizes that he can't do it on his own so he called on God and says in the name of Jesus Christ depart hence and Satan departed. We likened that to him in saying that we are each literal sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father and at times of temptations we can't always do it on our own and we have to ask God for His help and He will always help because He always gives us a way out, if we turn towards Him. So we gave Will a blessing and afterwords he said that he feels so good, and that he feels like a huge weight just lifted off of him and he realized that he has just been trying to do this whole thing on his own but he saw how he needs help from our Heavenly Father to make it through this life. Then two days later he was baptized and yesterday he was confirmed, received the Holy Ghost, and received the Aaronic Priesthood. Will was literally glowing. We had the great blessing to be able to witness such a miracle.
The new area is great. the ward I'm in is the Beacon Hill ward. It is the highest baptizing ward in the whole north western states. So far this year the ward has had 10 baptisms! There are so many people in this area that have been prepared by the Lord to receive this gospel and I am so grateful to have the blessing of being a tool in the Lords hand as He calls His children to come to Him.
My new companion is awesome, he's a 6'3" 250 lb Tongan and he is not in the slightest bit fat! The cool thing is that he is from New Zealand and our grandparents new each other,pretty well I'm sure. And I'm sure now that our moms are gonna become good friends. He also played rugby for highland, I played for United, which means that we were rival teams. Luckily we never played against each other since I'm a couple years older then he is. But its been fun because we have so much in common.
We also had another baptism on the 6th, his name is Micheal, he's 10 years old and his Mom was baptized a little while back too. We also have a baptism this Saturday on march 13. Her name is Mary Alice. Her whole family has been baptized within the past four months. She has four kids and she is getting married on the 12th and baptized the next day! We have been teaching a whole lot of people, we average about 30 lessons a week and I'm lovin it!
I'm not in Mongolia, but it doesn't matter because I'm still able to preach the gospel. Its such a blessing to enter into these peoples lives and watch as the Lord takes over and see them change their lives as they come closer to the Lord. It makes me realize how I've taken for granted the gospel in the past and makes me never want to do that again. It's such a blessing to have a prophet on the earth today to guide and direct us as he speaks for the Lord.