Monday, April 16, 2012

"i miss saving the galaxy" -elder sharp

This week.
I can't think of a word to describe it.
unexpected.curve balls. exahusting. no sleep. drained. testimony builder................and it's taking too much energy to think of words.
had you asked me to write this email yesterday, I wouldn't have done it. maybe written my testimony or something, but now I'm good. happy. stable and good to tell you a story.
(mom, don't be concerned. nothing happened regarding me, my safety, testimony, salvation....It was just a dramatic experience. Did you take a deep breath? ok great)
So Antonio. Yes, the investigator I talk about all the time. He is absolutely fantastic. When we first met and started teaching us, he was kind of a space cadet (I mean that with all the love in my heart). He just had all these really dramatic things to say and things never really clicked. He just liked talking to us.
Well, the past few weeks, especially after conference. It all clicked. It was incredible. Everyone was blown away. He would bare testimony that he knows that this church is the only true church, because we have the fullness. Everyone else has parts, but we have the fullness with the priesthood and another testament of Christ, the Book of Mormon. He has said that He knows with every part of his heart that Christ atoned for our sins,and he needs to be baptized again so he can be completely clean and have the spirit. He has said all of this. He even had a dream that he married an LDS girl in the temple! He knows everything. He believes everything. He's taught US lessons. We ask him everyday if he has doubts, concerns, problems. And he says none. he believes it all. He's what every missionary would call the elect. President Killpack even brags about him.
Well, we had an AWESOME lesson on friday night about the family. We read the proclamation to the family and showed pictures of our family and the temple. It was perfect. He was set to have a lesson in the chapel Saturday (a week before his baptism) to try on his jump suit and see the font.
Saturday morning, during studies, we get a call from Antonio. He said, "so my friend stopped by to see me today, he's at my house right now and now I'm having some doubts. can you please come over?" we heard a member of the ward in the background Hno Limmon saying "another testamant. another testament!"
We show up, and the friends is a pastor from the church antonio was baptized in 2-3 years ago. We didn't want any contention,we felt we weren't supposed to stay, and we technically had an appointment, so we made sure we could still have the chapel lesson that night and he said yes. The missionary me said "you need to leave. do not talk right now. only talk in the chapel" but Kaitlyn wanted to get into it. Don't worry mom, I followed the spirit and we left.
All day we were distracted thinking about him. We actually had dinner with the elders and Hno Limmon and he told us everything that went on. Apparently the pastor was pulling out all this stuff on the book of mormon and how all we need is the bible....all that bashing stuff... and Hno Limmon (who is a fairly recent convert) didn't know how to answer him on everything and felt really defeated. Hno Limmon was okay but I guess it shook up Antonio.
We get to the church at 6:15.....Antonio shows up, with the pastor and another man with two members Ashley and Santos (who we called). First of all, we had been waiting all day for this, and were a little worked up...and super nervous.  PLUS it doesn't help this is all in a language I just started learning 4 months ago.
As soon as we sit down and they started going off, Hermana Wheatley says "we will NOT have contention here. Especially in the church. We'll start with a prayer so we have the spirit, then we will answer all your questions". Everyone agreed. A prayer was said.... and then everything came out.
{I'm just gonna say right now, I don't have time or energy to write what things were said...and I actually would feel sick writing about it again, but I'll tell you someday} Let's just say I was in that room from 6:15 until 9:30. Priesthood. Authority. Spirit. Baptism. Book of Mormon. Prophets. Christ's church. False doctrine. False Interpretations. I just kept thinking what Christ said on the cross "lord forgive them, for they know not what they do"
...all of that went down.
mehr. it was never contentious, however it was really heated in a few parts. Santos saved us, with the spanish though. For the most part I just watched Antonio. His entire countenance had changed. He looked so lost. Like a little child. He couldn't follow any of it. He had his face in his hands and just didn't know what to do. When it was getting to be 9:30 (we are supposed to be in our apartments at 9...and we still had a 20 minute drive) we just had to leave. We all bore our testimony and said, "we know this is hard to hear (after they kept getting mad at us for answering their questions) but we believe and have spiritual confirmation that we are the only true church upon this earth that has the authority from God. It is the SAME church Jesus Christ established, and for this reason, the way we recieve eternal life is through baptism in this church"
Antonio came up to me after and he's like "im sorry i'm sorry. please forgive me. relax. they just came and now I'm so confused"
I just told him (before I got interupted...the friends did that all night) the salvation is personal, and he has the agency to decide what he wants. not what the friend or what we want. what he does.
His friends took him home that night, and they said he wont get baptized
the next day (yesterday) we get a text from antonio saying, "i can't come to church today. I'm too tired. I worked all night"
We left ward council, telling the elders what went on and to cover for us. we drove (with super dramatic mo tab playing in the car) to his home. I honestly felt like I was going to war. I knock on his trailor. No answer. I start banging on his trailor and he finally comes. He said he was too tired, he still wants to learn. but not today. there was no way that was happening.
he said "be honest, are you afraid you are going to loose me?"
we said "yes, because you are our brother and friend yatta yatta yatta"
long story short. we get him to church. he was dead tired. he works graveyards, and the time he was supposed to sleep on saturday the friends took him to their home and showed him anti mormon videos on youtube. ALL. DAY. about the bom. the temple.
I have seen a few of those, and they make me sick. they are scary. and he was just so confused.
I'm almost out of time. but we had another HUGE lesson with him, with our ward mission leader.
I kept having the thought of the allegory of the olive tree (jacob 5) where the Lord says "it grieveth me to loose this ONE tree" and the servant begs his to just try one more thing. to wait a little bit longer.
We will NOT loose him. and I know i'm sounding dramatic. But this really is a big deal. It's the difference in Salvation. I feel like a super protective mother trying to protect him from the world. He has huge things in store for him. I KNOW it. Satan has been working so hard.
As for right now, he says he knows in his heart it is true..but his mind is confused. We went step by step what we are going to do to help him. And he said, for himself, he still wants to be baptized. as of right now...its still on for saturday. But this week is gonna be the kicker. I'm willing to wait longer. I want to make sure he feels ready to defend his testimony. I want it for him. but now it's up to him.
I wish I had more time to better describe this. But it has consumed my thoughts. I haven't slept. Everything we are studying is for him. the whole branch has banded together with us and the mission president to get him back. to get him baptized.
I always thought people would go to baptism easy.
but Satan doesn't work that way.
Everyday has felt like we are going to battle, and we are pulling out the front line
man I'm exhausted.
well..times up. thanks for listening. please pray for Antonio. I know he loves this gospel. He even called his mom in Nicaragua to have us talk to her, and she just said we are an answer to prayers.
it will work out. God always wins.
well...i'm off to the zoo.
i'll try and get a post card off today!
love you all!
hermana aguas

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