Dear Family and Friends,
How’s life going? Things are pretty good down here! Calafate is super beautiful, and now the the Patagonia winds are starting!
So I spent a lot of time writing my mission president today, and as I was doing so, I decided to share the experience that I shared with him with you guys. It wasn’t the greatest, most spiritual experience of my mission, but it made me think a lot and helped me really learn a lot, and has given me the drive to be better and to work toward my eternal salvation. I hope you can find strength from it too, and not to focus on the fact that I wasn’t able to get a baptism, but the lessons that we can learn from it.
Last Sunday, one of our investigators, Cristian had his third attendance finally and was super excited about baptism. He was super sad that he had missed his original date, and all the members were talking to him about his baptism. So when we met with him on Tuesday, we reput his baptisimal date for this coming Saturday, the 24th, to give us time to finish teaching him and get the interview scheduled. And he was super excited and everything. But he’s busy with work so we’re not able to talk to him every day, so we weren’t able to talk to him on Wednesday. Then on Thursday we called him at night to set up an appointment on Friday morning and he told us that he no longer wanted to know anything and that he was Catholic and wanted to stay Catholic. We talked to him for like an hour an a half that night trying to convince him otherwise, but to no avail. But we did manage to convince him to meet with us one more time to “say goodbye,” really our final attempt to get him to change his mind. We worked and worked with him for an hour an a half, trying everything from the gentle convincing that he needed to have the Holy Ghost with him to he was putting his eternal welfare at stake by denying the testimony that he had received, but none of it worked. He was scared of what his family would say, because he hasn’t told them yet (they live in Formosa). We told him to call them to see what they would think, but he was firm. I pray that in the future he changes his mind and decides to fear God more than man. Because he has a testimony, we were able to get that out of him. He knows, and he knows that he knows, but isn’t willing to do anything about it.
I had no idea how to feel. I know what steps he needs to take to reach eternal happiness, and he was so close. We tried and tried to get him to see how important this decision was that he was making, and that he needs what we have, but he refused to see it.
I do feel like I did learn what charity felt like though in that moment. Looking back, my sorrow wasn’t in the fact that I wasn’t that I wasn’t going to get a baptism, but that the salvation of Cristian was in jeopardy. I’m not saying that I always focus on the numbers, but in that moment especially, I felt earnestly for his salvation. I saw what was missing in his life, and how much the gospel could happened. I thought of the words of Christ to the Nephites, “how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.”
It’s interesting, thinking back now, how much I learned how much the gospel can change someone’s life not looking at how it changed someone’s life, but how it could have changed someone’s life. The gospel of Christ is powerful, and to fully experience it’s power, we need to apply it in our lives. And when we don’t do that, we lose out on so many blessings, as I’ve been able to see this week. We need to do everything in our power to keep ourselves on the path and doing the things that will lead us to our Heavenly Father. When we are doing that, we don’t need to worry that we aren’t receiving the blessings that we as members of this Church and faithful followers of Jesus Christ are entitled to receive, because we know that obedience to the laws of God brings blessings, that that God will not withold any blessing that we are worthy to receive.
The work of God continues. The purpose of a missionary is to invite people to come unto Christ, not to make them do it. I learned a lot about this week. Everyone says not to share the bad experiences, but I don’t see this as a bad experience. I see it as a powerful learning experience. And I hope that maybe those of you that are reading will try with all that they can to continue firmly on the path leading to exaltation and fully participate in the blessings that their Heavenly Father has in store for them!
¡Les quiero muchisimo!
Elder Trenton Behunin