Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 2014

     Elder Nowlin writes up new convert experiences each month for our missionary newsletter.  The following is one from last month.

My Sheep Hear My Voice
Amy A., New Convert

    Tuesday, May 20 had not gone well. Sisters Goble and Sharp had been on splits that day. Scheduled meetings fell through; searching the area for someone to teach, found shut doors, people turning away, and worse. Disappointed, they both felt they should return home. (2 Cor 6:4)

     As they walked through the complex they saw a young boy playing in the grass not far from their apartment. “Do you go to church,” asked the Sisters. “Yes, my grandmother takes me and our God is greater.” (Matt 21:16) Sister Sharp responds, “Oh yeah? Who is that up there?” “That's my grandmom.”  “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” “Yes, yes” responded Amy A. Several scriptures were shared between the missionaries and Amy as they each buoyed each other up. The spirit was telling Amy to accept them. She had been praying to find the true Church and for guidance in her life. An appointment was set for the following day.

     Sisters Sharp and Taylor planned to teach the Restoration; as they taught they asked if Amy would be baptized if she found the Church was true. Amy was a little unsure; “I understand what you are teaching about Jesus Christ, but why do you worship Joseph Smith?” “Oh, no. We don't worship Joseph Smith.” The sisters went on to straighten out the confusion. “Yes, I want to be baptized. When?” “Let's set a date of June 14.”

     Saturday they toured the Ridgecrest Chapel. “I was directed by the Lord God to study in John this morning and in there it talks about other sheep I have. What does this mean”, asked Amy.  Wonderfully surprised, the sisters taught of the Book of Mormon people. They ended the tour in the chapel and while there, asked Amy to give a closing prayer. With tears she thanked Father for sending Joseph Smith to restore the gospel.

     Sunday in church Amy sat near where she had prayed the previous day. She loved Sacrament. “May I have a Book of Mormon?” The sisters gave her one.

     The Book of Mormon was the lesson for that Wednesday; again they were pleasantly surprised for Amy had prepared a list of reasons showing why the Book of Mormon was true, with supporting scriptures from both the Bible and Book of Mormon!

     Their next lesson was on the Plan of Salvation, Law of Chastity, and Word of Wisdom. While teaching the Word of Wisdom Amy giggled; she told them how she had come to stop using alcohol 20 years ago and that she had given up coffee some three weeks earlier.

     Amy A. is a young looking 46. She grew up in Catbalogan, Philippines. Her mom and dad knew of and believed in Jesus Christ. They did not attend any church so Amy grew up with little knowledge of the Savior. She married an American serviceman when she was 18 and the two of them later were transferred to Hawaii. One evening several of his friends were over for a party; her husband “was drunk”, and she felt “the voice of the Lord came to me telling me to send those people to go home so you can care for your husband.” They left and Amy and her husband retired. “Around five in the morning the voice comes to me again telling me to throw away the alcohol and said 'stop drinking alcohol because your body is the temple of the Lord.' The voice also told me 'don't smoke', and 'don't drink coffee'”. (D&C 89)

     As she studied the Bible she learned that service was important, and that tithing was a command. She understood how to give service, but how could she tithe, and to whom? She decided to fulfill both requirements by saving ten percent of whatever she made, and after the funds had grown large enough, return home to the Philippines, buy rice and Bibles and then distribute the rice with the Bibles in the surrounding communities. (Mark 9:40, Luke 9:50,Alma 17:16)

     June 1 was Fast Sunday; Amy bore her testimony. She spoke of The Gospel and her thankfulness for the restoration of the Priesthood; the Spirit strongly bore testimony to the truths she spoke, and those there felt of that power. (Mni 10:5-7)

     At a baptism held Saturday, June 7, Amy had the opportunity to attend with Sisters Goble and Taylor. While waiting for the boy to change after the baptism, Sisters Ballard and Mobley taught the Restoration. “Please, I would like to have that spoken at my baptism.”

     Stake Conference was the following day. This gave her the opportunity to meet President Eaton; “Who will you be bringing to your baptism?” “I will ask my daughter and I have a friend I would like to ask.”

     Amy and the Sisters passed often during the following week; “Where are you going?” “To teach some investigators.” “Oh, be safe. I'll pray for you.” Supporting each other became a part of their days. That Tuesday a member of the new Ward she was moving to joined the three to review the baptism questions and meet Amy. Thursday she was to meet with President McKinney; “I saw a young woman sitting on the curb, reading from the Book of Mormon, and was touched.” During the interview President Mckinney encouraged her to attend the Temple soon; they departed; tears of joy streamed down Amy's cheeks. (Matt 5:3-9)

      Amy was baptized June 14 by Bishop Critchfield. When she arose from the water she smiled through the tears and gave the Bishop a warm hug. The Restoration was taught during the waiting time. Her daughter attended. A spirit of love was there. (Matt 18:20, D&C 6:32)

     That evening Sisters Sharp, Tayor, and Anderson joined the Vinsons for dinner. The discussion drifted to Family History and the Temple. Sister Anderson commented that in a dream those of her family that had died had come to her and said there was something she needed to do for them. (Mal 4:6) The missionaries and the Vinsons taught her of baptism for the dead and of Temple work. 'Would you like to see the temple?”, asked the Vinsons. “Yes” They drove up to Bellevue that evening and toured the Temple grounds. Tears of joy again flowed; her path could be more clearly seen; Amy looks forward to the day she can return to the Philippines as a missionary.

Mission Leadership Council sings Nearer My God to Thee

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